Dive with us into a world where age-old traditions and modern culture merge. Our recent exhibition at OX Space in Rotterdam was a portal to the past and a look at the future of wellness.
Connection through Age-Old Traditions
At Good Jamu we believe that the beauty of ancient rituals extends beyond time. They form the basis of communities and connect people through stories and passions. Our exhibition offered visitors a unique opportunity to explore the origins and evolution of beloved spices such as turmeric and limegrass in a new way.
Jamu's Powerful Ingredients in the Spotlight
Every ingredient in Jamu tells a story, from soothing limegrass to the anti-inflammatory power of turmeric . We brought these wonders of nature to life, not only with photographs, but also with art installations that stimulated the senses and gave visitors the opportunity to experience the rich Indonesian soil. During the exhibition, visitors had the opportunity to delve into the world of some prominent Indonesian spices: star anise, cinnamon and cloves.
Star anise, recognizable by its distinctive star shape, is a staple in many Asian dishes. Originating from the Illicium verum tree, this spice is loved not only for its distinctive sweet and tangy flavor, but also for its versatile uses in both sweet and savory recipes.
Cinnamon may be one of the everyday spices, but the context of its origins is far from ordinary. This beloved seasoning, derived from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree, has a deep-rooted place in Indonesian culture. It is used in a range of recipes, from traditional dishes to modern culinary creations, and is known for its unmistakable warm and sweet aroma.
Known for its intense aroma and flavor, cloves are a crucial ingredient in Indonesian cuisine. These small, dark brown buds, which come from the clove tree, are a popular addition to a variety of traditional dishes and have a long history in the region. Their strong, spicy character makes them ideal for flavoring both food and drinks.
The Role of Women in the Jamu Tradition
At the heart of Jamu's rich tradition are the Jamu gendongs - women who master the art of making and selling these beneficial drinks. These women, carrying the woven baskets full of different brews on their backs, are a symbol of resilience, community and female entrepreneurship.
The jamu gendongs embody the vibrant tradition that has existed for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. These women are not only sellers, but also producers of jamu, selecting each ingredient with precision and care. They use local products, including various herbs found in the Indonesian forests, such as Javanese turmeric, ginger, galangal and cardamom, and transform them into beneficial drinks using ancient techniques.
What's even more impressive is Jamu's production process. It requires an in-depth knowledge of local herbs and spices, precise preparation methods and an almost ceremonial precision. Ingredients are carefully chosen, peeled, crushed and brewed using methods that have remained unchanged for hundreds of years, guaranteeing the authenticity and purity of each Jamu drink.
Importantly, Jamu's practice is also a means of social and economic empowerment for these women. For many, making and selling Jamu is a primary source of income, providing autonomy and a degree of independence. This aspect of Jamu culture was one of the most inspiring parts of the exhibition, shedding light on the indomitable spirit and resilience of these women.
Furthermore, Jamu is not only a traditional remedy but also an integral part of Indonesian identity and heritage. For example, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019. The respect for Jamu transcends time as it continues to flourish and adapt to changing times. Even with the rise of modern medicine, Jamu remains a favorite approach for many Indonesians, who swear by its natural ingredients and holistic benefits.
The stories of the Jamu gendongs and the indelible imprint they left on the cultural, economic, and social landscapes of Indonesia were a profound aspect of our exhibition, and a tribute to the continued strength and contribution of women in history and the survival of Jamu.
A Symphony of Spices
Perhaps the most innovative element of our exhibition was the way we used technology to make the 'voice' of the turmeric plant heard. Visitors were treated to a melodious experience that transformed the vibrant energy of this spice into sound, creating a deep, almost spiritual connection with nature.
We ended our exhibition with a sense of wonder and a deep respect for the traditions that have shaped us. It is our belief that by rediscovering and nurturing these practices, we can create a healthier, connected future. Good Jamu is more than a brand; it is a movement that builds bridges between past, present and future.