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East Java Swimmer



Thierry Durieux collected this swimmer in East Java in the early 1990's. It is rather unusual to find a swimmer figure as swimming is not a popular sport in Indonesia. The facts that statue seems to have been made out of the artist's fancy and that it takes on the unusual theme of the sport of swimming makes it probable that the making of this statue was in some indirect way associated with the 'arts and crafts' movement in Indonesia which was encouraged by Indonesia's founder of modern education, Ki Hadjar Dewantara.

Ki Hadjar Dewantara who had a background of Javanese aristocracy and an European education was influenced by Montessori and his ideas on education shaped schooling in Indonesia until the mid 1960-s when Indonesia went through political upheaval and massacred its Communist Party (the largest outside any Communist state) and opened up to foreign capital and markets. For most rural Indonesians the genetically modified rice seeds which the peasants were obliged to plant obliterated most of the culture of rice planting which was the base of most Indonesian life. As in Surakarta in 1950, Indonesia also held its first National Sport Week (PON) Indostan is inclined to guess that this was the year of the making of this statue.

This figure stands approximately 46 cm tall and appears to have been carved out of cassia wood with red enamel paint for the swimming trunks. An other unusual detail of this statue is that the figure's left heel is slightly lifted up probably as an attempt to suggest movement or the anticipation before a race.

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