De Nieuwe Kerk x SPUI25 in Spe: Queerness, Spirituality and Decoloniality in the Indonesian Archipelago

De Nieuwe Kerk collaborates with SPUI25 in Spe for a special night expanding on the exhibition’s discussion of Queerness and initiating a discussion on pre-colonial, contemporary and decolonial perspectives on Queerness in the Indonesian archipelago. De Nieuwe Kerk will hold the first night of a two-parter event where we invite a group of experts to hold a panel discussion to speak on said topics.

This event will be held in English. Tickets include entry to the exhibition.

Part 1: De Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam (February 28), 19:30 – 22:00

De Grote Indonesië Tentoonstelling takes us through a historical and cultural journey of the Indonesian archipelago. The exhibition does not only touch upon the archipelago during colonial times, but also offers a pre-colonial narrative on the old kingdoms and a reflection on the archipelago in contemporary times. Two videos in the exhibition touch on the increasing intolerance towards the Queer Community in the archipelago in contemporary times. To illustrate, in 2022 provisions were made to Indonesia’s criminal code which violates the rights of minority groups among which Queer people. In the Indonesia archipelago same sex marriage is not recognized by law, through a provision that prohibits premarital cohabitation and sex, same sex conduct is effectively made illegal. This contemporary intolerance towards Queer people dates back to colonialism: The Indonesian archipelago adopted social- and political structures from Dutch colonial rule when trying to form its postcolonial identity. Both the colonial and contemporary perception of Queerness in the Indonesian archipelago, are thus rooted in a western style of identity politics.

A common concept in today’s cultural and academic discourse is decoloniality. Both the colonial and contemporary perception of Queerness in the Indonesian archipelago, are rooted in a western style of identity politics. So, in what ways could we apply decoloniality onto this perspective? Interestingly enough, in various ethnic groups in the Indonesian archipelago, in pre-colonial times, Queer identities were held in high regard and often linked to spirituality, examples being Lengger dance and the Bissu. Could this pre-colonial perspective offer us a way to expand or replace this colonial/western perspective on Queerness in the archipelago?

  • Location: The New Church
  • Doors open: 19.30 (for a visit to the exhibition with a zine expanding on the subject)
  • Start programme: 20.30 (panel discussion and Q&A)
  • Expected end time: 22.00

Part 2: SPUI25 in Spé, March 1, 17:00 – 18:30

SPUI25 in Spé hosts the second part of the program, a film screening of the Indonesian Queer film Dear to Me (2020) by Monica Vanesa Tedja following a discussion on themes of Queerness, spirituality and decoloniality in the Indonesia Archipelago.

  • Location: SPUI25
  • Doors open: 16.45
  • Start programme: 17.00 (movie and discussion)
  • Expected end time: 18.30

 The second part of the event at SPUI25 is free but make sure to RSVP on their website.

© Collection of Gaya Dewata, Queer Indonesia Archive