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A Community of Colour the meaning Behind the street art in Depok

Welcome to Kampung Tematik - 'The Thematic Village' of Depok

Just off the chaotic main street of Margonda in Depok City, and a far cry from the throttling tuk tuks and endless traffic jams, this quiet community lets their streets do the talking for them. Made for the community by the community, the first thing you'll notice upon stepping into this Kampung Temakit is how the walls are splashed with colour.

For the people living here, street art isn't just something to look at - it is a reflection of the environment they want to live in, their deepest interests, their history, and their visions for Indonesia's future.

Every piece tells a story.

The first local we met is Resty, whose curiosity leads her to say hello. She stands in front of what she jokingly refers to as her 'Ma' and 'Pa' - figures that symbolize the former Mayors of Depok and their wives.

The current mayor, Mohammad Idris, is the man who first encouraged the creation of street art in many developing areas of Depok during 2017. He wanted it to be a way for the community to express themselves while improving the conditions of their environment at the same time.

2 Anak Cukup - 2 children is enough. I ask Tsurayya Fajri Islami, a Jakartan resident how she would feel if a two-child policy was enacted in Indonesia. 'I'm not sure,' she says. Coming from the fourth most populous country in the world, Tsurayya understands the reasoning behind such a policy for Indonesia. However, being one of six children, her heart tells her a different story.

The Ondel Ondel, a cultural icon unique to Jakarta, stands guard on a wall next to the shop front of a Depok man. Much like the Ondel Ondel, a protective spirit traditionally used to ward off evil, the man is watchful of any or every person who walks by. Just as mesmerizing is Cantik, a little girl also from the village. Her name means 'beautiful' in Bahasa.

I ask Cantik and her brother Bobby to pose in front of their favourite piece of street art. Their choice? A drawing of 'Es Goyang' - Jakarta's version of an ice-cream truck. Particularly nostalgic to older Jakartan's, Es Goyang is a much icier version of the ice-cream Australians would be used to.

As times change and more modern food makes its way to street vendors, the Es Goyang is one traditional treat that's becoming harder to find.

One house that particularly stood out in the street was painted bright blue and white. Gracing one of its walls is Rhoma Irama, a famous Indonesian singer and songwriter.

Irama adorns the home of this woman, too shy to give her name, because he is her husband's favourite singer. Like all the art in the surrounding streets, he was created by members of the community upon request - everyone and anyone in Margonda was invited to participate and paint.

The colourful streets reflect the colourful people living in and around Depok, and this is just a taste of the artworks that can be found in Wargonda's Kampung Tematik. Here, street art is a form of expression - a combination of history, culture, opinions and people which embody not only how the community lives now, but also their hopes for the future.

Credits:

Jacqueline Pon

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