Kedai Kebun

Arts – Plants – Kitchen

Gondomanan Art Project Exhibition


8 June to 10 November 2006


Project Initiator : Yustina W. Neni

Project Officer : Yustina W. Neni

Project Manager : Ratna Mufida

Focus Area : Gondomanan

Studio & Exhibition : Kedai Kebun Forum


8 June –  7 Juli 2006

Mapping by Kunci Cultural Studies


12 July – 3 November 2006

Studio & Field Study


4 – 10 November 2006

Comic & Video Exhibition




Gondomanan is an area located between Sungai Code[1] in the site of Sayidan reaching to Keparakan Kidul in the south and the east part from the wall of Beteng Keraton[2] of Yogyakarta, stretching out from the north to the south from Klenteng[3] Gondomanan (Vihara Budha Prabha) to Pojok Beteng Wetan (the east corner of the Palacial Port). The main landmark of this block is Purawisata which is famous for its dance show of Sendratari Ramayana and night entertainment of dangdut music. For about 25 years ago, Purawisata was called as Taman Hiburan Rakyat (THR) equipped with a carousel and Ferris wheel[4]. THR used to be a public transportation terminal and gambling arena with high numbers of criminality. The tragedy of “PETRUS” in1985 had (completely) removed the criminal tracks of the area followed by the moving of the terminal to Umbulharjo. Gondomanan is also known as a china town within which the trade characters of its community had revived the area. How is Gondomanan today?


Proyek Seni Gondomanan is an artistic project done by artists and concludes in art-making of comics and videos. This program will be preceded by an exhibition by KUNCI Cultural Studies Centre (June 8 – July 7) revealing the social-economic-politic map of the community along the side road of Gondomanan. The design of this project is to fashion movements, rythms, and routine activities all in the side road of Gondomanan and from the intersection of Klenteng until Pojok Beteng Wetan. By means of stylishness, deformation, hyperbolism and superlativism strategies and embedded in social knowledge, artists try to imagine a possibility of changes might happen to the area. This project involves 8 artists going to work in the studio of KKF for three and a half months (July 12 – November 3). Studio work is a reconstruction work of observation experience in the fields with sketches and an exhibition of finding objects or borrowing assumed as (not) a free-meaning ground. Proyek Gondomanan is a Studio Project I done by KKF in collaboration with KUNCI Cultural Studies Centre. The artists involved are (1) Bendung (2) Gepeng Ibnu, (3) Wedhar Riyadi, (4) Yovita, (5) Angel Melani, (6) Wimo Ambala Bayang, (7) Cika, (8) Ndik-Choiru Pradono.




This project is a Social Anatomy Study I to precede Proyek Seni Gondomanan. It is a social reseach-based visual arts project taking in 8 comic artists and video artists. In fact, a map is a collection of stories. This project is to offer another meaning of maps. Maps are not merely to illustrate one place to another. They do not simply show a row of houses, stores, or alleys but social and economic bonds, power struggles, and gossips among the residents along the side road of Gondomanan. On this project, KUNCI combines a number of tools to make the social-economic-politic community map possibly visible from photography, video, and ethnography. Gondomanan is one of influential economy centers in Yogyakarta.


KUNCI Cultural Studies Centre was instituted in 1999 working for developing cultural studies, popular education, and young people empowerment.






Work Team of the Gondomanan Project


Research by KUNCI Cultural Studies:

Nuraini Juliastuti

Yuli Andari Merdikaningtyas




Nuraini Juliastuti


Collaboration in Realisation of Images:

Sigit Pius

Iwan Effendi


Collaboration in Realisation of Photos and Videos:

Wimo Ambala Bayang


Linguistique Workshop Facilitator:

Kris Budiman





A Map of Commodities in Gondomanan

Mr Pucung,

Mlati Market South of Denggung

Kricak in the North of the town,

The Beringharjo market, North of the Loji (house of the Dutch commissioner/authority)

Turn to the East only to find yourself lost in Gondomanan


Basically, a map is a collection of stories. This project was aimed at putting a different meaning to a map, a map that does not only function to show directions to go from one place to another. This is not a map that merely shows the lines of houses, shops or small roads, but one that can also show social, economic interaction, gossip, the fight for power among the inhabitants along the Gondomanan Street.


We chose to enter by carrying out a study on objects, or rather commodities, in Gondomanan. Therefore, this is a map of commodities; commodities traded there, the actors of this trade, what aspects influenced the selection of location for the exchange of commodity, the history of the commodity, how all the commodities were distributed, the origin of knowledge of production of a purchased commodity, the basis of a popularity of the commodity in its given era.


Why did we finally decide to concentrate on commodities in this project? First, we did not aim to make a project on the conservation of the environment in the Gondomanan area. We made a study on a more relevant issue to the work area that we have been doing until now. So, we finally chose objects or commodities we found in the area. Second, commodities were indeed something that changed consistently, meaning they can be anywhere, thus cannot be considered specific to a certain place. Here we were more interested to study the commodities, both in terms of its material features and stories behind them.


