Kotagede, in Yogyakarta, is one of the oldest walled cities in Java, and also known as the “Silver City” of the 16th Century Moslem Mataram Kingdom. The architecture of Kotagede reflects indigenous Javanese culture mixed with a combination of Islamic and Dutch colonial architecture. In the Java-based Islamic cosmology of Catur Gatra Tunggal, the city is divided into 4 adjoining ‘rooms’: the palace, the mosque, the square and the market.
The mosque is still used regularly by local people, and the cemetery has become a tourist destination. However the living heritage of silver artisans is declining. Arkomjogja recently started using mapping as a tool to discover and document the existing heritage in Kotagede, and found since the financial crisis in the 90’s, and the May 2006 earthquake which destroyed tangible and intangible assets, social capital has been severely weakened. Only 25 silversmiths still work today.
Since 2013 the Airasia Foundation has supported Arkomjogja in working with Kampung Jagalan’s youth to initiate a community-based Kampung Heritage Conservation Project in Jagalan Kotagede. The conservation project combines the resources of community groups and tourism business actors to help realise Kotagede’s ‘market value’ in the context of cultural tourism, and develop heritage tourism potential in Indonesia.
The community has been able to use the maps as material to start historical tourism in Kotagede. The launch tour will be on the 29th of March. Besides community mapping, Arkomjogja has also facilitated the local youth in several sketching events with architecture students to document the existing heritage buildings for illustration material within the maps.
Since encouraging the silversmiths to work as a collective they have become inspired to rebuild the Kotagede silverworks. 20 local silversmith participated in the Jagalan Silversmith’s Workshop put on by Airasia Foundation, the British Council, and Ultra Indigo Yogyakarta, focused on marketing and innovation design at Kotagede, involving Jagalan’s Youth and Arkomjogja. Unique crafts were produced intended to be developed with social entrepreneurship in the future.
Thanks to the superb reviews in Kota Gede (http://bit.ly/1yM3R1R), ARKOM has been invited again by AirAsia to develop the heritage village of Bena in Flores as a community and coffee tourism spot. | Mayang Nayoan