Today I was invited for a photography exhibition and discussion at S-28, a bookstore cafe and an 'oleh-oleh' store (oleh-oleh = gifts/presents one brings home from a trip) on Sulanjana street.
The exhibition displayed the works of very young photographers aged between 8 and 15 years old. The discussion was on how children express themselves through the medium of photography and how photography education could benefit and help them explore and express their creativity. It was an interesting discussion.
But no less interesting was the place where the exhibition and discussion were held. It was filled with young people who came there not just to enjoy the coffee or snacks but to do some serious stuff too. I saw a couple of groups engaging themselves in what looked like creative project discussions - one over a laptop and the other over some posters of some sort. Then I also saw quite a few 'loners' reading books and scribbling what looked like some serious academic notes.
Frankly speaking, I was surprised and pleased to see this. The scene reminded me of some American university towns that I have visited, where cafes were not only a place for relaxing and socializing but also a place where students would come together to read books and have some serious discussions about their academic projects.
Then it came down upon me that this cafe was located near ITB (Bandung Institute of Technology) and a couple of other university campuses. That might explain why many of its visitors are engaged in what looked like some academic activities.
That aside, I was once informed by some students of mine that there were actually quite a number of cafes in Bandung that are quite popular among the creative youth communities: musicians, bloggers, web designers, and photographers. I have yet to explore them. But this and a couple of other cafes that I have often visited convinced me that cafes in this city are the nursery of creativity. It is part of the engine that makes Bandung one of the most vibrant creative cities in Indonesia.
By the way, here are some of the children's photographic works exhibited at the cafe.