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Solo on a Postcard

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Solo Murakabi x Pen & Postcard 2023

Jakarta, IO – Historically, correspondence began to thrive in Solo in the mid-19th Century, after postal services became available in 1874, and people started to exchange messages in the Dutch East Indies through picture postcards. Postcards issued by the government postal service marked a new era of written communication, and in the 1890s, privately-printed picture postcards began to emerge. 

The city of Solo was often depicted with photos or illustrations on postcards. Several companies in Solo, such as Boekhandel Vogel v.d. Heijde & Co., Toko Gebr. Haye and Solosche Snelpersdrukkerij Sie Dhian Hö began to publish a Solo-series of postcards. In other cities, Tio Tek Hong (Weltevreden), G. C. T. van Dorp (Semarang) and De Gedeh (Weltevreden) also illustrated the charms of the nobles of the Surakarta Palace on postcards. 

Postcards, interestingly, have indirectly captured moments in the past, as well as changes in coming times. Visualization and written information on the 4 by 6 inch cards can be used to explore the dynamics of a city and reveal aspects of people’s lives that have not been documented in writing or visuals. Hence, postcards are more than a mere medium for correspondence; they also visualize and serve as historical archives. 

The Surakarta City Museum of Culture and Tourism has given its full support to the launch of the Solo Murakabi archive collection of the Solo-series postcards. Meanwhile, Pen & Postcard demonstrates an endeavor from the Jejak Kartu Pos (Postcard Trace) community to bring postcards and ink closer to the public. The collaboration between the government and community came to fruition in the Solo Murakabi x Pen & Postcard 2023 exhibition at the Radya Pustaka Museum, Surakarta, titled “Solo in a Postcard”. Murakabi is a Javanese word meaning providing yield, benefits and sustenance. 

The shared conviction to make the city of Surakarta a space for tourism, research, peace and discussion is the key to collaboration in this event. Not only does “Solo in a Postcard” portray the old city of Solo, but it also invites the public to interpret all historical possibilities. 

From postcards, we can explore the city’s history and the circumstances of its past. Around 9,000 postcard fans have joined postcard communities in Indonesia, and there are 805,000 fans around the globe,” said Uul Jihadan, the founder of Jejak Kartu Pos. 

“In this exhibition, we collaborate with communities and collectors of goods that were used to connect with society. This is like a time tunnel that stitches memories – to miss and to learn from. These little cards can bring benefits and attract tourists to the city of Solo. At the moment, we are presenting around 100 postcards about Solo or Surakarta in the exhibition, as well as the archive collection from the Radya Pustaka Museum,” said Bonita Rintyowati, the Head of the Technical Implementation Unit of the Surakarta City Museum of Culture and Tourism. 

Read: Andmesh, Tiara Andini And Godbless Will Rock Everyday Festival 2023

The Radya Pustaka Museum aims to receive 2000 visitors per month. 

Also opening the Solo Murakabi x Pen & Postcard 2023 exhibition was Aryo Widyandoko, Head of the Surakarta City Culture and Tourism Office. “We learn that from a postcard, we can talk about the past, present and future and tell stories about the situation in Solo. It is exciting to keep the museum alive as a space of creativity and discuss that people can enjoy. In 2022, Surakarta was captured in the postal stamp series of Prajurit Keraton Surakarta (Surakarta Palace Guards) produced by the Ministry of Communications and Informatics,” said Aryo. 

This exhibition was curated by Nanang Setiawan and Martha Setyowati and held on Nov 21-30, 2023, at the Radya Pustaka Museum. (des)

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