Tuesday, April 27, 2010

French Spring Comes to Jakarta

As spring begins in France, French diplomats in Asia continue the annual celebration of the season in the countries where they are posted. In Jakarta, the sixth Printemps Francais, or French Spring Festival, opened on Tuesday and will run until July 25. During the event, Jakartans will be able to enjoy a taste of French science, cuisine, photography and performing arts.

France’s ambassador to Indonesia, Philippe Zeller, said he hoped the festival would strengthen relations between the two countries.

“The keywords for the festival this year are dialogue, rendezvous and pleasure,” Zeller told a news conference at Le Meridien Hotel in Jakarta.

Patrick Perez, the director of Centre Culturel Francais in Jakarta, said the festival aimed to strengthen cultural exchanges between Indonesia and France. This year’s festival involves 135 artists and researchers, Perez said.

Fifteen events will be held in various venues around Jakarta.

The opening of the festival took place at Galeri Nasional Indonesia, and was open to the public for free.

The opening on Tuesday evening featured Futurotextiles, an exhibition showcasing a variety of textiles from more than 50 Indonesian and French artists, designers, architects, companies and museums. The exhibition will run until May 14.

Also scheduled for the opening event was a culinary installation prepared by the Centre Interprofessionnel de Formation d’Apprentis, in cooperation with students from 57 technical high schools in Jakarta. CIFA representative Christian Didier came to Jakarta to give a workshop for the students to create the installation.

Andrea Hirata, author of the popular Indonesian book “Laskar Pelangi” (“The Rainbow Troops”), was chosen as the spokesman for Jakarta’s French Spring Festival this year. He said he was happy and honored to be selected.

“French artists are creative and worth watching,” Andrea said. “For example, there is a rare performing art that mixes acrobatics and music.”

Andrea was referring to the circus show by Cie Chant de Balles, a juggler and musician duo that will give a free performance in Menteng Park on June 19.

Also featured are photography exhibits — “Le Pieton de Paris” (“Pedestrians in Paris”) at Taman Ayodaya and “Urban Dream” at Taman Fatahillah. Both venues are in Central Jakarta.

The French Spring Festival will treat Indonesian audiences to high-quality performing arts in various genres at affordable prices, Andrea said.

Andrea spent several years doing research at the Sorbonne, the Universite de Paris.

He said he had always enjoyed attending performing-arts events in France, but the tickets were expensive.

“Every time I wanted to watch a performing art, I got a stomachache,” Andrea said. “I had to pay at least around 20 euros [$27].”

By comparison, tickets for the events at the festival in Jakarta that aren’t free will cost Rp 50,000 ($5), or only about 4 euros, Andrea said.

He said he was hopeful that the Spring Festival would be a good chance for Indonesian artists to learn to appreciate French culture.

“Hopefully, Indonesian artists will be proactive to get into CCF and get a chance to perform for the festival next year,” Andrea said.

French Spring Festival
Centre Culturel Francais (CCF)
Jl. Salemba Raya 25, Jakarta 10440
Phone: 021 390 8580
E-mail: ecrire@ccfjakarta.or.id
Centre Culturel Francais Annexe
Jl. Wijaya 1-48, Jakarta 12170
Phone: 021 720 8133
Official Web Site:

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