We held interviews, studies on old advertisements in magazines and old local newspapers, confirmed visual data we had to the memories of informants we interviewed. As a result, we combined various media to enhance the map, starting from photos, videos, essays, and drawings with reconstructions on certain points in Gondomanan.



Bicycles, Motor Cycles, Scooters


One finding on Gondomanan, was the fact that this street was filled with commodities of physical journeys, namely: wheels, tyres, bicycles, motorcycles, tyre puncture quick-fix and city buses.


We have yet to find out who initiated the bicycle shops on this street. But we found out that in 1959, there was a listed bicycle shop called “Tjong & Co,” at 9 Gondomanan Street. This shop did not seem to only sell bicycles, but also sold and bought tyres and provided service to retread truck and sedan car tyres.


“Tjong & Co” Bike Shop

9 Gondomanan Street, Yogyakarta

We provide services for: tyre retread for trucks and sedans. We sell and buy tyres.


When were bicycles introduced to the Indonesian public? From the work Jejak Langkahby Pramoedya Ananta Toer (2001), we know that bicycles were already known in Batavia in the beginning of the 20th century. As Minke said the first time he set foot on Betawi.


Delmans, grobaks, saldos, victorias, dokars (various horse drawn carriages)—all of the contributions of the civilisations from foreigners were found on every street. The horse riders were clad in different uniforms. Also bicycles! There were no more public spectacles! I will also have it. How much do you think it will cost? The bicycle rider is very fast. People peddle their bikes slowly and all of the views were in sight…


Looking at the present situation (2006), where we can find many shops selling car tyres, and tyre puncture repair stalls, we can say that wheels were a commodity-and part of the bicycle spare part, which was an important part of this street. According to history, the use of the Dutch Kerkhoffen cemetery, of which we presently call THR Purawisata, was once functioned as a temporary inter-city bus terminal. Thus, Gondomanan Street was a busy protocol street. It is not surprising that most of the commodities sold there had to do with motor vehicles (machine spare parts, motorbike/car garages, bolts, wheels, retreading etc). And because of this, it is no surprise either there was a bicycle shop providing retreading service for truck and sedan wheels, such as the “Tjong & Co” bicycle shop.


In this Gondomanan Street, there was a point and corner where traders/small street vendors worked in groups. For instance, in front of the Marsudirini Primary/Middle School—there is a row of key makers. There are 7 key makers in a row starting from the front of the school complex to the junction with Ibu Ruswo Street (it was formerly called Yudonegaran Street). Meanwhile, we can easily find wheel/tyre mechanics on Gondomanan Street from the entrance of GKI (Christian church) Gondomanan to the front of Purawisata. The people with special expertise in tyre or wheels fixing are mostly located on the left side of the road—from Gondomanan Street from the direction of the Loji Kecil area (now known as Mayor Suryotomo Street.


Go straight from the direction of Gondomanan Street Southwards, and we can find Kintelan Road. There we can find the “Wetan Benteng” (East of the Fort) bicycle market, on number 54-56 Kintelan Road. Here is an example of an advertisement of the bicycle market[5]:


You will not be disappointed. You can:

Sell your bicycle fast according to the market price

Buy a decent bicycle with an inexpensive price

A trade deal of bicycles with a pleasant and satisfying service

Open from 8am to 21pm. Open on Sundays and holidays

Bicycles made up the majority of vehicles that filled the streets of Yogyakarta in the end of the 50s to the 60s. Besides bicycles, there were tricycyles or becaks, horse-drawn carriages, and carts. There were still only a few motorcycles and cars. The bicycle business in Gondomanan that most actively held advertisements in the local media such as Kedaulatan Rakjat, at least during the 1950s and 1960s, were the “Wetan Benteng” bicycle market and “Tjong & Co.” bicycle shop. You could find other bicycle shops on 7 Malioboro Street (Eng Long bicycle shop) and 20 Lodji Ketjil Street (Bicycle shop and “Wirio Soeseno” reparation shop, both were located not far from Gondomanan Street.

The most popular brands of motorcycle and cars at the time were European. For cars there were Fiat, Dodge, Ford, Impala and Chevrolet. For motorcycles there were the DKW Hummel, BMW, BSA, Puch, Norton, Ducati Luxor, or Vespa. Scooters or vespas were the most popular vehicle at that time. Vespa and the like were described as beautiful and elegant. Take a look at this Lambretta advertisement below[6].


The World Chooses Lambretta

Lambretta will re-appear in Indonesia…and all other kinds of scooters will be out of date! Wait for the re-appearance of the Lambretta type J 125 within the Indonesian community. You will witness the latest idea in the world of the two- wheeled vehicle.


Its form: playful, small and beautiful…It is the most brilliant creation of modern Italian art. Its technical excellence: the Lambretta type J 125 is a result of indepth thinking to create a vehicle that must fulfill all the requirements of a people’s transportation…inexpensive, strong and high resistence. On the road: compare it to other scooters…


Enjoy how light and smooth even on the roughest roads. In short, if you are thinking of buying a scooter, wait until you have the opportunity to study and compare the features and ability of the type J 125 Lambretta. You will surely change your mind and opt for the Lambretta.


Lambretta, the best scooter company in the world.


