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Tea Men

Embroidered emblems, wood, stainless steel, enamel tea sets -220 x 120 cm x 70 cm


On what way do we carry history with us? I collected packages of Javanese tea in search for an idiom to represent the past and present. The package designs which are still in use up to now, are derived from the colonial period, mixing Dutch, Javanese and Chinese elements. Most tea companies in Indonesia are currently in the hands of Chinese Indonesians, (as is the tobacco industry) thus representing generations of a family business that is a reality in this community, but is disappearing rapidly amidst global developments. The title is inspired by Hella Haassen’s bestseller ‘Heeren van de Thee (Lords of the Tea), and concerns the lives of Dutch planters’ families who exploit tea plantations in Indonesia which is set in the colonial Dutch era. private Collection