Filled with energy, zest, and determination, the young-at-heart Mien R. Uno has a life goal to educate the Indonesian public about the beauty of Indonesia and how rich in resources, creativity, and culture the country actually is. Armed with this passion, Mien also strives to inspire women not only in Indonesia but also all over the world through her work. Her ninth book, Perhiasanku, is one such example.
“Through my personal collection of jewellery, and with all the travelling I’ve done around Indonesia and the world, I decided to produce a book that would educate the public on the beauty of Indonesian artisanal jewellery art,” explains Mien.
According to the lovely lady, most women are very conventional when it comes to jewellery: “To many of us, jewellery equals diamonds, which is certainly not true.” Jewellery, she says, can be anything from shells to a chunky gold neckpiece from 200 years ago. She is an avid collector and has always had a passion for helping women feel and look beautiful even when adorned with the simplest of items.
With her strong personality and the aura she possesses, Mien is a woman who prefers to be known as someone out-of-the-ordinary. She dislikes following trends and is known to be a trendsetter instead. “When I know something is ‘in style’, I choose to move in the opposite direction. That has always been me and will always be me,” she says.
The items in Mien’s collection aren’t always purchased from the exclusive art and jewellery centres and markets she visits. She takes inspiration from what she sees around her and then works with local craftsmen to create original and authentic pieces. She goes on to add that the places she chooses to visit are never commercialised.
“When I receive compliments about the items I wear or perhaps the clothes I’ve got on, I always make it a point, to be honest about where I made them or bought them from. It gives me great happiness to know that I’ve made an impact, and it makes me feel extremely special—and as women, we all deserve to feel special,” says Mien, with a twinkle in her eyes.
When it comes to Perhiasanku, Mien shares with us that the aim was never to boast or gloat about the pieces she owns, which date back to the 1960s, but is more about showing Indonesians the beauty of their country and to show women that all of them are capable of achieving their dreams. “As long as one combines passion with pleasure, there is always room to move forward in life,” she says.
Moving on from her current book, Mien has plans of creating a 10th book in the future with the support of her family. Together with her son, Vice-Governor of Jakarta Sandiaga Uno, Mien has also built foundations such as the Mien R. Uno Foundation and Yayasan Inovasi Teknologi Indonesia, which focus on bringing out the creativity of underprivileged craftsmen and small enterprises that have the skill and determination to keep creating.
“This way, we will then be able to build a strong foundation to aid in the country’s future economic situation, along with helping people achieve their dreams and make a living from them,” she concludes.