This emphasis on the beauty and elegance is portrayed through the parades and carnivals among the users of the vehicle, as recorded in this parade invitation advertisement[7].


“ Have you registered yourself to join  “Vespa Scooter Concours d’Elegance?” Join the Vespa Carnival on 16th May 1959 at 16.50 West Indonesian time, starting at the Pontjowinatan School. Free of charge, petrol provided.”


This advertisement shows us that parades or the tradition of group association of vehicles of various brands—such as what we find nowadays with owners of Mio scooters, Honda Tiger, Taruna, bicycles, Harley Davidson—is not new at all.

Three days later on the same media there was a news photo of a scooter carnival. At the carnival, there was a fashion competition of those taking part, where they would have to pose with their respective scooters[8].


“Vespa Scooters Concours d’elegance” in Jogja


From left to right: Trees Tan third winner of the carnival adorning a Balinese costume; Joyce Andu first and third prize winner for women’s single: (Joyce with a cup and next to her posing with a sport outfit); Fauzi first men’s single prize winner; first and second double’s winner Ibrahim and Emmy in action. Far left: Betty Mathews with their winning cup in doubles with Ibrahim too.


From the year scooters appeared in their original countries and their distributions in the European or American countries, and related to the popularity of scooters in Yogyakarta, we can conclude that Yogyakarta, along with other large countries in Indonesia at the time, was not left behind, always followed the development of important commodities from other sides of the world.


The elegant and sexy design is probably what provokes the riders to stay stylish with their vehicles. Besides this, the two-wheeled scooter also offered closseness for the driver’s partner/passenger. The distance disappears between them when they are seated. Those who were not so close before became familiar and warm.


The Quiet Pines


The machine of the scooter brummed. And the horns tooted 4 or 5 long toots. Tody looked out of the warung window. Then he quickly paid his drink and went out.


Irawati turned the handles of her scooter left and right.


“Are we going?” she asked.


The girl then got off the saddle. Tody took her place. And they went off. “Let me take my jacket first,” said Irawati in between the first and second gear.

“You don’t need to,” answered Tody pulling the excellator handle.

“It’ll be cold…”

“It’ll be warm with you.”

“Aha, you are starting to be a good talker/seducer. Why weren’t you like this since the start?”

“Oh, be quiet.”

And they went faster. The wind blew. They went farther and farther from the Gadjah Mada campus. Leaving behind the rows of pine and flamboyan trees.


It was the ninth day of their relationship. And now they are welcomed by the row of mahogany trees along the road leading to out of town. They started to feel the clear wind. The road steepened. The smell of the busy city was left behind, they made their way to Kaliurang.


Going along the winding roads, Irawati stuck tightly to Tody’s back. The man followed the road ahead of him, and felt the vibration of the machine through his hands clutching the excelerator handle. The girl’s body was soft. Her cheeks leaned on Tody’s shoulder that her fine baby hair brushed his cheeks gently. 


The girl’s family has a bungalow in Kaliurang, a house with soft grass and flowers. It is quiet. There was only a couple who acted as servants to their employers. These two people from dedicated themselves year to year to the pleasure of their employers, the city people. From year to year living in the quiet mountains on working days, without thinking about any other things, except doing chores around the bungalow. 


The bungalow was where the scooter was heading. Irawati gave the directions when to turn left, go straight, pass the three way junction, turn right, go up the steep road and stop! Tody stepped on the brakes.


“Blow on the horn,” said Irawati….[9]


How much did a motorbike cost then? The economic situation in Indonesia in the end of 1950s was not good. The policy of sanering caused the rupiah to drop. This condition influenced the prices of motor vehicles. However, although prices had dropped, the community reacted in a cool way. This news clip shows the situation in Jakarta[10]. However, a similar condition also happened in Yogyakarta.


Motorbike Trade in Jakarta


Because of the sanering we can see the price reduction, which is 30-45 % from the old price. The price of motorbikes 2 months ago always increased due to the high number of buyers. Although prices have dropped, buyers have not reacted. They still waited and speculated further drop in prices.


I will copy the table of changes in the motorbike prices. And from this table, we can also see the brands of motorbikes on the streets, the description of commodities and properties owned by the community at the time.


