German-Indonesian artists collaborate in “Gold & Coal” Exhibition, raise awareness to protect Papua’s environment

Exhibition
Visitors watch a short documentary via 360-degree video wearing virtual reality glasses at the Uncen Cultural Workshop Museum, Papua, on 15 and 16 July 2022. – Jubi/Theo Kelen

Jayapura, Jubi – A collaboration of German and Indonesian artists held an exhibition based on the studies on gold mining in Papua’s Mimika Regency, and coal mines in Leipzig, Germany. The exhibition titled “Gold & Coal” was held at the Cenderawasih University Cultural Workshop Museum on July 15-16, 2022.

One of the visitors, Yance Airai, said the Gold & Coal exhibition raised his awareness to be even more involved in protecting the environment in Papua. At the exhibition, Airai watched several performances and watched a documentary with virtual (VR) reality glasses, which according to him, brought the audience to experience the impact of the damage caused by the mining.

“Watching through the 360-degree technology makes us aware that environmental damage is really happening all around us,” he said.

According to Airai, the documentary also invited viewers to see the lives of the Kamoro and Amungme indigenous peoples in Timika, who are far from prosperous since the presence of gold mining giant PT Freeport Indonesia, as well as seeing how the people in Germany were evicted from their villages because of the coal mining.

“Through this documentary, I witnessed how the Kamoro and Amungme people were marginalized and lived in poverty. It’s the same situation as in Germany, where the people say ‘we dig and bury our own bodies’,” Airai told Jubi on Saturday, July 16, 2022.

Another visitor, Frans Junias, said this exhibition really educated the public to protect the environment. Frans said that by watching the documentary at the exhibition, he finally understood why the Kamoro, Amungme, and other Papuan people rejected the presence of mining companies in Papua.

“Through the 360-degree video technology, we become a subject and an object at the same time because it’s as though we’re in Timika even though we are not really in Timika or have never been there,” he said.

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Besides the documentary, the Gold & Coal exhibition also presents choreography, sound performance, and performance art from collaborations between Sarah Israel (dramaturgy), Daniel Kötter (film and video), Elisa Limberg (set design), Marcin Lenarczyk (sound design), Melanie Albercht (production assistant), and Yonri Revolt (location manager). The three artists who performed throughout the exhibition were Agustina Helena Kobogau, Anjar Msen, and Ikbal Lubys.

Filmmaker Daniel Kötter said he wanted to invite viewers to directly experience the lives of the people documented in the film through virtual reality. Through his documentary, Daniel also wanted to convey that mining in various countries has the same problems as in Germany and Papua.

Furthermore, he advised young Papuans to start making films about situations that occur in their daily lives. “Start making films about your own situation, what you are interested in or what is closest to you,” he said.

Besides being held in Jayapura City, the Gold & Coal exhibition has also been held in Yogyakarta City, Central Java, and will continue in Samarinda City, East Kalimantan. (*)

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