Jakarta. Grand Indonesia, a shopping mall in Central Jakarta, is celebrating its eighth anniversary this year by holding a photo exhibition with a nationalistic twist.
"This eighth anniversary is an important milestone for our mall," Kantoro Permadi, the mall's senior marketing manager, said during a press conference on Wednesday (17/05). "We have many exciting programs to celebrate it."
One of them is a photo exhibition called "Indonesia Kita" (Our Indonesia).
"[The political] situation today is quite worrying," Kantoro said. "There's a lot of hate speech and provocative hoax news flying around on social media. This could be a source of a [national] discord if we don't do anything about it."
"We want this photo exhibition to remind people that everyone of us is an Indonesian, irrespective of our cultural or ethnic backgrounds," Kantoro said.
Up-and-coming photographer Denny Tjan was hired by the mall to select the subjects for the exhibition and take their photographs.
"The subjects are all Indonesians from many different backgrounds and walks of life," the 32-year-old photographer said. "And they're all very successful in their chosen fields."
It took the photographer and his team four months to set up appointments with high-profile celebrities and public figures to take their photos.
"Most of them are very enthusiastic about the project," Denny said.
In the end, more than 200 celebrities and public figures had their photo taken for the exhibition.
Among them are conductor Addie MS, Taekwondo grandmaster Lioe Nam Khiong, Navy first admiral Drg. Nora Lelyana, accessories designer Rinaldy A. Yunardi and legendary singer-songwriter Titiek Puspa.
Their portraits are now being displayed along the mall's Skybridge, on the first floor.
"I feel very honored to have been chosen as one of the subjects in this photo exhibition," Taekwondo grandmaster Lioe Nam Khiong said. "[This photo exhibition] is a great project. It's time for all Indonesians to unite as brothers and sisters and work together for the good of our nation."
Lioe is widely credited for bringing Taekwondo as a professional sport to Indonesia, beginning in the 1970s. He founded the Indonesia Universal Taekwondo Association (YUTI) in Jakarta in 1980.
"It's a very positive project," conductor Addie MS said. "In these [difficult] times, we should use every opportunity to speak up and remind one another that different people live in this country. We have to respect each other to be able to live in harmony."
First admiral Drg. Nora Lelyana was also impressed by the photo exhibition.
"There are many highly talented Indonesians [in this exhibition]," Nora said. "It should encourage us to believe in ourselves, develop our talents and work together for our nation."
The first admiral, who is also a dentist, became the first female commander of an Indonesian naval base in Dumai, Riau, in 2003. She is now the head of the Indonesian Navy's health division.
"All [the subjects] are important people in their fields," accessories designer Rinaldy A. Yunardi said. "They all love Indonesia very strongly. It should remind us to forget our petty differences and concentrate on our own work. Let's make a good name for Indonesia with our achievements."
Rinaldy's works were recently spotted being worn by top international celebrities, including American actress and model Cassie, singer-songwriter Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry.
The photo exhibition will last until May 28.
"We hope to breathe a spirit of nationalism with this photo exhibition," Kantoro Permadi said. "And we hope that spirit will be contagious."