  Price from 18-8-1959 Price from 10-9-1959
JAWA 350 CC    
1954 Rp.  27.500 Rp.  14.000
1955 Rp.  30.000 Rp.  17.000
1956 Rp.  42.500 Rp.  22.500
DKW 125 CC    
1955 Rp.  31.000 Rp.  19.000
1956 Rp.  33.000 Rp.  21.000
DKW Hummel    
1959   Rp.  30.000
BMW 250 CC    
R25 1955/1956 Rp.  60.000 Rp.  37.500
R26 1956 Rp.105.000 Rp.  60.000
R26 1957 Rp.120.000 Rp.  65.000
BSA 350 CC    
1954 Rp.  42.000 Rp.  25.000
1956 Rp.  65.000 Rp.  35.000
Goldstar Rp.  90.000 Rp.  55.000
Puch 250 CC    
1955 Rp.  55.000 Rp.  25.000
1956 Rp.  60.000 Rp.  32.500
1957/1958 Rp.  75.000 Rp.  42.500
NSU 250 CC    
Max 56 Rp.  55.000 Rp.  30.000
Super Max    
1957 Rp.  80.000 Rp.  50.000
Zundap P 200 CC    
1956 Rp.  50.000 Rp.  30.000
150 CC    
1956 Rp.  40.000 Rp.  20.000
1958 Rp.  50.000 Rp.  30.000
175 CC    
1955/1956 Rp.  42.000 Rp.  24.000
1957/1958 Rp.  60.000 Rp.  35.000
250 CC    
1957 Rp.  70.000 Rp.  35.000
Vespa 125 CC    
1955 Rp.  55.000 Rp.  25.000
Norton 500 CC    
1956 Rp.  80.000 Rp.  60.000
350 CC    
1956 Rp.  65.000 Rp.  40.000
Ducati 175 CC    
1957 biasa Rp.  50.000 Rp.  25.000
1957/1958 sport Rp.  55.000 Rp.  30.000
98 CC    
1956/1957 Rp. 40.000 Rp.  22.500
Ducati Luxor 48 CC    
1956 Rp. 20.000 Rp.  14.000
1957 Rp. 27.500 Rp.  18.000
1956 Rp. 13.000 Rp.    8.000
1955 Rp. 12.000 Rp.    8.000


Imagine the vehicles—along with becaks, bicycles, andongs and cars—rolling in the green Gondomanan Street cooled by the rows of mahogany trees on its left and right—was the situation in the end of 1950s and 1960s. This image–the fact that it was green because of the cool, green shade of trees on either side of the road–was recalled by Mr. Jemek Supardi and Mr. Prayitno. Also, the fact that the political policy and development of Indonesia that had changed the state’s streetscape, that the 1950s and 1960s remained in their memories.


But for sure, as far as we can see, there were not many street electricity posts and cables above our heads. Electricity itself was introduced formally in Yogyakarta in February 1884, on the inauguration of Gusti Raden Mas Akhdiyat as the crown prince, who replaced his father, Hamengkubuwono VIIth. A year before this, the authorities had introduced a series of trials in using electricity. The Kraton area was the first to privilige of electricity. As quoted in the Mataram daily, the Kraton ordered 2 steam engines of a 15-horse power, to light 196 lamps within the Kraton buildings and 5 large lamps used in open spaces. And in 1895, a study was held to fulfill the need of lighting for roads and private houses. It was on that same year, in city centres we can find street lamps powered by oil and gasoline Electricity for the public was only available for the community of Yogyakarta at the end of the VIIth Hamengkubuwono’s government. In 1919, Algemeene Nederlandsch-Indische Electricities Maatschappij or the General Netherlands-Indies Electricity Company succeeded in building a temporary electric cable network[11].


Nowadays, European brand vehicles are rarely found in the streets of this country. It has been replaced with Asian brands from Japan or China. And now, all along both sides of the Gondomanan streets we can see motor dealers from Japan (Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha) or dealers from China (Daiheiyo), and shop houses selling second-hand motorbikes of various brands.


People’s perception on mobility and speed is now far different to before. There are many factors that make people pursue all efforts to have their private vehicles (motorbikes or cars). The hot weather and pollution from vehicles encourage people to wish for own their private vehicles, as it will protect them from the heat, dust and smell of exhaust from other vehicles. Speed has also gained appreciation, that everyone wishes to own a vehicle to transport themselves from one place to another quickly. Besides this, it has been increasingly simplified to obtain these commodities, for instance by credit facilities.



Right next to the building now used by Buana Photocopies, there used to be “Pun” becak rentals. I have not yet been able to find the advertisement of this company in the local media I have read. I rather heard information on this rental from people’s stories. This business allowed many becaks to station at the front of the rental to the front of the Kerkhoffen cemetery.


The popularity of becaks in this city—even until now—is determined from its features such as being : anti-pollution, viable of different loads from passangers to commodities, its flexibility to squeeze through narrow alley ways unapproachable by cars. Also, becaks’ special feature is its romantic image. It was clear that in the 1970s, becak was the right form of tansport for young people for dating or approaching possible dates. It was the right vehicle on which to have intense private conversations to give room to build atmosphere of closeness between the passangers. Although there are now many choices of modes of transport, many towns maintain their becaks to offer something different.


The Flowering Poinciana Tree


The streets were quite free of traffic. Tody remembered his younger sister Margriet who used to sulk when she did not get things she wanted. In the past, when Tody was still in high school, he often hit the little girl. Sometimes only because of a small mistake. The girl rearranged his neatly arranged books. Because she liked to look at photos of Germany, India or other international cities. How cruel he was to the innocent girl. It had been five years since he last saw her, he could not imagine how she looked like. The year before, he received a family photo. Here Margriet was grown up. She was beautiful. She must be well sought among the young men there.  


Like the girl sitting beside her, perhaps she was a girl her seniors would fight over. It was because of this, her seniors were overacting towards her. So, she fainted, twice. Oh! Why didn’t I take notice of this from this afternoon? Oh!


