Category Archives: Indonesian Women Artist

TANDA SERU! exhibition in Bali makes a bold artistic statement

Members of the public engage with paintings by Citra Sasmita during the opening of "Tanda Seru" at Uma Seminyak - Image courtesy of FutuwonderAudience members engage with paintings “Portrait of the Other, #1 & #2” by Citra Sasmita during the opening of Tanda Seru!

 

In 2017 a meeting of young Balinese women from various creative backgrounds, yet with similar visions, set out to create a cross-disciplinary platform to support and encourage women’s art activities and visual discourse. Their driving motivating question: ‘Why aren’t there many established women artists in Bali?’ The gathering set the foundations for a new art collective – Futuwonder.

In July 2018, Futuwonder announced its arrival on the Indonesian art scene by conducting a Wikilatih workshop (Wikipedia article writing) and uploading onto the World Wide Web eighteen new articles on female artists from Bali. Puan Empu Seni: Edit-a-thon was a part of a national drive, held in conjunction with Wikimedia Indonesia, to increase the amount of data on Indonesian female artists available on the Internet’s most go-to source of information – Wikipedia.

Leading Indonesian contemporary artist Arahmaiani and Tanda Seru artists during the exhibition opening at Uma Seminyak 31 March 2019 - Image courtesy FutuwonderLeading Indonesian contemporary artist Arahmaiani with Tanda Seru! artists during the opening of the exhibition at Uma Seminyak

 

Following on from their first exhibition, Masa Subur: Efek Samping, held late last year in Ubud, Futuwonder presents Tanda Seru! (Exclamation Mark) open for two weeks from 31 March at the Uma Seminyak, Bali. Officiated by Indonesia’s most prominent woman contemporary artist, Arahmaiani, and showcasing a diverse array of contemporary works by eight-woman artists, the exhibition commemorates International Woman’s Day 2019, 8 March, and Kartini Day on 21 April. Also referred to as Women’s Emancipation Day, established in 1964 by Indonesia’s founding President, Sukarno, Kartini Day is a national holiday celebrating the life of Raden Ajeng Kartini (1879-1904), Indonesia’s first feminist activist.

“Bali is a very patriarchial society with few women being represented in the art scene, especially in the museums and galleries,” said Ruth Onduko, one of the founding members of Futuwonder, along with emerging artist Citra Sasmita and graphic designer Ni Putu Sridiniari. “We intentionally invited talented young women to exhibit in Tanda Seru! especially those who make art but do not label themselves as artists,” Ruth explains. “Due to the narrow scope of today’s contemporary art world women are marginalized and few get the opportunity to exhibit their work within the fine art gallery system as their work may not follow current market trends, or may lack the necessary commercial elements.”

"Res Publica - Security Mirror for Genitalia, 2019, Ni Putu Sridiniari. Image by Richard Horstman         Res Publica: Security Mirrors for Genitalia, 2019 – Ni Putu Sridiniari

 

“Through Tanda Seru! we examine and question issues related to gender, patriarchy and sexuality – making statements about the female body, woman’s roles, and our capabilities as equals with men,” Ruth said. “We chose the exhibition title to emphasize the importance of these issues, while showing the art world (especially in Bali), that there is a lot of highly skilled female artists that are worthy to be considered as part of the larger art world.”

Dan Bunga Berkata (And the Flower Speaks) is inspired by Aria Gita Indira’s investigations into data released by Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS Statistics Indonesia) in 2017, that reveals 1 in 3 Indonesian women aged between 15 – 64 have experienced violence and, or sexual violence in their lives. Indira presents three small ‘still life’ compositions of flower arrangements on black backgrounds, some of the flowers, however, are embroidered in cotton. The cotton ‘patches’ are metaphors, symbolic icons for all the female victims of domestic violence. Journalists often use the names of flowers when referring to domestic violence survivors in their reports.

