A bronze statue of Barack Obama as a young child was unveiled on Thursday at Taman Menteng in Central Jakarta, the neighborhood where the US President spent part of his childhood.
The statue was expected to be an inspiration for all Indonesian children, Central Jakarta Mayor Sylviana Murni said.
“Who knows, there could be another child from this country who can be a world leader,” Sylviana said.
Ron Mullers, the chairman of the Friends of Obama Foundation, echoed her sentiments, saying that the unveiling of the statue was not a political event but purely inspirational.
“That is why it [the statue] is not Obama as a president, but as a child instead, so this can be an inspiration for Indonesian children,” Mullers said.
The process of designing the statue and selecting a suitable location began more than a year ago, while the molding took three months. The 110 cm young Obama statue cost more than Rp 100 million ($10,600) to build.
Sylviana said that the Central Jakarta administration was not involved in the funding. The costs were met by ten local donors.
A short e-mail message sent from Obama’s half sister, Maya Soetoro Ng, who lives in Washington DC, was read during the ceremony.
In her message, Maya said that the statue brought back the memories of their family’s years in Indonesia. The statue, she said, was a reminder of the power of exposing children to different perspectives.