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West Irian Liberation Monument or Irian Jaya Liberation Monument (Indonesian Monumen Patung Pembebasan Irian Jaya) is a postwar modernist monument located in Jakarta, Indonesia. It is located in the center of Lapangan Banteng (formerly Waterloo Square) in Sawah Besar. Sukarno, then President of Indonesia, commissioned the monument in 1963 following the West New Guinea dispute in which Indonesia received the territory of Western New Guinea from the Netherlands.

West Irian Liberation Monument
Native name
Indonesian: Monumen Pembebasan Irian Barat
Surroundings of the West Irian Liberation Monument.jpg
LocationSawah Besar, Jakarta, Indonesia
Coordinates6°10′13″S 106°50′06″E / 6.170298°S 106.834925°E / -6.170298; 106.834925Coordinates: 6°10′13″S 106°50′06″E / 6.170298°S 106.834925°E / -6.170298; 106.834925
ArchitectFrits Silaban
SculptorEdhi Sunarso



The West Irian Liberation Monument is located in the center of Lapangan Banteng, facing west towards the St. Ursula Catholic School across the road from the park. The park itself was formerly known as the Waterloo Plein, a parade ground of the colonial administration.[1]

On top of the monument, visible as a 36-meter high pedestal, stands a bronze,[2] bare chested wild-haired man breaking free from his shackles with his arms and legs widely spread, the former facing towards the sky.[3] The face holds a loud, screaming expression, symbolizing rebellion and independence.[4]


In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Netherlands still possessed the western part of New Guinea, which it had agreed to discuss a year after the Round Table Conference. Following failed negotiations and the incorporation of the region into Netherlands, Sukarno decided to adopt a more forceful stance, later escalating into military operations such as Operation Trikora.[5] After the New York Agreement in 1962, the Netherlands agreed to hand over the territory to Indonesia.

The statue was officially commemorated on 17 August 1963, at the 18th independence day of the country and a year after it began construction. As of today, the monument is under the responsibility of Jakarta's parks services.[2]


The statue of the West Irian Liberation Monument has been commissioned earlier in 1962 before the actual annexation of West Irian into Indonesia. The design of the monument was based on a sketch by the artist Henk Ngantung who was also the deputy governor of Jakarta from 1964-1965. The design of the monument shows a muscular man, shouting, with arms outstretched breaking free of the chains of colonialism. It is said that the inspiration of the statue came from a speech by Sukarno in Yogyakarta, in which he declared that he will "liberate West Irian by any means necessary".[6] The bronze statue is about 11 metres (36 ft) tall from feet to the tip of its outstretched fingers. The statue stands over a 20 metres (66 ft) tall pedestal in postwar modernist style. The 36 metres (118 ft) high tugu (statue and pedestal) was erected at the center of Lapangan Banteng.

The bronze statue was sculpted by Team Pematung Keluarga Area Yogyakarta (Yogyakarta Area Family of Sculptors Team) which was led by Edhi Sunarso. Edhi Sunarso also executed the Selamat Datang Monument and the Dirgantara Monument in Jakarta.[7][8] Silaban acted as the architect for the project.[9][1][2]

The location of the West Irian Liberation Monument was supposed to be the first monument seen by people visiting Jakarta through the Kemayoran Airport.[10]

See alsoEdit

Other statues constructed by Edhi Sunarso in the 1960s:


  1. ^ a b Nas, Peter J.M. (1993). Urban symbolism. Leiden u.a.: Brill. ISBN 9789004098558.
  2. ^ a b c "Monumen Pembebasan Irian Jaya" (in Indonesian). Jakarta Government. Archived from the original on November 8, 2017. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  3. ^ Kusno, Abidin (2014). Behind the Postcolonial: Architecture, Urban Space and Political Cultures in Indonesia. Routledge. p. 64. ISBN 9781136365096.
  4. ^ Bapak Bangsa Sukarno (in Indonesian). Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia. 2010. ISBN 9789799102669. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  5. ^ Kahin, Audrey; Kahin, George McTurnan (1997). Subversion as Foreign Policy: The Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia. University of Washington Press. ISBN 9780295976181. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  6. ^ "NASKAH PIDATO: Membebaskan Irian Barat dengan segala jalan: Pidato Presiden Sukarno pada Akademi Pembangunan Nasional di Yogyakarta, 18 Maret 1962" (in Indonesian). Indonesian National Library. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  7. ^ "Pembebasan Irian Jaya, Monumen". Ensiklopedi Jakarta. Dinas Komunikasi, Informatika dan Kehumasan Pemprov DKI Jakarta. 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  8. ^ Merrillees 2015, p. 127.
  9. ^ Lecrec 1993, p. 49.
  10. ^ Merrillees 2015, p. 126.

Cited worksEdit