This is how Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello kicked off a unique exhibit titled Indonesia Land of Harmony.
Hosted by the Vatican Museums, it includes 150 objects and artifacts that reflect the country's different ethnicities and religions.
FR. NICOLA MAPELLI
Vatican's Ethnological Museum
"The main purpose is to use art to show that a peaceful co-existence is possible between different communities, ethnicities and cultures. Indonesia is a perfect example of this.”
Some of these items are gifts that Indonesian communities have given to Popes throughout the years. Others are gifts that missionaries brought to Rome.
They are part of the collection of the Vatican's Ethnological Museum, which dates back to the Pontificate of Pope Pius XI. The idea was to have a space where all cultures could have a presence.
Director, Vatican Museums
"Last century, back in the 20's at the height of Imperialism and Colonialism, the only cultures that were given attention were the European and the American. So, Pius XI realized this and decided to go against the tide.”
Years later the project is still very much alive. These traditional Indonesian dancers known as the Candles of Shiva, are proof of this.
So, now the millions of visitors who see the Vatican Museums every year, will now have the chance to learn more about Indonesia and the cultural harmony it's famous for.