Indonesian Collection at the National Gallery, Kvadrat 500


From 17 September 2019, the Bulgarian public and the guests of Sofia have the opportunity to admire cultural artefacts and artworks from Indonesia as part of the permanent exhibition at the National Gallery, in Kvadrat 500, Hall 20.

The good, friendly relations between Indonesia and the National Gallery in Sofia can be traced back to as early as 1960, when President Sukarno visited the prestigious institution. Almost 60 years later, relations are better than ever and, as a result of a long-standing partnership and following the official visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, HE Ms Retno Marsudi, the National Gallery already has at its disposal artefacts from Indonesia—the largest archipelago on earth, a region in Southeast Asia known for its diversity.

The absence of any artworks from Indonesia so far in the National Gallery’s collection inspired HE Ms Sri Astari Rasjid, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia to Bulgaria, to donate household items and cultural products from the distant country.

Textiles, gold and silver jewellery from different ethnicities and islands, vessels for ceremonies and for food storage, an ancient circumcision chair and puppets from the Indonesian Traditional Shadow Theatre, are just some of the valuable objects representing areas of the Island of Sumatra (to the west) to Indonesian Papua (to the east), to be on permanent display at the National Gallery. The hand-dyed textile called Batik is Indonesia’s national pride and was inscribed by UNESCO in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Through this collection, opened by Boil Banov, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria and by HE Ms Retno Marsudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, the National Gallery and the Embassy of Indonesia not only offer a better intercultural dialogue, but also encourage the opening of new avenues in tourism, trade and investment.