Letters from Ger
An exhibition exploring the life of Ger van Braam
In November 1964, Jakarta-based lesbian Ger van Braam became the first lesbian to feature openly on the cover of a lesbian magazine. Despite her place in lesbian history, very little was known about her or her life.
The first of its kind, this exhibition explores the life of Ger through a series of letters exchanged between her and Barbara Gittings – then editor of the lesbian magazine, The Ladder. Beginning in 1963 and ending in the final months of 1964, the letters trace a powerful period of transition both for Indonesia and for Ger herself.
Begin by reading the exhibition introduction by Yulia Dwi Andriyanti
Echoes From Our Past
3 digital exhibitions from the Queer Indonesia Archive
Indonesia is facing a time when the lived experiences and narratives of queer* people are being challenged, erased, and delegitimized in the national collective memory. The echoes of our collective past continue to fade whilst the institutions built to preserve them continue to ignore and erase us. Queer Indonesia Archive (QIA) presents a response to this challenge through the collection, preservation, and celebration of the collective memories of queer Indonesian communities.
Through the creation of these three digital exhibitions, QIA invites viewers into the archive, and into a digital repository of the collective memory of our communities. It is hoped that through the exhibition, the queer communities of Indonesia and the wider ASEAN region can connect into the shared histories of their predecessors. By fostering connection and diversifying the memories and histories that are made public, we hope to challenge existing misperceptions about Indonesia’s queer past and help slow the fading of the shouts, tears, songs and battlecries of our shared pasts and collective struggles.
QIA hopes that these exhibitions will support further exploration and interrogation of the use of both queer and LGBT as terminology for our communities, and allow some insight into the creative and expansive use of language and identity markers throughout our communities and our history.
*It’s important to note that QIA uses queer as a broad and inclusive umbrella term to indicate our interest in objects that reflect the experience of sexualities, genders and gender expressions deemed non-normative by current dominant cis and heteronormative discourses in Indonesia. The term does not adequately capture either the gender or sexual diversity that exists across Indonesia, nor the role this diversity has played in the numerous cultures across the archipelago.
Indonesian Queer Zines
of the 80s, 90s and 00s
Small-scale, independently published magazines were a dominant medium of expression for the Indonesian lesbian and gay communities before the advent of the internet. Beginning with the first publication in 1982 and ending with a slow transition to the internet by the mid-2000s, for two decades these magazines connected communities all over Indonesia and allowed them to imagine new futures and new possibilities for themselves and people like them.
Queer Jakarta in the 90s:
An Incomplete History
Jakarta in the 90s was a city of contradiction; embodying both the conservatism of the Orde Baru regime and the rapid changes brought by unfettered capitalist expansion and globalisation. These excesses would eventually end in the Asian Financial crisis and the overthrow of the Orde Baru regime in 1998. This exhibition will allow a portal into the lives of the queer communities that partied and struggled throughout the decade that would change Indonesia forever.
AIDS in Indonesia: The queer community response
When the first known AIDS-related death in Indonesia was reported in 1987, the spectre of the virus had already been cast across the archipelago. In response to the lack of government concern about their communities, queer community leaders took it upon themselves to communicate the risks and repercussions of HIV. This exhibition showcases the story of HIV in Indonesia throughout the first two decades of the epidemic with a focus on the response from queer communities - a story of resilience, death, humour and ultimately hope.
Queer Indonesia Archive would like to thank you for joining us in this journey through one part of our collection. If you want to look more closely at some of the items featured within the exhibition, please see our catalogue.