Wesleyan University



"Islands" is a play that was created as a collaboration between Ron Jenkins, a team of guest artists from Indonesia, and Wesleyan students from India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, China and Japan. The play explores the legacy of colonialism that can be traced back to the 1667 Treaty of Breda in which the Dutch ceded control of Manhattan in exchange for the spice island of Rhun, now part of Indonesia's Banda archipelago. The actual text of the treaty is sung by the performers in a setting composed by Professor of Music, Neely Bruce in counterpoint to the original gamelan music composed for the play by Professor I. M. Harjito. The play dramatizes the significant role that Indonesia's islands have played in the history of the global economy and reveals the connections that existed between Indonesia and the U.S. even before they achieved independence from their colonial rulers. The project was made possible by the support of the Asian Cultural Council, The Davis Education Fund via Wesleyan's Center for Pedagogical Innovation, The Mellon Foundation via Wesleyan's Creative Campus Initiative, Wesleyan's Center for Global Studies Program, Wesleyan's Writing Certificate, Wesleyan's Office of Equity and Inclusion, and the ARMA Museum, (R)eintuten GMbH, and the Indonesian Consulate in New York where the play was presented after its Wesleyan Premiere and before its appearance at the Mandara Mahalango Festival in Indonesia.

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