"Dan Bunga Berkata" by Aria Gita Indira Image Richard HorstmanDan Bunga Berkata (And the Flower Speaks), 2019 – Aria Gita Indira

 

Crude, yet confrontational The World Between Her Legs, 2019 and Are We There Yet by Santi Permana features women’s underwear attached to brightly colored canvases. Statements to encourage strength and enthusiasm, such as: ‘forced prostitution’, ‘sexual harassment’, ‘girls are strong’ and ‘empowered women’ complete the compositions. Questioning the patriarchal reconstruction of the body of a woman who is menstruating, worshipping, in the work place, and in marriage, Happy to Bleed #1,2&3 by Cristine Mandasari presents circular compositions with restrictive statements written upon sanitary napkins. The artist poses the question, ‘With all the restrictions, can women actualize themselves as human beings who are free and equal to men?’

Communicating about the objectification of women, layers of transparent acrylic sheets frame a collage of digital images featuring mannequins, flowers and hands in the eye-catching Mannekin, 2019, by Intan Kirana Sari (b. 1999, Denpasar, Bali). Delicate brightly colored pieces of paper are arranged into collage on a blue background in Male Reproductive System, 2019 by Irene Febry. Febry imagines what the human reproductive system may look like if it was found within the body of a man.

"Mannequin", 2019 Intan Kirana Sari - Image by Richard Horstman                               Mannekin, 2019  – Intan Kirana Sari  

 

Citra Sasmita is renowned for her descriptive paintings depicting the exploration of the female body through the suffering and pain of the wounds inflicted upon them. Portrait of the Other, #1 & #2 contrasts and balances tragedy with an unusual sense of beauty, creating strong and distinct compositions. Few Balinese artists express themselves through the medium of printmaking, Sealing the Body and Tutur Tinular by Ni Luh Pangestu Widya Sari (b. Denpasar, Bali 1991) are a departure in artistic techniques and aesthetics from the other works in the show, adding to the overall strength of Tanda Seru!

 A pair of long, silver legs protrude from a square mirror, centrally positioned between the legs another mirror, round and convex. Upon inspection of Res Publica: Security Mirrors for Genitalia, by Ni Putu Sridiniari, the observer immediately comes face-to-face with their own image. The highlight of Tanda Seru! the work is both engaging and confronting, provoking thoughts, experiences and reflections upon gender identity.

"Happy to Bleed #1,2&3" by Cristine Mandasari - Image Richard Horstman                    Happy to Bleed #1,2&3, 2019  – Cristine Mandasari

 

“People are obsessed with private matters and sexuality. The law and the public, however, control women’s freedoms and perpetuate gender inequality,” said Sridiniari, a freelance graphic designer, who rarely publically exhibits her work. “I believe contemporary art is important to negotiate politics and socio-cultural issues – discourses that highlight personal narratives and cultural identity in a larger context: the family, community and the state.”

“I’ve always wanted to work with mirrors and body parts to create an installation, so I decided to work with legs for Res Publica, because everybody is curious about sexuality, especially in this case with the direct reference to the female genitals,” she explained. “In Res Publica, the female genitalia is a treasure, yet remains a hidden mystery, that is watched by the public eye.”

"Male Reproductive System" by Irene Febry Image by Richard Horstman                     Male Reproductive System, 2019 – Irene Febry

 

Tutur Tinular, 2015 Ni Luh Pangestu Widya Sari - Image by Richard Horstman    Sealing the Body and Tutur Tinular, 2019 – Ni Luh Pangestu Widya Sari

 

 

Tanda Seru!

Open 31 March – 13 April

Uma Seminyak,

Jalan Kayi Cendana 1.

Oberoi, Seminyak, Bali

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Richard Horstman & Futuwonder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bali art world personalities: meet Ruth Onduko

Ruth Onduko_Profile Photo                                                   Ruth Onduko

 

The 2008 GFC (global final crisis) spelt disaster for the Bali art world. The Indonesian art market after a record boom went to bust with collector’s buying immediately slowing, galleries around the island closed, while others wound down their activities. The woes continued with a decrease in tourism and smaller holiday budgets – luxury items such as artworks were off the shopping list.

