Building A Hall of the Faculty of Cultural Studies (FCS) Universitas Brawijaya (UB) was packed with dozens of students interested to participate in a discussion about feminism and colonialization on Tuesday (2/21/2024). Lecturers were also present to join FCS UB public lecture and movie screening with the theme “Female Voices and Colonialism”. Wendelien van Olderborgh, a Dutch artist and filmmaker, was the guest speaker. Her highly aesthetic works were a breath of fresh air in the efforts to learn important issues that some people often considered it heavy.

The event was started with singing Indonesia Raya, Indonesian’s national anthem, followed by remarks from Fatimah S.Pd., M.Appl.Ling., Acting Vice Dean for Academic Affairs. She expressed her gratitude to the organizing team and emphasized the importance of learning through the medium of art.

 

“In our faculty, one of the study programs is Fine Arts. In the other study programs, we also offer courses related to art, such as film and theater and performance. So, I’m sure all students and lecturers here will gain valuable insights from today’s discussion. Hopefully this event can be the beginning of other more in-depth discussions,” said Fatimah.

The next speech was delivered by Fitriana Puspita Dewi, M.Si., P.Hd., Head of the Humanities Laboratory of FCS UB. In her speech, she explained the function of the humanities laboratory is as a forum for discussions between students, lecturers, and experts in the field of humanities. She also gave a little introduction about the theme of the film that would be screened.

Not long after, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, the speaker, and Ni Made Savitri Paramita S.S., M.A., lecturer of the Japanese Literature Study Programme (SP) and the well as the moderator of the public lecture, took the stage. Ni Made opened the movie screening session by introducing the speakers, the background, and her works. Afterwards, Wendelien was asked to give an introduction to the movie “of girls that would be shown. She shared a bit of the process behind the production of the movie, where she did not involve actors, but rather people who had interest in the theme of the movie, which was the issue of feminism in Japanese literature by two female writers in the late 20s.

“The movie was made together with people you will see in the movie. They’re not actors. They’re people who have an interest in what I want to talk about. In this case, there are two female writers who have strong views on feminism in their writing. There are also other things that they talk about. Slowly, we touch these subjects throughout the movie,” explains the director.

“Let’s watch the movie right away!” she concluded.

 

Soon after, the movie “of girls” was screened. A feeling of amazement immediately came over the participants. The combination of aesthetics and in-depth discussions on issues of feminism, colonization, and sexuality provided a different experience at the movie screening. Without realizing, forty minutes had passed, and the credit title was shown, signaling the end of the movie.

After being invited, some students and lecturers asked questions. One of them was Royhan Abdiel, a student of English Literature.

“I love your movie. Thank you for making this beautiful work. My question is, when making this movie, what did you want to convey to the audience? What do you expect the audience will get after watching this movie?” she asked.

Wendelien explained that she was also curious about the discussions that would arise from the “actors” in the movie. She did not intend to convey any particular ideas about the literary works being discussed. The purpose of the movie was to provoke curiosity and questions from the audience about feminism, sexuality, and colonialism.

Wendelien continued the movie screening with a presentation on the architecture of the locations in her film. She explained in detail about the selection of the locations, and expressed the meaning and feelings that she wanted to convey through every detail. Passionately, she elaborated on how each location was chosen to give a certain impression in the movie. Her explanations provided a deep insight into the creative process behind filmmaking and how every element in an art production could be used to convey profound messages to the audience.

Her background and interests in art are also discussed. She introduced Indonesian women artists with an interesting perspective on feminism that also experienced the colonization era. Still on the same issue, Wendelien asked for the opportunity to show a trailer of her other movie, the “Hier”, which explores the issue of feminism and colonialism through music and poetry.

The lively event ended with a warm thank you from Wendelien van Oldenborgh to FCS UB and all participants for their time and attention. Wendelien expressed her hope that this kind of discussions could be held more often on campus and in the wider community.

She emphasized that it is important to provide a space for dialogue on issues such as feminism, colonialization, and women in art. She invited all of the participants to continue to support and expand wider and inclusive spaces of dialogue, where different perspectives and experiences can meet and be shared to realize deeper understanding of our complex world. [trans.acl/ed.vidya/PR FCS]