Sat, 16 Sep 2000

Visitors impressed by exciting table-setting show

By Joko E.H. Anwar

JAKARTA (JP): An exhibition showing exciting table settings in various styles, at the Bidakara complex on Jl. Gatot Subroto, South Jakarta, has proven to be more than just a culinary and silverware fanfare.

Several visitors, at the four-day event that opened on Thursday, told The Jakarta Post that they were impressed with the exhibition.

"I didn't think that it was going to be this interesting. I have to go now but I'll be back again tomorrow," one of the visitors, housewife Mrs. Arifin Siregar, said.

Another visitor, Tini Firdaus, shared the same opinion.

She said she was especially amazed by the brilliant ideas for the decorations and accessories used for the table settings.

"Did you see a table setting with a beautiful batik table cloth over there?" Tini said.

Participants of the exhibition came from various backgrounds, including, furniture gallery owners, fashion designers, school of arts students and of course, housewives.

The exhibition was part the Table and Food Festival Extravaganza 2000, organized by the Sekar Saji Nusantara Foundation.

One of the most attractive tables in the hall was the one designed by well-known batik designer, Iwan Tirta.

Titled A Royal Ngayogyakarta, it was set on a one meter by three meters table covered with a batik cloth, complete with kraton (Javanese sultanate) style silverware.

Among the silver handicrafts on the table were a miniature royal cart adorned with a dragon's head.

Tini said the exhibition would help promote table settings in the country.

"If people become more familiar with the various types of table settings, especially those using specially crafted silverware, craftsmen will benefit as they will be able to sell more of their products," Tini said.

Another setting titled Lebaran Celebration, was dominated by various kinds of spices. Every plate, on the intentionally unfinished table setting, was laid with a pair of long cinnamon sticks to represent chopsticks.

An ingenious setting called Asmat Ambience displayed traditional Asmat tribe potteries against a modern backdrop.


The festival also featured some designs by students from art schools.

A female student from the Jakarta Art Institute (IKJ), Indah Tjahyawulan, designed a table setting with various Betawi (native Jakartan) ornaments and named it Jakarta Molek (Lovely Jakarta). A bread shaped like a crocodile, usually used in Betawian wedding ceremonies, added a special touch on this already attractive table.

Art school students from Trisakti University had a unique style of presentation.The students built a "kitchen" at their stand, complete with a decorated table, hand-made potteries and wall decorations.

"Every item displayed here was made by us," one of the students, Dewi, told the Post.

Some contemporary settings was also highlighted in the festival.

A setting titled Birds of Paradise used various mock birds effectively, while another called Spring Celebration used many kinds of flowers which left a pleasant fragrance around the setting.

Besides featuring the country's traditional settings, the festival also showcased table arrangements from Japan, China and the Middle East.

The Middle Eastern settings were displayed along with some beautiful paintings, while the Japanese-style table settings had the classic Ikebana flower arrangements.

The festival also exhibited various local and international cuisines. However, the food festival did not attract as many visitors as the table setting exhibition.

The event was held to raise funds for health care and scholarships, head of the organizing committee Yuna Nasution said at the festival.

The Sekar Saji Nusantara foundation, founded on June 29, 1995, had earlier launched a cookery book to raise funds for charity.

Among the foundation's board of advisors is former minister of tourism, post and telecommunication Joop Ave.