Now, a decade on, the organic response by local artists, art communities and creatives is defining a new era of art infrastructure that is positively impacting upon the Bali art scene. Artist driven initiatives, alternatives spaces, foundations, creative hubs and cafes, along with new art and creative events – the art landscape is increasingly dynamic, exciting and inspiring. Behind these developments is a diverse group of people from different backgrounds shaping new horizons for Bali – one of these dedicated characters is Ruth Onduko.

Ruth Onduko along with members of Futuwonder and the public conducting a Wikilatih workshop (Wikipedia article writing) and uploading eighteen new articles on female artists from Bali. Puan Empu Seni: Edit-a-thon was a part of a national drive, held in conjunction with Wikimedia Indonesia, to increase the amount of data on Indonesian female artists available on the Internet’s most go-to source of information – Wikipedia.

Ruth Onduko hosting the opening of Futuwonder's most recent exhibition "Tanda Seru" March 2019 at Uma SeminyakRuth Onduko hosting the opening of Futuwonder’s most recent exhibition “Tanda Seru” open 31 March 2019 at Uma Seminyak

 

The most experienced and connected art manager on Bali, Ruth represents the new frontier of female art workers, including artists, writers and managers who are the essential ‘small army’ within the rising infrastructure. Born in Semarang, Central Java in 1983, a graduate in Communications Studies from the Gadjah Mada University, Yogjakarta in 2008 Ruth moved to Bali where she began her career as the Public Relations Officer and art event organizer at the Museum Kartun Indonesia, Bali in Kuta. Her next position as gallery manager at the Tony Raka Art Gallery in Ubud introduced her to the Indonesian contemporary art world, were she oversaw operations until 2012.

Ruth went on to project manage art collectives, art and photography communities and event managed “Merayakan Murni / Celebrating Murni”, the landmark collaborative initiative in 2016 by Ketemu Project Space, highlighting the legacy of late, iconic Balinese female artist I GAK Murniashi.

Puan Empu Seni, wikilatih 1.0 in collaboration with Wikimedia indonesia and Futuwonder, we held a workshop on how to make an entry to wikipedia, focusing on data entry of balinese female artists (1)Ruth Onduko along with members of Futuwonder and the public conducting a Wikilatih workshop (Wikipedia article writing) and uploading eighteen new articles on female artists from Bali. Puan Empu Seni: Edit-a-thon was a part of a national drive, held in conjunction with Wikimedia Indonesia, to increase the amount of data on Indonesian female artists available on the Internet’s most go-to source of information – Wikipedia.

 

Instrumental in the development of four important, recent projects that are helping to fill critical gaps within the infrastructure, and that will aid in the future sustainability of the Bali art ecosystem, Ruth has played vital roles in the creation of the annual world-class contemporary art exhibition Art Bali, the design themed event Seminyak Design Week, Futuwonder a collective supporting the women artists of Bali, and her pet social media project – a centralized portal of information promoting events throughout the island – “Senidibali” on Instagram.

“In 2016 I was about to participate in a group photo exhibition in Denpasar and was thinking of the best way to promote this event. At the same time a friend was asking me to help to promote her first exhibition,” Ruth explained. “Other artists, spaces, and communities also needed a platform as so many of them were already sending me their event information and asking me to share it out. Instagram is the easiest, and most accessible tool to engage with a wider audience, so I started @Senidibali, along with its supporting website. I understood the potential to help the community, and especially the art community by sharing what’s happening in the Bali art world.”

Puan Empu Seni, wikilatih 1.0 in collaboration with Wikimedia indonesia and Futuwonder, we held a workshop on how to make an entry to wikipedia, focusing on data entry of balinese female artists (2)Ruth Onduko addressing participants during Puan Empu Seni: Edit-a-thon at Rumah Sanur

 

“Seminyak is the trendsetters capital of Bali, one of the go to locations for foreign and local tourists, especially the millennials,” Ruth stated when revealing the origins of Seminyak Design Week. “Design consciousness is ever present within the architecture, the logo and brand design, and venue interiors – much of this awareness is created by communities of talented local designers. The Indonesian design industry has huge potential to contribute to the burgeoning creative economy. With this in mind, we wanted to showcase the creators who make designs for better communities.”

