lakshmi kothaneth –
It’s an arch that welcomes you to the village. It serves as the entrance. I can sense the excitement in the air as I manoeuvre my way through the crowd. Others seemed do not want to go further than the entrance.
The visitors, all of whom were on foot, were busy taking photographs and that is when this visitor also looked at the big picture ahead – a panoramic view of Kampung Warna – Warni Jodipan, located in the East Java, Indonesia.
Although the bikers manage to ride through, it was the pedestrians who were having all the fun. The word ‘Warna’ in the name tells us about a village that is a collection of many colours – vibrantly painted roofs and walls. With this luscious view in front of them, the tourists tried to access the best viewpoints to see this colourful village.
The visit to this unique village was part of a familiarisation trip hosted by the Republic of Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism for Middle Eastern journalists.
The entrance into the village was ticketed and in return the visitor receives a handmade keychain that once could cherish forever as a keepsake. The keychain was almost symbolic as it gave us access to a collection of memories, wisdoms and experiences that one gains from a visit to Warni Jodipan.
The colourful Jodipan village sits pretty on the bank of Brantas River in East Java. This unique village was not always so pretty; it was yet another crowded slum in a bustling city just like anywhere else in the world.
And then it happened, an idea became a reality. The concept was conceived by a group of art students at the University of Muhammadiyah Malang (UMM) led by Nabila Firdausiyah. In coordination with the community helped by the government of Malang and in collaboration with a paint manufacturing company, who found took it upon themselves as an opportunity for corporate social responsibility, made helped make this vibrant vision a reality.
Not long after, the village of Jodipan went through a complete makeover. The village has been rehabilitated, the dirty slum as it was referred to, began to breathe fresh air, the colours energized the surroundings, and tourists started walking in. The walls of houses have since been turned into canvases for 3D art by the local art students. Everywhere one looks, there are beautiful murals and artistic graffiti that brighten up the streets on Jodipan including the public phone booth, which has now become a piece of art.
“The tourists coming in meant income and the economic uplift meant that nobody was interested in begging,” explained our guide, Imam Sopingi, owner and tour guide of Jalandarat rental and tour packages.
Many of the houses have restaurants and shops attached to them. At one such restaurant, ME Mukidi has a painting which highlights Kampung Tridi, Chonk Zen Unity.
The windows are left open and in the kitchen next to us, we witnessed a lady is making fresh noodles, preparing what was just then ordered for lunch by a young couple.
The restaurant setting was traditional with floor sitting and short tables to eat off, providing one with the comfort of a truly authentic experience of home cooked food.
Most of the houses had birds in cages so you were never far away from the tweeting and singing of these pet birds. On one side of the road, there was a hen and her chicks moving around with great confidence staying close to their owner’s house not at all perturbed by the many visitors.
Decorative plants and flower beds added to the ambience and at noon school children were seen returning home in their uniforms and school backpacks. They were just as excited to see the new visitors as we were happy to see them.
A narrow glass bottomed bridge took you to the other side of the village, crossing over a river which is known to be filled to the brim in the rainier seasons. There were young visitors all around, looking for the right place to capture the best photographs.
The art students used this opportunity to paint quirky artwork that not only entertained the visitors but gave them the perfect photo op! on various walls, the young artists had painted a variety of angel wings for people to stand between and take back with them fun little photo along with those in the beautiful landscapes around.
Time had passed too soon and from what seemed like not enough, it was time to exit this mesmerising village that had filled our hearts, memories and phones with its beautiful artwork and vibrant splash of colours.