Twilight at the Small Harbour

Rina Kurniyati // Enamel on glass // 15 pcs. @ 40 cm x 60 cm // 2015-2016

The hour of birth of the work “Twilight at the Small Harbour” was inspired by various observations in the present time. Today we can see many different things, whether from the past or the present: temples, paintings, billboards, product packaging, soap operas, fashion, architecture and cars. We can see them portrayed together or individually, presented as functional objects or exhibits. I am exposed to this entertainment programme every day. Sometimes this entertainment is amusing, sometimes it is annoying.

In this variegated life, also spiritual and non-spiritual values arise. These diverse values and the associated plurality of society reflect my feelings. Maybe that is because I live in Indonesia, and we have a history of pluralism. Apart from the fact that different ethnic groups live here, the ideologies and spirituality of the residents are also not homogeneous. There is not only one recognized religion in Indonesia, for example Islam. [Protestant] Christianitya, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism are also a part of Indonesia’s religious landscape. Apart from religion, there are also people in Indonesia who claim to believe in One God without wanting to choose any one of the established religions.

With my work “Twilight at the Small Harbour” I want to express the diversity of cultures, religions, and profane life in Indonesia. The detailed description of the different types of vehicles in my work is a symbolic manifestation of the uniqueness of each side of human life. There are 15 separate painting frames; but each painting can also be viewed on its own. Each vehicle type has its own position, strengths, advantages, and problems. Every single car is different, but when shown together they blend into one beautiful image. As beautiful as the sunset in a busy harbour. Ultimately, my work shows that it depends on the result: a time when everyone comes together to respect one another. Every element of society shows and lives its uniqueness, because the real essence of mutual respect is the existence of differences and the beauty of the different colours.

Religion is not an obstacle to coexistence. It would be scary if we were all the same because then our destiny as spiritual beings would be sealed. But we believe that God created human beings in spiritual diversity.

Note on translation

In her last sentence, the artist most likely refers to the following verse of the Qur’an:

“Oh, you humans, indeed we created you from a male and a female being, and we made you into nations and tribes so that you might get to know one another. Indeed, the most honoured of you by God is the most God-fearing of you. Certainly, God is omniscient and all knowing.” (Qur’an 49: 13)

This verse is recited regularly in various lectures and formats in Indonesian mosques, reading circles and inter-religious dialogue events and is used by the Muslim majority society to emphasize the importance of peaceful coexistence of the various ethnic groups and followers of different religions and beliefs.