“I was employed by Uma Seminyak, a performance and event venue in Seminyak, as community manager in February 2018. Working together with the Uma’s team after 3 months of preparation we held the first Seminyak Design Week in May 2018,” she said. The event showcased 39 guest speakers, sixty crafters, designers, and architects participating with other creative spaces throughout Seminyak and Denpasar in design related events. Seminyak Design Week 2019 is slated for August.

55910093_365679750704060_8443468403250823168_oRuth Onduko addressing the audience and artists during the opening of “Tanda Seru”

 

“Bali has many artists, but lacks professionals in the field of art management and event organization. It also requires a specific venue for large-scale events,” Ruth said. “The rapid development of IT and the web is the foundation for enormous growth and opportunity, as more and more collaboration amongst the art workers with expertise continues.”

“It has always been one of my dreams to help create a large scale contemporary art event in Bali. In early 2017 I was asked to join the Art Bali team,” Ruth said. “It has been a great opportunity for me to work and learn directly from Indonesia’s leading art management group HPAM.” (Heri Pemad Art Management of Yogyakarta, responsible for the countries most unique contemporary art event ArtJog).

OPENING PAMERAN EFEK SAMPING DI KARJA ART SPACE, 20 OKT 2018_FUTUWONDER (2)The audience during the opening of the first Futuwonder exhibition “Masa Subur: Efek Samping” at Karja Art Space, Ubud, October 2018

 

A passionate photographer, Ruth Onduko’s excellent array of images can be viewed at:

www.flickr.com/photos/theonduko/

https://theonduko.weebly.com/

Instagram @senidibali

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Ruth Onduko

Balinese artists the highlight of “Selematan Masa Depan” – an exhibition of emerging Indonesian artists in Bali

Art works by Budi Agung Kuswara - Image courtesy of Heri Pemad Bali Balinese Baroque (Discovery Toward Invention), 2018 & Time After Time (Discovery Toward Invention), 2018 by Budi Agung Kuswara

 

Presenting works by some of the finest emerging Indonesian contemporary artists over a one month period, Selematan Masa Depan (A Celebration of the Future) closed 15 January 2019 at the AB•BC Building, Bali Collection Nusa Dua, Bali.

Curators Rifky Effendy and Ignatia Nilu selected forty-seven artists from Bandung (10 artists), Yogyakarta (17) and Bali (20) who contributed a diverse array of seventy-four works in 2 and 3-dimensional forms – sketches, paintings, prints, sculptures, installations, video art and new media art. In the follow-up to the Art • Bali ‘Beyond the Myths’, the exhibition highlighted some of the talent that is currently pushing the boundaries of Indonesian contemporary art.

ART01157Exhibition view of Selematan Masa Depan (A Celebration of the Future) at the AB•BC Building, Bali Collection Nusa Dua, Bali.

 

While such exhibitions that display the contemporary artistic talent from Bali side-by-side with their counterparts from throughout Indonesia may be seen in Java, in Bali these occasions are, unfortunately, too infrequent. Importantly, this allows opportunities for young local artists, students and creatives, who have Internet connectivity and can access the ‘larger art world’, yet may not have the chances to travel outside of Bali, to personally observe some the developments and future direction of the national scene.

Opened by Bali’s new governor Wayan Koster 15 December 2018, Selematan Masa Depan is the second of a series of regular events at the AB•BC Building, which will help to define the location as one of the island’s foremost contemporary art venues, while becoming a new art and creative destination within the ITDC Nusa Dua tourism precinct. The Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) Nusa Dua is a designated location with tourism facilities and many of the island’s largest five-star resorts.

Sketches by Satya Cipta - images courtesy of the artist.                           Chinese ink sketches on paper  by Satya Cipta

 

“Balinese artists contributed some of the strongest works in the exhibition,” said well-known art critic Jean Couteau. “Especially Satya Cipta, Citra Sasmita and Budi Agung Kuswara.”

