Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Finally...a meeting with Olivia Sinaga

Olivia Sinaga was due to meet me early on Thursday evening, two days before our launch. As luck would have it, Lena Simanjunak, playwright and director of Opera Batak, contacted me to ask if I could join her and Dolorosa Sinaga, sculptor and long-time friend, at the same time. I decided to use the timetable conflict as an opportunity and invited them to join Olivia and me at Hotel Santika. It all resulted in a dynamic conversation among people of like mind, with Mas Nashir and Pak Tatan Daniel (head of Anjungan Sumatra, Taman Mini) present as well. 
From left to right: Tatan Daniel, Lena Simanjuntak, Sandra Niessen, Olivia Sinaga, Dolorosa Sinaga, MJA Nashir

I was happy to introduce Olivia to these people.

Olivia had come to bring me two of her beautiful shawls inspired by the Sibolang textile. All admired them. Olivia had just graduated as a fashion designer and found work designing men’s clothes, but hoped to continue her creative work with Batak textiles.

On the evening of our launch, I wore Olivia's shawls and when I called her later to the stage to give her one of the first copies of Rangsa ni Tonun, I explained how important it was to maintain the textile tradition as a source of design inspiration. Alas, Olivia had had to return home early and was not able to hear her public praise. It was just one small way that I could think of to thank her.

She is a person of tremendous enthusiasm. Her father, she explained, had impressed on all of his children the importance of maintaining Batak traditions. This was not a story that I hear very often. I want avenues to be open to Olivia Sinaga so that she can follow her designer’s heart and build a repertory that represents her unique position as a Batak in world culture. Good luck, dear Olivia! We are rooting for you!

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