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By Burhanuddin Abdullah
I warmly welcome the presentation of the CP Biennale 2005 international exhibition with the theme Urban/Culture organized by the CP Foundation in cooperation with Bank Indonesia. In my opinion this theme is apt, indeed, in terms of both its meaning and its timing. Research done by the United Nations (UN) indicates that more than 50% of the world population lives in urban areas. And, in the 21st century, the UN expects a much higher level of urbanization than ever before. We are being faced by the challenge of how to improve the quality of urban life through a combination of values based in the spiritual, the aesthetic, historical heritage, culture, and the economy.
In line with the development of any given nation, the urban way of life gives rise to the emergence of civil society. This kind of society is marked by the existence of a free people, aware of their rights, who value moral principles and the interests of society as a whole. This process has colored and will continue to color the formation of the nation of Indonesia. However, we are also beginning to witness the slow erosion of these civil society aspirations within the atmosphere encompassing Indonesia today. In response to this trend, we must revive and hold strongly to the values that are so basic to our existence as a people and a nation.
It is certainly not a coincidence that Bank Indonesia, which was originally founded as De Javasche Bank (founded in 1828), has not stood only as a passive witness to the various developments in civil society relating to social movements, culture, and art. Bank Indonesia has also played an active part in maintaining our historical heritage, values, and principles, as well as supporting their development. I believe it is important that we carefully research, collect, note, and preserve all documents, information, and knowledge related to our history in order that we can continue to learn valuable lessons from our past well into the future. Bank Indonesia, besides collecting works of art by Indonesians that parallel the history of the development of the urban populations giving birth to civil society, which eventually resulted in the founding of the nation of Indonesia, also actively involves itself in various programs for the development of the arts and culture.
Bank Indonesia also maintains the policy of preserving all of the historic structures it owns. Almost all Bank Indonesia offices, both at the center and in the regions, are historical sites built around the beginning of the 19th century. The condition of these buildings, including the structure that in the future will house the Bank Indonesia Museum in Kota, where this exhibition is being held, has been well maintained. The efforts to preserve the historic structures owned by Bank Indonesia have been made in order that the historical significance of these buildings can be maintained in our minds and hearts so that we can continue to take pleasure in our own aesthetic heritage well into the future when new generations will emerge.
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