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Tetangga Exhibition: Sharing New Stories in Museums in Australia and Indonesia

A new online exhibition entitled Tetangga: people, places, and objects across borders will share stories about the histories of Australia and Indonesia. Over eighty people from Indonesia and Australia have contributed to developing the exhibition, including curators, historians, academics, photographers, designers and more.

This exhibition is part of the ongoing challenge to the legacies of colonialism. By proposing a new way of understanding the significance of objects in our collections, museum curators in Australia and Indonesia, together, have creatively re-examined the interpretation of museum objects. Many objects and stories contained in this exhibition also illustrate the historic and contemporary connections and flows of people, ideas, and objects between Australia and Indonesia.

This online exhibition has been developed as part of the Australia-Indonesia Museums (AIM) Project which has been jointly funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia, and led by Deakin University's Cultural Heritage and Museums Studies program in collaboration with the Museum Nasional Indonesia, the Western Australian Museum (WAM), the Southeast Asia Museum Services (SEAMS), and fourteen partner museums from across Indonesia.

At the online launch of the exhibition on June 17 2022, Associate Professor Steven Cooke from Deakin University shared that:

‘Museums are the storehouses of our collective memories, places where stories about the past present and future are told. Traditionally, exhibitions have been developed through a national frame of reference, but more recent approaches are exploring trans-national connections of people, objects, and ideas. Through a process of co-curation with curators, this project has developed new approaches to understanding how these histories are collected, displayed, and interpreted in Australian and Indonesian museums. The results of this collaboration are featured in this online exhibition.’

Dr Hilmar Farid, the Director General of Culture from the MOECRT said:

‘This project has strengthened and broadened understanding between our communities, promoted cross-sectoral consultation and coordination to enhance knowledge of Indonesian and Australian cultures through various media, and encourage arts and cultural exchanges among relevant institutions. In the longer term, I believe that this project will amplify Indonesia and Australia's cultural cooperation, especially in the museum field.'

Alec Coles, CEO/Executive Director, Western Australian Museum, outlined that:

'The WA Museum Boola Bardip Connections gallery features a number of stories and objects which connect Australian with Southeast Asia. It is anticipated that collaboration with Indonesian colleagues will provide further interpretation about the shared heritage of our collection.'

Visit the Tetangga Exhibition at

For more information visit the project website or contact:

  • Associate Professor Steve Cooke (

  • Darmawati, Public Relations Division, Directorate General of Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture (

The AIM Project is made possible through grant funding from the Australia-Indonesia Institute of the

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology of the Republic of Indonesia of the Republic of Indonesia

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