View of Jakarta City Skyline
Image courtesy of Rizky Maharani
This week, The Artling explores Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia and the most populous city in Southeast Asia. Over the last decade, Jakarta has grown into an important arts destination in Asia, for both its modern and contemporary arts sphere. The past few years has seen a significant rise in galleries and collectors from around the world making trips to the Indonesian islands, particularly to its major art hotspots: Jakarta and Yogyakarta. The country’s rich cultural history merged with its complex socio-politics has created one of the most diversified and vibrant art scenes in the region. Producing some of the most important modern masters and exceptional contemporary artists of our time, it is clear why the capital city of Jakarta has attracted numerous art-lovers and appealed to so many creatives.
View of Art Jakarta 2019 Fair
Image courtesy of Art Jakarta
The impact of COVID-19 on the art industry over the last few months cannot be understated. Since early March, the art world has seen a domino effect of event cancellations, causing a great level of disruption and uncertainty for the rest of the 2020 art calendar. In Indonesia it was announced that, Art Jakarta, one of the most significant art fairs on the Southeast Asian art agenda, was cancelled and will only resume next year in the summer of 2021. Another younger fair, Art Moments Jakarta, which was planning it’s second edition for April 2020 was also postponed, with rescheduled dates still yet to be released.
Performance View of 'Kleidungsaffe', 2006, at 'Melati Suryodarmo: Why Let the Chicken Run?' Exhibition
Image courtesy of Museum MACAN
With large-scale social restrictions set in place (PSBB) by the government in Jakarta till 22 May, several museums and galleries have been closed temporarily as a result. The public have been encouraged to visit art institutions virtually instead. Joining the #MuseumFromHome movement, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (Museum MACAN) located in West Jakarta has gone digital, with two virtual exhibitions on show till 31 May 2020. These shows include Melati Suryodarmo: Why Let the Chicken Run? and Julian Rosefeldt: Manifesto. #MuseumFromHome is something much more than simply showcasing exhibitions and artworks online, the museum has also been creating weekly online audio guides, online workshops, and Q&A sessions with artist Melati Suryodarmo for the public to enjoy free of charge.
Additionally, Museum MACAN has set up an important initiative to support artists affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For three consecutive months, they will hold an Arisan Karya (artwork raffle), which will allow art lovers to purchase an undisclosed artwork at a flat rate of Rp 1 million (USD $69). The raffle initiative, which will take place across May, June and July, aims to help artists in the community who are living paycheck to paycheck, and struggling from the repercussions of the virus. The first raffle is set to take place from 18 – 28 May.
Performance View of 'Sweet Dreams Sweet', 2013, at 'Melati Suryodarmo: Why Let the Chicken Run?' Exhibition
Image courtesy of Museum MACAN
According to the Education and Culture Ministry’s Cultural Directorate General in Indonesia, more than 37,000 workers in the arts and culture industry are in need of some form of financial support. For artists that earn less than Rp 10 million per month, there are two schemes that individuals can apply for depending on their marital status. For those who are married, they can apply for benefits under the Keluarga Harapan (Family Hope) programme, whilst those who are single can apply for the preemployment card programme. These programmes were initially created to expand and teach new skills to artists and creatives in the workforce. However, the Indonesian Arts Coalition (KSI) argued that such programmes place a great burden on artists, especially during the time of a pandemic, as it does not incentivise individuals to apply. They hope that local administrations in Indonesia will help art workers in other ways, particularly in supporting them with living and food expenses.
In the face of adversity, there have been many positives in the Indonesian art community despite the current circumstances. We have certainly seen the art world come together to lift each other up and give a helping hand. Through the countless COVID-19 relief initiatives and fundraisers that have been set up globally, as well as the large-scale digitisation of art collections, fairs and exhibitions, it is astonishing to see the level of support galleries, arts institutions, auction houses, and artists are giving each other during this tumultuous period.
Indonesian artist Restu Taufik Akbar graduated from the Faculty of Art and Design, from the prestigious Institute of Technology, Bandung, where he majored in Painting. Restu’s painting style is colourful and vibrant, and deeply inspired by his natural surroundings. His concern with space is profoundly evident in his work, with his abstract landscape pieces attaining a somewhat sculptural effect. The spritely colour palette in which he adopts is instantly striking and mesmerising.
Based in Jakarta, Yon Beni is a photographer who is primarily interested in capturing images in a melancholic, sentimentalist, and poetic mood. Although he graduated in Engineering Informatics at Bina Nusantara University, he decided to pursue his passion and interest in photography professionally in Jakarta after his studies.
Currently living and working in Yogyakarta, Fika Ria Santika graduated from Padang State University, Indonesia in 2010. She was a winner of Mural Design Contest at National Gallery of Indonesia in 2014 and is currently represented by Gajah Gallery.
Despite drawing creative stimulus from organic forms, Fika approaches her artistic practice with technological materials such as resin, acrylic, pigment, digital print, and LED lights. Her installations command presence with their luminous surfaces and sensuously colourful shapes. Upon closer look, one realises her immaculate technique of repeating small cylindrical forms which reminisces the natural subjects such as filaments or plant stalks. With these pieces emanating a fluid personality, Fika then gracefully combines the natural and unnatural, creating a series of works that harmonise seemingly disjunct aspects of the world.
Joni Ramlan is an Indonesian artist who creates artworks unbounded by genre. Represented by Yùn Artified Community Art Center, His paintings, which tend to be monochromatic are largely concerned with material and aesthetic elements of texture and colour. In Hometown Ramlan was inspired by his childhood and the fun as well as happy time he experienced in his hometown of East Java.
Tripti Narula received a BA in Interior and Spatial Design from Chelsea College of Art and Design, London in 2014. After working for a few years in commercial and residential design, Tripti then founded Mosscraft Designs in 2019, dedicating her passion to working with traditional craftsmen in Indonesia and crafting artisanal decoration pieces.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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