ARTJOG 2019: A Retrospective

I must admit, contemporary art is something I have never been able to truly enjoy. Its propensity toward anything “out of the box” which requires deep contemplation to “understand” it rarely inspires me. Of all the artworks that fall into this category, there’s one particular […]

8 comments

Bandung Part 2: Art Spaces

Having two parents with opposing views of the arts has not always been easy for me. My mom, who used to teach at a traditional Javanese dance school founded by her late father, understandably has a strong artistic calling. She taught me how to sing […]

17 comments

Bandung Part 1: Civic Spaces

The city of Bandung – Indonesia’s fourth largest with over 2.5 million residents – since 2002 has become one of the most special places for me in the country, and will remain so, thanks to the five years I spent there for college and running […]

16 comments

Anjar: From the Umayyads to the Armenians

Since antiquity, the Armenians have always been known as brave, mercantile people who sought opportunities beyond their traditional homeland. For centuries, the Kingdom of Armenia was one of the most powerful entities in this part of the world with its territory straddling three seas: the […]

33 comments

The Temple of the Wine God

Day two in Baalbek, and we are awakened after a night-long power cut. It turns out that in this part of Lebanon this disruption in daily life happens more often compared to Beirut. Back in the Lebanese capital we were told that regular blackouts were […]

48 comments

A Valley Between the Snows

Lebanon has been amazing so far. While Beirut is enchanting in its own way – a city full of contradictions that make it even more appealing to explore – and Bsharri provides us with a jaw-dropping view of the lush and historic Qadisha Valley, our […]

31 comments

Bsharri and the Holy Valley

It had already been seven decades since his death when I first became aware of Khalil Gibran in the early 2000s. His books, translated into Indonesian, were on display at a narrow section of a department store in the small city where I spent my […]

40 comments

Into Lebanon’s Snowy Realms

On our final day in Beirut, it was drizzling, just like how the Lebanese capital was throughout most of our stay. While the city had been all I expected it to be – fascinating, chaotic, vibrant, sobering, inspirational – I couldn’t wait to continue the […]

45 comments

Killing Time in Semarang

The city of Semarang, the capital of Indonesia’s Central Java province, is the place where I was born. However, since the age of 1.5 years old I have been moving around the country with my parents following my father’s assignments from the government institution he […]

22 comments

Beirut Art through the Millennia

It is easy to associate Beirut with the scars of the civil war, and it is understandable if one is completely oblivious to Lebanon’s thriving art scene for the country has been portrayed in the media as one of many dangerous corners of the Middle […]

27 comments

Beirut’s Scars and Hope

“Where are you going?” “Lebanon.” “What? Why? What are there to see? Where will you stay?” “I want to see Beirut and …” “Oh, Beirut!” It appeared that to one of my friends, the Lebanese capital has a much more positive reputation than the country […]

55 comments

Lebanon: Charming at Every Turn

Mention the Middle East, and many of us would immediately think of endless desert, oil-rich kingdoms, conservative societies, and probably never-ending conflicts. As the second smallest country in this region (only Bahrain is smaller in land area), Lebanon appears to be the odd one out. […]

70 comments