“Gunung Api Jassin, Lahar Api Chairil”: Celebrating the contributions of Indonesia’s literary giants

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Pameran Arsip
(IO/Dumaz Artadi)

Jakarta, IO – Imagination soars as Observerid reporter imagines the life behind the photos and various antiquated items on display at the HB Jassin Literary Documentation Center (PDS) located on the 4th floor, Galeri Panjang, Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta.

A number of self-portraits of the great Indonesian literary figure, Hans Bague (HB) Jassin, taken in 1932 lined up with his personal items. Jassin’s tenacity in building an archive is such an inspiration.

The author, born on July 31, 1917 and died on March 11, 2000, was very observant and meticulous in keeping things that many would tend to overlook. Handwritten manuscripts, cigars, typewriters, recordings, postcards, to purchase orders and cooperation agreements are neatly curated.

Not only that, letters are also an integral part of Jassin’s archive. Anyone who comes to the exhibition will see how Jassin converses through letters with many well-known names that came to define the Indonesian literature scene.

“Gunung Api Jassin, Lahar Api Chairil” exhibition

One name of the many great literary figures is Chairil Anwar. Jassin and Chairil are said to have known each other long before they became famous. Their paths kind of intersect, drawing them closer to each other.

“Jassin and Chairil are two literary giants in Indonesian literature. Their lives are also very closely interlinked. Jassin was a literary critic, while Chairil a poet,” said one of the exhibition curators, Hasan Aspahani, according to PDS HB Jassin YouTube channel.