Even though the presidents of Indonesia and the governors of Jakarta come and go, there has been no one comparable with Bung Karno in terms of decorating Jakarta with monumental public statues.
Nobody doubts Ir. Soekarno’s sense of art. Bung Karno is the other name of Ir. Soekarno, the first president of Indonesia. He was really cared about the beauty face of Jakarta, the capitol city of Indonesia.
The United States of America proud with Liberty statue, French with Eiffel, Japan with Hachiko the loyal dog statue, Indonesia should be proud to have monuments initiated by Bung Karno.
Some of those monuments are monumen nasional (Monas), Selamat Datang Monument, the West Irian liberation statue, and Monumen Dirgantara. Those monuments were all made by Indonesian artists using bronze. Another monuments are farmer statue which was the gift from Russian government, and statue of Diponegoro, a gift from Italia. Those are the marks and symbol of Indonesia’s pride.
However, there was a question came from the Minister of Education, Mr Daoed Joesoef, he said why Bung Karno who care for monuments, did not save his own house at jalan Pegangsaan Timur 56 (now jalan Proklamasi) Jakarta? Whereas the history of Indonesian independence started at that house on the Islamic month of Ramadan, Friday, 17 August 1945 at 10.00.
Ali Sadikin, the former governor “restored” the house which was then demolished on 1960, to became proclamation monument during the era of Suharto. However, the historical value of that house is not replaceable. According to a source, it was not Bung Karno’s willing to demolished the house.
What happened that day was that when President Soekarno moved to stay in the national palace, he agree with Henk Ngantung idea, he was the deputy governor who was in charged to renovate the house. Henk Ngantung who also a painter artist, was personally instructed to decorate Jakarta. Yet, the restoration was never done. Even worse, in 1965 Henk Ngantung was accused having conspiracy with the communism party, but never proven until the day he died in 1991.
Bung Karno was a patriot, politician, architect, art lover and had a close relation with artist, painter, dancer, singer, writer, etc. No wonder if he fell in love with a painting, he would buy it, even by way of installment. (WI/Yusuf Susilo Hartono)