Irawati felt the wheel of the becak ride through holes in the road beneath her. Meanwhile, the man next to her was silent as a statue. Then as if not on purpose she elbowed him. Tody was startled.


 “Oops sorry. Sorry ‘Mas’ Tody, sorry…”

“Hm. It’s alright.”

“Why are you so quiet?”

“Am I quiet?”

“ Yes, it’s scary.”

“Why are you scared?”

“It’s eerie.”

Tody let the small elbow land at his side.

“Why do you faint so easily?” he asked.

“Because my senior students are horrifying.”


“All of them.”

“Oh really? There must be some nice ones.”

“There are no nice ones. They are all cruel.”

“Perhaps it’s you who are of many whims.”

“How is that possible?

“ Perhaps by being spoilt.”

“Says who…?”


Tody fell silent. The wheel chain of the becak squeaked. Irawati didn’t say anything. The huffing of the becak driver was mixed up with the swishing sound of the wheels touching the sand.


“Says who…?” repeated the girl. Tody mumbled.

“ Arbitrary seniors. They command as they please, and inflict punishment arbitrarily. How is it possible they ask the girls to run around the field. We were asked to do push-ups,” said Irawati bitterly.


 “That’s normal. It’s to train your mental ability. The women were the ones to demand emancipation. When they are given similar treatment, they then make a fuss. Then they only want the comfortable treatment? They want the same position, they want to be the same. But they refuse the difficult demands. What kind of emancipation is that?”


Irawati fell silent, while she kept her elbow in the man’s side. It pushed Tody to the corner of the becak. And when the becak hit the big hole, Tody felt the girl’s elbow nudge his side.


 “ Wow, your elbow is like a spear,” he said holding her elbow.

“I’m thin, that’s why…”

“ Thin is also beautiful.”

“ Oh.” She nudged her elbow once again. Tody held it.

“Thin is in for young people these days,” said Tody.


Irawati stole a glance. And they arrived in front of the house with the mahogany tree.


“This is my house. Stop cak!” she said. The becak brakes screamed. An the young woman jumped out.


That was a wild movement. “She was like a sick chicken earlier,”  thought Tody.

Irawati opened the gate door.

“This is a beautiful garden,” said Tody.

The moon shone full, lighting up the flowers in the garden.

“Who takes care of the flowers?”

“Mama,” answered the girl. And she pressed the bell, long[12]


Printing and The Media Business

The Jogjatronik Mall was built on the former PT Pertjetakan Republik Indonesia or the Printing Company of the Republic of Indonesia. I thought that perhaps the fact that this state owned printing building had caused other such businesses to exist.


The advertisement of this company in 1959 was as follows[13]:


Still available,

“Rekonstruksi Sedjarah Indonesia Zaman Hindia” (The Reconstruction of Indies Indonesian History) by Warsito Sastroprajitno

Price Rp. 27,50

The Printing Company of the Republic of Indonesia

Publishing-Printing-Photo Illustration

Gondomanan 75-77, Tel. 729 – Jogja


As you walk to the North from the location of the state printing company, just a few steps from the house of the M. Saman family and their business, you were able to find the Sinar Asia (Asian Light) printing company. This company actively submitted advertisements in the local newspapers until nearing the end of the 1960s[14].


“Sinar Asia” Printing Company

33 Gondomanan Street. Tel. 475

How fast, the evidence will prove.  “Sinar Asia” is able to sell tickets to charity concerts, football matches, etc.


Other publishers on this street was the “Pantja Sila” foundation, located on 43 Gondomanan Street.


Printed, “Pantjasila”

Price of 1 book f 3

Pantja Sila Foundation Publishing

43 Gondomanan Street – Jogja


Other businesses closely related to publishing and printing was book shops. There were at least 3 bookshops on this street. There was “Spring” book shop, location not clear, Timbrius book shop (located in front of Kintelan primary school), and BP National book shop on 1 Gondomanan Street. This last book shop was related to PNI Marhaen, which had its headquarter in the same building.

Besides from book shops, this building also housed the media called Harian Pagi Nasional (National Morning Daily). This media was established in the 1950s, and was the third era where parties with their different ideologies were rampant . And almost all these parties or organisations affiliated with these parties published their own media to express their party’s political policy. This was the era of partisan press.


From Yogyakarta there were Suara Tani (The Farmers Voice), an official magazine from the Barisan Tani Indonesia (Indonesian Farmers Line) organization, and Wanita Sedar (Sedar Women), published by the information/ education secretary the Gerwis committee. From Gondomanan Street there were Harian Pagi Nasional, Revue Indonesia and Suara Buruh Pegadaian (The Pawn House Labourers Voice).


Photo Studio


Mas Mukimin, Mas Saman’s son, had a hobby of photography. He made a photo studio next to his family house in Gondomanan Street. The creations left from the old photo studio were two large photos hung on the house terrace wall. The writing on the photo read: Indonesische Fotograaf Trisno Roso Djokdja, and was dated 1938. From Pak Prayitno’s story, Mas Mukimin’s son, there weren’t many Javanese people who owned their own photo studios.


