As the performance begins, we will be surrounded by a crowd. We usually perform in TIM and in some other places every weekend
Jakarta (ANTARA) - As the capital of Indonesia, Jakarta is arguably a big city where people can find almost everything. This metropolitan city has been home to many business centers, shopping centers, and hangouts, and is also the seat of the central government.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the modern city is filled with busy streets and skyscrapers, especially in the Central Jakarta area, a place for office and governmental buildings where most people are workers.

In the middle of a hectic working life in central Jakarta, if people still want some spots for a little sweet escape, one such place is the iconic Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM).

Taman Ismail Marzuki – located in Cikini, Central Jakarta – can be a sanctuary for working people or visitors who want to chill by enjoying some local arts and culture as well as educational and fun activities.

Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) is one of the art centers in Jakarta which was built and inaugurated on November 10, 1968 by former Jakarta Governor Ali Sadikin. The establishment of TIM is inseparable from the noble aspirations to advance art and culture of Indonesia.

Built on a nine-hectare former zoo, TIM is equipped with a variety of modern facilities, such as the Graha Bhakti Budaya performance hall that has a capacity of up to 800 people, Galeri Cipta gallery, a small theater, a cinema, a courtyard, a planetarium, and the Jakarta Theater which has a sophisticated stage system.

Considering such various facilities, it is no wonder that Taman Ismail Marzuki offers a variety of activities for its visitors.

Related news: Jakarta to have Madame Tussaud Museum
Related news: Enthralling cultural experiences in vibrant Jakarta that never sleeps

Fun reading

Visitors at TIM, who are book lovers, may seek pleasure by searching for some old and limited edition books at Bengkel Deklamasi bookstore.

Bengkel Deklamasi is an old second-hand bookstore inaugurated in TIM on April 27, 1996 which provides around 20 thousand books.

It has a classic style of interior design and once visitors get into the store, they can immediately get the typical scent of old books which can probably make people feel nostalgic about the past.

The nuance in the bookstore is just like in an old movie where everything looks old yet interesting.

Besides, it is a quiet photogenic place where people could take pictures with shelves full of old books.

Jose Rizal Manua, the owner and administrator of Bengkel Deklamasi, said that the bookstore at first had only provided books about art and culture. However, it started to supply books with other genres due to the varied interest of readers visiting the store.

"We previously only provided old books about art and culture. Since many various visitors come here, we try to provide other genres yet it is not as much as art and cultural books," Jose stated.

A poet and theater icon Jose Rizal Manua who is the owner of a beloved Jakarta secondhand bookstore, Bengkel Deklamasi, located in Taman Ismail Marzuki, Cental Jakarta. (ANTARA)
The price range of books in the store is from Rp1,000 to Rp5,000,000 depending on the kind of book it is.

Many old-book collectors bought their books from this store. They did not even mind spending a lot of money for some old and limited edition books that are hard to find in today’s bookstores.

Nevertheless, Bengkel Deklamasi bookstore is not only about selling books since it allows visitors to freely read books there every day.

In fact, Jose said that if visitors damage a book, they are not charged for it since he understands that old books can be more easily damaged.

"If the visitor damages the book accidentally, they won’t be sanctioned because we all know that old books are fragile and easy to tear," he remarked.

Furthermore, for book-lover visitors who only want to read some books without intending to buy any, they could visit the Jakarta provincial public library.

It is a local government-owned public library which is spread over four floors with each floor having a different classification of books and or activities.

On the ground floor of the library, visitors can find a gallery, paintings, photos, and circulation room, while on the first floor is the main area for general books collection owned by the public library.

Moreover, people can find a children’s library on the second floor with an area for reference books on the third floor. The library also provides some books on braille on each floor.

A kids corner at Jakarta provincial public library located at Taman Ismail Marzuki in Central Jakarta. (ANTARA)
The library provides a full-day service which is available from 09.00 a.m. up to 17.00 p.m. local time, and it is closed on national holidays.

For those who want to borrow a book, they will first be required to be members of the library and then they can borrow books for a maximum of two weeks.

However, reference books on the third floor cannot be borrowed since it is only for reading on the spot.

All books in this public library are equipped with protector chips, so if anyone takes books out of the library without permission, the alarm will go off.

The library rooms are pretty cozy. Visitors can sit anywhere they like and freely use the facilities as long as they do not disturb others.

A braille-books corner at Jakarta provincial public library located at Taman Ismail Marzuki in Central Jakarta. (ANTARA)
Artsy leisure

Taman Ismail Marzuki itself is named after Ismail Marzuki, one of Indonesia's most influential composers.

That is why TIM has become sort of headquarter for local artists to gather around or to stage some art performance.

The TIM area specializes in art stages including a dance or theater stage.

For visitors who want to enjoy some art performances at TIM, they need to check the schedules.

The art performance itself can take place at Graha Bhakti Budaya theater, the small theater, or Jakarta Theater.

The art performance available at TIM every weekend is a traditional dance exercise performed by artistes from Saraswati Bali art institute who regularly perform and exercise some Bali traditional dances accompanied by gamelan music on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. up to 11:00 a.m. on and on Sunday from 10:00 a.m. up to 12:00 p.m.

Artists from Saraswati Bali art institute regularly perform and exercise some Bali traditional dances accompanied by gamelan music on Saturday and Sunday at Taman Ismail Marzuki, Central Jakarta. (ANTARA)
At those times on the schedule, visitors of TIM can enjoy some Bali traditional dance and music performance and experience some cultural pleasure just watching it.

"As the performance begins, we will be surrounded by a crowd. We usually perform in TIM and in some other places every weekend," said one of the dancers of the Saraswati Bali art institute.

In addition to watching traditional dance performances, visitors can also enjoy the collections of art objects at several art exhibitions held at Taman Ismail Marzuki.

The artists usually display their artistic creations at Galeri Cipta I, II, and III buildings. Nevertheless, visitors should firstly check the exhibition schedule before going.

From skateboarding to culinary hopping

Beside fun reading and artsy activities, visitors of Taman Ismail Marzuki may also try some other leisure activities, one of which is skateboarding or simply just watching people skateboarding while snacking.

Since Taman Ismail Marzuki has some wide areas, it can be used pretty much for any kind of activities, including skateboarding and roller skating. That is why many people use some the TIM area for their leisure activities.
Visitors gather at Taman Ismail Marzuki, Central Jakarta. (ANTARA)
Moreover, since the TIM area is freely accessible to anyone, a lot of visitors come here just to sit and relax with their friends as well as take some pictures and selfies.

Other than that, visitors can also try some culinary hopping activities at TIM. They could taste some local food such as Mie Ayam, Soup, Fried Rice, and Kerak Telor sold by surrounding restaurants, cafeterias, and street food vendors.

Whatever the relaxing activities that visitors indulge in at Taman Ismail Marzuki, the most suitable time to come to this place - outside the library visit and art performance schedule - is from afternoon to evening.

Related news: The charm of the 'instagrammable' Fatahillah Museum
Related news: Taste of heritage: culinary adventure in Jakarta's Old Town

Editor: Mulyo Sunyoto
Copyright © ANTARA 2020