The forum’s participants are truly qualified. The discussion, though, is mediocre at best.
For the first time since its inauguration in 2006 in Beijing-China, it is now the turn of Indonesia to be the Host country of the annual meeting for all Head Curators/Directors of Fine Arts Museum in Asia – Asian Art Museum Directors’ Forum (AAMDF) 2013. This grand event is held from November 13th – 17th, 2013, with at least 10 ASEAN countries and 12 Non-ASEAN Asia countries.
The total participants of this forum is 250 people, consist of the representations of AAMDF participating countries; the representations of International Fine Art Agencies/Museums/Galleries; Indonesian Agencies/Museums/Galleries; artists; curators; and international art analysts.
Amongst them are; (ASEAN) Malaysia – Brunei Darussalam – Thailand – Philippines – Singapore – Vietnam – Myanmar – Cambodia – and Laos. Also present at events are representatives of China – Jepang – Korea Selatan – India – Bangladesh – Pakistan – Mongolia – Kazakhstan – Makau – Taiwan – Hongkong – dan Australia. Though unfortunately, Philippines and Myanmar are unable to send their representatives due to the regional disasters.
Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, together with National Gallery of Indonesia, acts as the sole organizer in the international forum themed ‘On Collection: Asian Contents’. The chief of National Gallery of Indonesia, Tubagus Sukmana Andre stated that theme is chosen based on the world observation of Asian Fine Arts that evolves swiftly in the last decades. So does the growth of fine arts infrastructure in each Country.
“Through this grand event, Indonesia and other countries are expected to reap various lessons from the discussions, exchanging their experiences and ideas,” said Tubagus Andre.
Museum as one of the important stakeholders in fine arts infrastructures is expected to go in line with the ‘green’ global fine arts development. In some countries like China and Japan, museums grow like mushrooms in rain seasons. China, in particular, now owns more 6.000 national museums (2012) with more than 500 million visitors per year. The things to be noted from the success are a strong operational system, the clarity of work programs, supported by the staffs who truly understand the function and device of museums.
“The Chinese government and community have been long since realizing the importance of museums. The community takes our museums dearly. The Government even allocated a special fund to promote, protect, add, and exhibit the collections at the museums,” said Zhu Di, the Head of Fine Arts Development of Ministry of Education from People’s Republic of china, also acting as a secretary of AAMDF in his opening speech last Wednesday (13/11) in Jakarta.
“They even develop and implement a particular technology to protect the art collections. “The identity of a Country is visible from their effort in appreciating, keeping, preserving and maintaining the existing culture. It is through the museums that the process may run,” said Zhu Di.
Unfortunately, the existing discussions are not as rich in information as this turned out to be. The vital matters namely strategy in running and maintaining the “life” of a museum has not graced the talk much. So does the museum security system which has take a stroll in a hot pad after the “tragedy” of the missing collections of National Museum of Indonesia. These topics are actually the vital gist needed by Indonesian museums.
Another thing deserves to be noted is that this forum is a huge slap on the face for Indonesian government and community due to the sad condition of Indonesian museums. The high support of the neighboring government to its museums’ growth and development is not only seen from the significant amount of fund, but also seen from other museums’ programs namely assisting the museums diplomatically to acquire particular collections in other Countries or other institutions.
In Indonesia, the growing trend is the opposite, which is the growth of private museums. The national museums managed by the Country seem very little in comparison. Moreover, not all museums are operating to its function. The provided budget is quite high, but that seems to be ineffectively used, misplaced even.
The new collections of the national museums in a year seem to be dwindling in numbers, sometimes none. The needs of human resources are sometimes a problem in its own league. The government through Ministry of Education and Culture is not ‘smart’ enough to provoke the interest of Indonesian young generations to pursue museum management field.
Well, at the end, the oddities in Indonesian fine arts infrastructure will affect the growth and development of the art itself. It is not really a matter on its own to hold a discussion in like AAMDF. What matters is a steadfast execution to not make the distance between us and the neighboring countries further and further. The information taken from an international scale discussion or direct visit to some museums in neighboring countries by related officials may not only be a limited knowledge of an individual, but also others’ vast knowledge.