The exchange project between Dutch and Indonesian counterparts starts with the shared history of Indonesia and the Netherlands. By sharing their family and personal stories, they shed a light on new stories within this master narrative and enrich each others' perspectives. Dionne tells how she is inspired by the stories that are not told. “By freedom fighters like Anton De Kom (De Kom, born in Suriname, became an important voice in the anti-colonial movement, ed.), but also the family stories of Francesca and Rizal for example. Those stories are also a reflection of myself, because the way I work is to look for common grounds that binds people together.”
Francesca stresses that there is not one truth. She refers to historian Bonnie Triyana, one of the lecturers during the workshop program in July. “To approach the complexity of history, collect as many records of one event.” For her it is important to understand the past and look forward at the same time. “But it gives me a lot to learn more about my family history,” she says.
Dionne adds: “Personal stories are the start of everything. If you are a storyteller, in order to tell your story, you have to know where you come from.” Rizal agrees: “Things can be unearthed and dug up from the theme (My story, Shared history, ed.)". By digging up their family history in relation to the Second World War for the Hatta & De Kom performance, Francesca and Dionne pave the way for new perspectives within the bigger history.
For Rizal it is the first time that he explores his family history, in particularly his mother’s, whose family once moved from Manado in Sulawesi to Sumatra. He started this project to honor the story of her father, but while digging into his family history, he now feels more connected to his mother than ever. “Understanding your (grand)parents is probably the biggest sign of respect,” he says.