Grafis Nusantara shines a light on a forgotten part of Indonesian graphic culture

Grafis Nusantara shines a light on a forgotten part of Indonesian graphic culture

The team are fascinated by the references to many different cultures and styles that can be found within their collection. “Indonesia is a melting pot of many cultures”, says Jaka. Tracing these threads of visual influences helps to shine a light on the complex social and cultural history of Indonesia. The team strongly believes in the potential of their research to create new perspectives on this history: “We believe that these materials can be seen as a window to the culture’s past – results from social dynamics, technology, behaviour, and values that exist in society over a certain period of time.”

With their now fully established online archive, they have begun the tricky task of allotting each sticker to its own category. As it stands, there are five categories of labels (food and beverage, health, textile, cigarette, tea) and five for stickers (cartoon, eroticism, religion, picture text, classic text). But with the collection growing quickly, particularly with submissions from the public through social media, the team aim to hone their categorising scheme in the future.

Another exciting development for the archive is the recent release of the Grafis Nusanatara Zine. The zine comes in the form of a folder, showcasing a range of the archive’s collection and accompanied by a bonus selection of stickers, posters and postcards. Teaming up with Indonesia-based graphic designer Evan Wijaya and design studio Kamengski to create the zine, Grafis Nusantara has created a new publication which matches the irresistibly colourful and poppy aesthetics of the vintage material in their archive.

While the effect of traipsing through this collection’s hilarious characters, juicy typefaces and gorgeous colours is invariably one of light-heartedness, the Grafis Nusantara team take their role very seriously. “We understand the obsolescence of these materials, thus urging us to preserve them,” says Jaka. With the archive’s growing creative output and increasingly informed research set to bring Indonesian graphic history to the wider world, we’re so glad that Grafis Nusantara has taken on this duty.

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