It seemed that Mas Mukimin had inherited his creativity from his father. He was able to make his own photo enlarger machine. Unfortunately, part of Mas Mukimin’s photography equipment had been sold, that there is only a few left.


A long time ago, not far from where Mas Mukimin lived and his company, there lived a Javanese photographer called Kassian Cephas. He was born in Yogyakarta in 1845, from Javanese parents: Minah and Kartodrono. Cephas’ choice of profession brought him close to the lives of the Dutch and elite families of the Yogyakarta Sultanate. He worked as the official Yogyakarta Sultanate photographer. Cephas even went through procedures to reveice the official legal status “gelijkgesteld met Europeanen” or “equivalent to European” for himself and his two sons –Sem and Fares. Cephas and family were one of the first Javanese to convert to Protestant Christianity. It was said that he was a student of Christina Petronella Philips-Steven. There were at least three Dutch from whom Cephas learnt photography, namely Isidore van Kinsbergen, Simon Willem Camerik, and Isaac Gronemen. The knowledge on the camera technology and photography was obtained from the authority and the holders of supremacy of the highes knowledge at the time: the Dutch.


In the 1860s and 1870s, Kassian Cephas was known as a settled photographer. Cephas and family lived in a large three storey house on Lodji Ketjil Road. On the ground floor was the shop, the first floor was the studio, and the second floor was his living area. The location of this building was around where Progo supermarket is located now. One of the products he sold was the photo package of panoramic views, buildings, roads or old monuments, as a souvenir for travellers who came to visit Yogyakarta. The photo souvenir package was sold at f 1. During those years, Cephas was clearly not the only photographer there. There were a few European photographers who worked as professionals touring from town to town taking photos and providing a studio service for the public, such as Barth & Tagesell, Persijn, O. Kurkdjian and Jos Sigrist.


There was no information where Mas Mukimin got his knowledge of photography. Pak Prayitno only said that his father knew about photography since he lived in Yogyakarta. When Mas Mukimin started his business, the Cephas family photography business was initiated by Kassian Cephas and then continued by his late son – Sem Cephas. Sem Cephas fully held his father’s business in 1905. And in 1918 he died because of a horse-riding accident in Alun-alun Kidul (the South Square). After that, nobody seemed to have taken the role to continue the Cephas family business.


In the early 1900s many studios were established in Yogyakarta, both by photographers who only stayed in the city for a while, local and permanent photographers. Besides hoto studios established by the Dutch and Javanese (the Cephas family), there were already 2 studios established by Chinese families. It was very possible that Mas Mukimin learnt photography from the Dutch or Chinese circles in this city.


According to Pak Prayitno, both the photo and gravestone business were not largely promoted through advertisements. This family believed that customers would come through gethok tular when the word gets spread around. However, you could find a mini advertisement of M. Saman’s family business in the Yogyakarta local media[15].


To welcome the 17th Anniversary of the Republic of Indonesia’s independence day 17th August 1962.

“M Saman” Photo

37 Gondomanan Street – Yogyakarta


Later, Roestam Saman inherited the photostudio business. Roestam Saman and Prayitno both had hobbies of taking photographs and hunted photos together.

Three years before that and also in welcoming the anniversary of Indonesia, the M Saman photo company put in an advertisement in the same newspaper, this time along with the gravestone business.


M Saman Photo

Day/ Night & we accept photography shoot series


At that time, M Saman was not the only such business in this city. There was Jogja Studio at 9 Tanjung Road, and Janry Photo Service at 3 Ketandan Road, and Liek Kong Photograph at 81 Tugu Kidul Road. The interesting thing about these photo studio advertisements were they showed the use of the latest technology implemented in their photo studios. They competed in showing or selling the latest photography technology they used. Colour film was more sophisticated than black and white film. This advertisement below shows the pride of colour film.


Introducing!!! Janry Color Photo Service. 8 Ketandan Kidul no.8 – Jogja

Address to develop the films from brands:

  • Geva colour N 3
  • Geva colour N 5
  • Geranta colour N
  • Agfacolor NT and pakolor

Developed within 24 hours. Cost deliberately low! Additional cost for sending.


Now the M Saman photos has closed down. It has been replaced by a business in mobile phone credit top-up shop. Mas Mukimin’s grandson, Pak Roestan saman’s son, Dodi, has opened a photography business beside the family home on Ireda Road (Keparakan Lor). And following the present trend, he opened a digital photo studio.




The Dutch cemetery called Kerkhoffen, had been located in Gondomanan Street for a very long time. The Javanese tongue could not perfectly pronounce the name and called it short: “Kerkop”.


From an old map (made in 1900), as written in the book about Kassian Cephas published by KITLV, the Dutch cemetery had already existed. The writing beside the diagram of the cemetery read: Europesche Begraafplaats.


If we imagine the position of the Dutch cemetery in the setting of the past, it is no surprise it was found in Gondomanan Street. Kerkhoffen was located in the  largely European landscape. The Vredeburg Fort in Malioboro Street (now Ahmad Yani Street) was built in the 18th century. But the Dutch soldiers did not live in camps within the fort, but outside it, in a Kampemenstraat now called Senopati Street.


