Monday, September 21, 2015

Recognition from the Indonesian Government for my culltural activities

Today is the first of two days being spent on celebrating the Culture Awards issued by the Indonesian Ministry of Culture and Education. There are many people gathered here in Jakarta to help celebrate. I have the  honour of  being a recipient of one of the awards. This is the first year that foreigners have been eligible to receive the award. I am touched by the gracious  generosity of  this great country, Indonesia. On many occasions I have been overwhelmed by the kindness, support and loyalty of its people.

My life has been especially enriched by the great creative talent that is found in this nation.  I am awed by this talent  when I listen to Indonesian music, for example, or look at Indonesian textiles. Indonesia has one of the richest legacies of indigenous textiles in the world: fine, complex, refined, tasteful, difficult to make, unique, and requiring patience, know-how, knowledge of nature, and a strong spiritual foundation. Cultural products are testaments to the capacities and achievements  of mankind. These great cultural achievements are the reason why I come to Indonesia. They are why I love Indonesia. They are why I have devoted myself to the textile arts of Indonesia. There is nothing more satisfying in life than being close to the greatest spiritual and cultural achievements that the world can boast.

I would like to ask the Indonesian people to safeguard its ancient cultural heritage.  This  is the greatest legacy of your ancestors that you can pass on to your children. There are values other than the value of money and these are the only values that are enduring and that enrich the mind and spirit. No matter the monetary wealth of a national and its peoples, you are bankrupt without these enduring cultural values. Guard them. Promote them. Nurture them. Honour them. Share them. Teach them to your children. They are as fragile as they are precious. Exclusive devotion to monetary value will destroy them.

During my past in Indonesia, I have worked on Pulang Kampung projects. These projects have represented a way of giving resources to the villages in order to sustain and encourage them. I ask the  people of Indonesia to support and celebrate the makers of your heritage. That is the same thing as supporting your identity, your spirit, your children and strengthening the basis of your own sense of pride and satisfaction.