The presentation of the International Fair of Friendly Cultures (FICA 2019), which lasts 17 days in the Mexican capital, presents a variety of activities that attract visitors.
In addition to the culinary and craft festivals, there were also artistic and cultural offerings by several of the 90 participating countries, including Indonesia, which included traditional angklung music and Saman dance on June 7, 2019, presented by the Pakoe Ningrat Group from the Indonesian Embassy in Mexico.
Indonesia Stand at FICA 2019 , Mexico City (Foto: Charles Panahatan Pasaribu)
Besides, in FICA 2019, this time, Indonesia also participated in one of the events of the circle of discussion entitled "The East, which is our North", held by the Secretary of Culture of Mexico.
In the discussion circle that took place on June 8, 2019, Fitra Ismu Kusumo from Indonesia, who is also founder of the Gamelan Group Indra Swara, attended as a speaker together with several panelists from other countries such as Morocco, Iran, India, Argentina, France and Lebanon.
Indra Swara is a promoter group of Indonesian art and culture in Mexico, founded by Fitra Ismu Kusumo in 2002.
Traditional Indonesian Music at FICA 2019 (Foto: Putri Natasya Caesarina)
According to Fitra, this circle of discussion aims to promote knowledge of Mexican citizens about the importance of the countries of the East as a new market, a new approach for Mexico, especially in the political, economic and sociocultural fields that have been dominated by countries from the north like the United States and Canada, and Europe.
Fitra said that in the discussion, the moderator asked, among other things, what the Mexican government should do to make Indonesia better known in Mexico. On top of that, he also questioned why Indonesia is not as well known in Mexico compared to its neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Korea and Japan, among others.
Fitra explained that the answers to all these questions have very broad variables, but the most important one is the Indonesian image-building policy that the Indonesian regime in the government wants to build outwards.
For example, South Korea has managed to create a new K-pop image in the last 10 years through massive exports in the field of its creative industries, from Korean soap operas, music and even Korean films.
While Mexico itself is considered successful when it enhances its image abroad through its telenovelas.
The construction of images of a country is also compatible with other variables, such as the number of migrants in the country. In Mexico, for example, migrants from the Arab countries, China and Korea have managed to enter and integrate into Mexican society.
This can be seen in the proliferation of a series of restaurants in these countries that have also become an important factor for the image of the country of origin in Mexico.
Fitra Ismu Kusumo, founder Indra Swara (Foto: Dokumen pribadi)
The image of Indonesia in Mexico, in the field of culture, can be seen in the activities and promotion of Indonesia, carried out by the Indra Swara group, which since 2002 promotes the culture and image of Indonesia through the Gamelan orchestra, traditional dances and the puppet theater.
Fitra added that Mexico needs to diversify markets and the mecca of knowledge so that they do not limit themselves to Western culture.
The diversification of knowledge and product markets would be useful for Mexico because of its dependence on the economy of countries such as the United States, Canada and European countries.