Right in front of the fort, a house and residential office was built in 1824. In the 19thcentury, the Dutch power in Yogyakarta took form of Resident, Assisten Resident, Secretay, Administrator and 5 policemen, Behind the fort, a European Club was built, also called the Societeit de Vereniging or The Union. The first primary school for the Dutch in Yogyakarta was built in 1832, located on Lodji Ketjil Street (now Mayor Suryotomo Street) and the Code River. The school still exists and is used as a primary and middle school from the Bopkri Foundation.


The Dutch who did not work in the Dutch overnment lived and built their own businesses around the Lodji Ketjil and the Code River area[16]. Meanwhile, those who worked in the government lived not far from the commissioner residential house and office[17].


The Dutch Cemetery on Gondomanan Street was not the only Dutch cemetery in this town. The story of the death of Kassian Cephas told that he (with his wife—Dina Rakijah, his son in law and son– Sem and James), were buried in the Sasanalaya Cemetery: Register Derde Kerkhoff, located between Beringharjo market and the Lodji Ketjil Street area. In an old map in 1900s, we were still able to see this location clearly, and it was smaller than the Dutch cemetery on Gondomanan Street. However, the Dutch cemetery in the Beringharjo-Lodji Ketjil area was short-lived because it was said that in 1964, all the bodies of the Cephas family had to be moved to the Sasanalaya Cemetery: Register Vierde Kerkhoff on Gondomanan Street, because the old cemetery had to make way for the building of roads and new buildings.


On Gondomanan Street there is a gravestone business, the only one left. Here is a story of the M Saman family[18].


Mas Saman and his family decided to move from Surabaya to Yogyakarta in the 1920s. They did all sorts of jobs in Surabaya. Mas Saman was born with a great gift of making handicrafts. He was an expert in stone carving and often received orders from the Dutch to make name boards. He finally developed his craft and made gravestones for Dutch cemeteries.


Mas Saman then passed his craftsmanship to his son Mas Mukimin. Until now, the family business received orders from customers who were from the Keraton of Yogyakarta and other cities – Jakarta, Malang, Solo or Semarang.


Prayitno had never been taught by his father,  Mas Mukimin, through specific sessions of handicraft, but he said that wherever his father went to carve gravestones, he would ask Prayitno to go with him. And when his father finally died in 1963, his last words were for Mas Mukimin to take care of his mother and to provide a pillar for the family house. Not long after his father died, Prayitno tried to fulfill his father’s wish by building a wall for the house so that it didn’t tilt. But then he realized that what his father meant was to continue the gravestone business started by his grandfather.


Besides the M Saman family, along the Gondomanan Street, there were other gravestone maker families, for instance, the Arjosupo family. The oldest child from this family was the successor of the gravestone craft in his house behind the Gondomanan Sectoral Police station. It seemed this family business was no longer continued.


In the 1950s, the Dutch cemetery looked beautiful. There were many beautiful statues, it was cool because of the many trees there, that Prayitno and friends liked to use the place to study. Prayitno also said that the statues were bought from Italy. Now, a few of the statues in that cemetery can be found in the Indonesian Arts Institute (ISI). Unfortunately, the earthquake that hit Yogyakarta last week caused four statues of angels from Kerkhoffen, made of white marble, fell and caused further damage to the body of the statues.


Funerals and death rituals were, in fact, held lavishly by the Dutch[19]. For the Dutch government in Batavia for instance, funerals were said to be a ceremony full of pomp and prestige, but also of familiarity. The carcass, carriage, the dead, the clothes worn by the family of the deceased, gifts for tokens of appreciation for the mourners from the family of the dead, the gravestone, all were media to show the glamour and prestige of the family. This concept of beauty and glamour was what made the Dutch funeral beautiful and not frightening.  At the beginning of the kompeni’s existence, there were stories that gravestones were imported from Koromandel, but then was made by Batavia craftsmen. A luxurious gravestone was one with carvings of leaves with flowers on the rim, a combination of traditional Javanese craftsmen and European style hand carving. Indies style gravestone[20]. It is therefore understandable that M Saman, the carver then became a name board carver, and later developed his business in making gravestones. A career line that made sense.


It is interesting to observe the designs of gravestones –at least from the remains of the old gravestones in Sasana Laya. The style of Indies gravestones that was a combination of traditional –stalks and flowers carving—and Western style carving, as described above, has experienced change –as has houses and office buildings have. This change in gravestone design has taken an orientation towards more clear-cut lines, elegant, and strong models. This change may have been influenced by house or building styles of that time.


Looking back at the remains of the Dutch cemetery, the similar Dutch style gravestone had Chinese names written on them. Was it a popular style at the time? And if so, does it mean that the Chinese group were the ones who found it possible to enjoy the style because they had the economic ability to as able as the Dutch.


M Saman, the gravestone business never made Javanese style gravestones out of black stone with two domes on the top. Looking at the styles of gravestone made by this family, also in terms of its relation to advertisements from the “Oesman” gravestone makers for Dutch cemeteries in Jakarta, and forms of gravestones made until now, we can say that the Dutch has a strong influence in the style of gravestones.


