Between November 1st and December 24th come for an authentic shopping experience and leave on a cultural journey.
23 Years of Introducing Indonesia to Philadelphia with her Visiting Show
Helping Indonesia when it needs it most…
Every country, including Indonesia, has its challenges. As in the Amazon, massive fires harm the rain forest of Borneo; there can be strong political divides that are found in many nations, including our own; and like our southern neighbors, many Indonesian citizens who are struggling or persecuted try desperately to emigrate to America, the land of hope and freedom. Yet, Indonesia remains a land of natural beauty that features dramatic volcanos, deep blue ocean vistas, sweeping rice terraces, and red-flowered ginger plants.
In November and December of this year, residents of the Philadelphia region can learn more about Indonesia at From Bali to Bala, a visiting show and sale of crafts from that county. They will have the chance to enjoy Indonesian food, experience its dances, hear its Gamelan music, and view fims and slideshow capturing images not to be forgotten, along with a broad array of Indonesian crafts. Through these connections, bridges will be built to feel closer to this distant land and awareness raised.
For over 30 years, Laura Cohn has adopted Indonesia as her second home, with deep connections there and in Philadelphia’s own vibrant Indonesian diaspora community. Beginning in 1988, this Chicago-raised batik artist lived and worked in Bali and Java for six years, and ultimately traveled to many other island of the 13,000 in this archipelago nation. Soon after moving to the Philadelphia region in 1995, she started her visiting holiday show, From Bali to Bala, in her Bala Cynwyd home during the holiday season. As the show grew each year, it moved to Manayunk, and then took root in Chestnut Hill where it has returned each year since 2010. Her landlord, the Chestnut Hill Business Association, and the local community have strongly supported her show’s annual migration, embracing the striking cultural experiences she brings to the neighborhood.
Starting with an empty storefront on Germantown Avenue, she transforms the raw space into a magical and colorful art show & craft bazaar with tables, shelves, fabrics, bamboo, and lights that showcase glorious Indonesian handcrafts and treasures for sale, along with her own contemporary batik paintings. Cohn, who now lives in nearby West Mt. Airy, says “I love creating an environment that is so intriguing you are enticed to come in and explore – and then, once inside, you feel transported halfway around the world.”
Cohn is strongly committed to introducing a broader public to Indonesia, and helping them learn about this land and people through special events, most of which are free. This year, From Bali to Bala will feature a fun opening night party featuring Indonesian Dancers, a slideshow on Borneo and its orangutans and rainforest, a documentary about palm oil plantations and their impact on Indonesia’s natural beauty, an Indonesian cooking demonstration and feast, a show of her own slides reflecting her years of travel to Indonesia, and many others as well. As always, visitors will also help support several very worthwhile causes. It is particularly timely and important that a special Indonesian dinner will help support dear friends of hers, a Philadelphia family whose lives have been devastated by an ICE raid. Also, a portion of the proceeds from the show will go to the Orangutan Tree Project, a nonprofit that works with other NGOs in Kalimantan (Borneo) to support the orangutans and their habitat, help offset the effect of fires in that rainforest, and engage young men and women in those communities to replant native trees. As Cohn notes, “In our small way, through our show’s fundraisers, outreach, and sales, we can all can join together and help those in desperate need, both in our country and in Indonesia, to rebuild their lives.”
2019 SPECIAL EVENTS to enrich our understanding of Indonesia
Friday, November 1st 7 – 9 pm FUN OPENING PARTY with artists from Modero Dance Company performing Indonesian dances to help celebrate our 10th anniversary in Chestnut Hill! Grab a glass of wine, visit, shop, make new friends, and then enjoy Chestnut Hill’s FIRST FRIDAY up and down the Avenue.
Sunday, November 10th 5 – 6 pm A VISIT to BORNEO & HER APES Local Philadelphian and primate researcher Natalie Robinson just returned from a year living Borneo where she followed orangutans through the rain forest, survived floods and droughts, and became passionate about conservation. She will share here research findings and stories in a beautiful slideshow of a rare journey deep into the jungle.
Friday, November 15th 7 pm INDONESIAN DOCUMENTARY FILM – ASIMETRIS (ASYMMETRIC) Palm oil is found in food, fuel, cosmetics, and more across the world. Yet, there’s a heavy price: as this movie shows, the palm oil industry is responsible for committing environmental destruction on a massive scale in the tropical paradise of Indonesia. After the screening, learn what you can do to lessen your use of palm oil and to help save our natural environment.
Tuesday, November 19th 6:30 – 8:30 pm INDONESIAN COOKING DEMONSTRATION & FEAST The owners of Pecel Ndeso Catering will teach how to make a few delicious favorites from their Javanese traditions. We’ll then dine together on an Indonesian feast prepared to delight the senses. Pre-registration is required: $25 per person, but seating is limited and will go quickly!
Wednesdays, December 4th, 11th & 18 6 – 8 pm STAG & DOE NIGHT in Chestnut Hill For three December Wednesdays, please join us for drink, a nosh, to shop, and to experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of other Chestnut Hill shops decked out for this special holiday tradition.
Thursday, December 5th 7 – 9 pm An INDONESIAN DINNER for an important cause. Share a delicious meal in a truly special Indonesian tradition of a communal Liwetan dinner of local dishes prepared with love by our friends Pecel Ndeso. Most importantly, half of the ticket cost will help with legal aid for our dear friends, an Indonesian family devastated by an ICE raid. Pre-registration is required. $40 per person, but reserve quickly: seating is very limited.
Sunday, December 8th 5:30 – 6:30 pm INDONESIAN TRAVEL STORIES & SLIDES Through her slide show and personal narratives, travel with Laura Cohn through her over 30 years of living, working and loving Indonesia. Come, and be transported!
Sunday, December 15th 5 – 6 pm GAMELAN MUSIC FROM BALI Enjoy traditional Gamelan music, including Balinese drumming, performed by Gamelan Semara Santi members and Professor Tom Whitman from Swarthmore College.
* Unless pre-registration is required, all events are free and open to the public.