"Rimpang's Stories", Kabupaten Aceh Utara_, RHIZOMATIC ARCHIPELAGO
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Samudra Pasai Islamic Museum

English | Indonesia

“Sumutrah is a large and beautiful city, surrounded by fortresses and towers made of wood” —Ibnu Bathuthah 14 AD, Maghrib (Morocco).

The intended city is the core area of ​​Samudra Pasai, now Samudra District, North Aceh Regency.

Photo: Ferial Afiff (accessed from Instagram @alebutoh)

Maybe the city is trying to be as grand as the past, there are two buildings in the middle of a meadow, which are crowded by cattle. Its access is through a ridgeway road next to a resident’s house. One of the buildings (Samudra Pasai Museum) has been completed and fenced. The other one, the mosque – which from a distance has a towering tower – is seen because it passes through the residents’ housing. After getting closer, the mosque was apparently surrounded by shrubs. The building is really big, these three floors below look unfinished.

Photo: Ferial Afiff (accessed from Instagram @alebutoh)

Fortunately, I got a contact from someone, who happened to be working at the museum, he said he was also taking care of things for (finally) the museum, which was inaugurated on 10 July 2019. So, I was able to enter, some areas are dark, and some areas that the keys were not found. However, according to information in the museum booklet, there are 340 collections of Ethnographic, Philological, Numismatic, and Historical. (The museum was built in 2011 with a special autonomy fund of Rp 7.5 Billion, it is reported that it has been inaugurated several times since 2017. It is said, it was hampered because it needed funds to build a road of total Rp 8.6 Billion).

Photo: Ferial Afiff (accessed from Instagram @alebutoh)

Apart from the drama of the new building, I asked about the legacy of the old building. Is there a fort or remnants of this magnificent civilization that was excavated. The mister who opened the museum’s door to me said: “Once when a resident wanted to build a house, they dug up, they accidentally found a wall in the ground, but now it has been piled up again.”

Photo: Ferial Afiff (accessed from Instagram @alebutoh)
Photo: Ferial Afiff (accessed from Instagram @alebutoh)
Photo: Ferial Afiff (accessed from Instagram @alebutoh)
Photo: Ferial Afiff (accessed from Instagram @alebutoh)
Photo: Ferial Afiff (accessed from Instagram @alebutoh)


FERIAL AFFIF adalah seniman fleksibel yang telah aktif berkarya lebih dari 10 tahun. Saat ini ia berdomisili di Yogyakarta. Pola karyanya tak punya batasan maupun gaya tertentu, secara artistik dia kerap beralih-peran sebagai fasilitator/kurator/penulis/peneliti/produser/dsb. Dia senantiasa penasaran. berhubungan dengan orang lain serta kondisi kehidupan yang menyertainya, terutama tema lingkungan/gender/sejarah. Karyanya sempat hadir di berbagai kota di Indonesia dan negara lain seperti: Singapura,Myanmar, Jepang, Korea Selatan, India, Sri Lanka, Madagaskar, Switzerland, dan sebagainya, Ferial sejak 2012 menjadi anggota Lifepatch, sebuah inisiasi warga dalam seni-sains-teknologi. Sejak 2018 bersama Putri Wartawati, Ridwan Rau Rau, dan Yayasan Lingkar Semanggi (Tangerang) menginisiasi Expedition Camp sebuah forum temu dan berbagi per dua tahunan bagi para praktisi performans se-Asia.

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