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A Myth or Not

wood, leather, textile, mango leaf dye, DVD 2008


When I participated in the seminar, ‘ Indonesia across Orders', at the Gadjah Mada University in 2005, I heard a story that I never forgot and wanted to explore in a work of art.
The story concerned the struggle for Indonesian independence (1945 – 1949), when the guerillas camouflaged their clothes by dyeing the unbleached cotton in mango leaves to get a green color. This story made a strong impression on me. Try to imagine it. If you wanted to join the guerillas, you just had to boil your clothes in mango leaves and you got your military outfit, ready to go. I wondered if this really happened, so I interviewed some old guerillas, historians and batik artists working with natural dye. I also searched for information through the internet and finally tried to dye these cloths myself, with the results like these flags. I could not find any evidence in support of this story. The question is: is it a Myth Or Not?