There had also been a business set up in Javanese black gravestone making on Gondomanan Street. Its location is now next to Buana Photocopy. The people in the surrounding area used to call the gravestone maker Pak Imo. After he passed away, his home changed into a becak pedicab rental business called “Pun” becaks.


Besides gravestones, we can also find commodities such as coffins in Gondomanan. The coffin sellers had grouped exactly opposite the area where the Dutch cemetery was. From our interview with Jemek Supardi, we learnt that the workers at the Dutch cemetery, called blegger, had in fact lived in front of the cemetery complex. And since then the coffin selling business developed, imitating the style of coffin used by the Dutch. The coffin sellers had modified  the design by putting pleated white material for inside lining.


After 1965, there were efforts to use the cemetery area as a bus terminal, where inter-city busses are stationed to let passengers on and off. And people who lived or often passed through it, say it is because of this function of terminal that the area seemed unorderly.


29th December 1967 was the first day of the opening of the Taman Coka Kerkop[21], an amusement park for the people.


Come to Taman Coka (THR) Kerkop. Opening on 29th December 1967

Take all the family and have a great time and enjoy the attractions:

Open Stage

Wayang drama of Pantja Murti

Dagelan Mataram (Mataram style comedy) and Djapen Kodja

Cinema and Amazing Magic Show

Children’s games and other various shows

End of year music bands and shadow puppets all night long

Open your own stand!!!


There it stands. The remains of what was once a grand cemetery, is now only a piece of memory of the people. And a small part of the cemetery, with Sasanalaya is written on the gate stands at the back end of the THR Purawisata people’s recreation park. And on what was once a cemetery, people now sway to the music sung by the dangdut singers every night.




Newspapers/ Magazines

Kedaulatan Rakjat Daily

Madjalah Merdeka Magazine

Pesat Weekly



Knaap, Gerrit, Cephas, Yogyakarta: Photography in the Service of Sultan, KITLV Press, Leiden, 1999

Siregar, Ashadi, Kugapai Cintamu, PT Gramedia, Jakarta, 1978

Soekiman, Djoko, Kebudayaan Indis dan Gaya Hidup Masyarakat Pendukungnya di Jawa Abad XVIII – medio Abad XX, Januari 2000, Bentang, Yogyakarta

Toer, Pramoedya Ananta, Jejak Langkah, Februari 2001, Hasta Mitra, Jakarta


Many thanks to:

The family of M Saman and Bapak Prayitno

The family of Jemek  Supardi

Cemeti Art Foundation

Ruang Mes 56

Bambang Toko

Anton Subiyanto and Anak Wayang Indonesia

Maria Tri Sulistyani

Mbak Neni, Mas Agung, Ratna (Kedai Kebun Forum)



Process of Gondomanan Project on Comic


Concept        : Yustina W. Neni

Montage        : Ratna Mufida




[1] River Code

[2] Palacial Port

[3] Chinese shrine

[4] Big wheel (British)

[5] Advertisement of Wetan Benteng bicycle market, Kedaulatan Rakjat, 23 April 1959, page 4

[6] Product Advertisement of the Lambretta Scooter, Kedaulatan Rakjat, 21 July 1967, page. 4

[7] Event advertisement of Scooter Vespa, Kedaulatan Rakjat daily, 30 April 1959, page 4

[8] News photo Vespa Scooter Concours d’elegance, Kedaulatan Rakjat daily, 19 May 1959

[9] Siregar, Ashadi, Kugapai Cintamu, PT Gramedia, Jakarta, 1978, page. 76-77

[10] Kedaulatan Rakjat, 19 September 1959, page. 2

[11]          Knaap, Gerrit, Cephas, Yogyakarta: Photography in the service of the Sultan, KITLV Press, Leiden, 1999, page 12-13

[12] Siregar, Ashadi, Kugapai Cintamu, PT Gramedia, Jakarta, 1978, page. 35-37. This novel tells of a three-way love affair between Faraitody, Irawati and Widuri, and held the setting of campus of Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta. Before being published, this novel had first been written as a series of short stories in the KOMPAS daily.

[13] Advertisement of PT Pertjetakan Republik Indonesia (Printing Company of the Republic of Indonesia, Kedaulatan Rakjat, 26 Agustus 1959, page. 4

[14] Printing advertisment “Sinar Asia”, Kedaulatan Rakjat, 22 July1967, page. 4

[15] Photo Studio Advertisment “M Saman”, Kedaulatan Rakjat, 16 Agustus 1962, page. 4

[16]          Knaap, Gerrit, op.cit, hal. 3-5

[17]          Sukiman, Djoko, Kebudayaan Indis dan Gaya Hidup Masyarakat Pendukungnya di Jawa (Abad XVIII-medio Abad XX), Bentang, Yogyakarta, 2000, hal. 206

[18]          Interview with Bapak Prayitno, 21 April 2006, at the M Saman family home, Jl Brigjend Katamso

[19]   Sukiman, Djoko, op.cit, hal. 160-165

[20] Sukiman, Djoko, op.cit, hal. 166-167

[21] Iklan pembukaan THR Taman Coka Kerkop, Kedaulatan Rakjat, 29 Desember 1967

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