In Balinese Baroque (Discovery Toward Invention) 2018 and Time After Time (Discovery Toward Invention) 2018 by Budi Agung Kuswara, the artist experiments with the cyanotype technique, a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print onto the paper with sunlight, along with archive photos and cultural items to produce aesthetically unique, and beautiful images.

“His works are highlighted by innovative visual framing, kind of pop art, yet visually refreshing and intellectually articulated around the memory theme,” said Couteau. Budi represents the vanguard of emerging contemporary artists in Bali today.

CITRA SASMITA - METAMORPHOSIS(The Flowers of Carnage) 2018 Acrylic and Oil on Canvas, Image courtesy of the artist          Metamorphosis (The Flowers of Carnage) 2018, by Citra Sasmita

 

Satya Cipta, who has recently captured the attention of the Balinese art world with her premiere solo exhibition A Budding Talent at Ubud’s Puri Lukisan Museum late 2018, presents four beautifully balanced Chinese ink sketches on paper. Drawing is the basic fundamental of Balinese traditional art, and her combination of drawing techniques with modern gender political themes are an exciting, recent development on the Bali art scene. “Satya’s wild exploration of a woman’s demand for control over her own body is formulated in a revamped, imaginative post-traditional line style similar to Gusti Lempad,” said Couteau.

Metamorphosis (The Flowers of Carnage) 2018, by Citra Sasmita, in her characteristic style of minimal iconography, also ‘speaks’ of gender politics, while communicating through an array of symbols. “In my new painting I adopt nature and nurturing symbols such as stone, cactus, a knife and scissors, a placenta and cloth with gold rose patterns,” Citra said. “I want to visualize to the current generation that they should be aware of, and protect their roots and traditions, for the benefit of the next generation. The future will mean nothing if the next generation do not have any idea about their past and history, and also the philosophies.”

ART01117Exhibition view of Selematan Masa Depan (A Celebration of the Future) at the AB•BC Building, Bali Collection Nusa Dua, Bali.

 

“Citra’s painting is a highlight because she explores and denounces macho vocabulary, and for her feminist statement,” Couteau said.

Selamatan Masa Depan enjoyed increased attendance numbers than the Art • Bali 2018 event because of the tourist high season, and more international and domestic visitors and locals visiting the venue,” said Army Firmansyah, one of the board members of Art • Bali and the AB•BC Building, part of the Heri Pemad Art Management Bali Team.

“Located in the Bali Collection shopping area many visitors see the sculptors and installations outside of the AB•BC Building, become curious and come in. Attendance numbers are important to us because the ticketed entry has to support our event operation costs.”

Putu Wirantawan - "Dimensi Dualitas" - pencil bollpoint on paper (115x141 cm) 2018Putu Wirantawan -Dimensi Dualitas, 2018 – pencil bollpoint on paper by Balinese artist Putu Wirantawan

 

“The idea of contemporary art and creative events as a tourism attraction is new to this area and while foreign tourists are happy to pay entry fees, we have to help change the mind-set and behaviour of domestic visitors to go alternative ticketed cultural events, rather than recreational venues and movies, for example.”

“The management of the AB•BC Building have many challenges to engage with in building the brand of this multifaceted creative space – inclusive within the Bekraf (Agency for Creative Economy Indonesia) vision for the development of the Indonesian creative economy that includes cuisine, design, architecture, and art themed events.”

“As for up coming events in 2019, we are now in progress of preparing 3 shows (including ART • BALI 2019 in October) which will be produced by HPAM. Those shows are in addition to one art exhibition that we are still in discussions with the organizer” he adds.

ART01246Exhibition view of Selematan Masa Depan (A Celebration of the Future) at the AB•BC Building, Bali Collection Nusa Dua, Bali.

 

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Words: Richard Horstman

Images courtesy: Heri Pemad Art Management Bali Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Satya Cipta – the rise of a unique female Balinese talent

Satya Cipta "Fragrance" 2018, chinese ink & kencu on paper Image Richard Horstman                                  Fragrance, 2018 – Satya Cipta                       

 

A beautiful, naked woman with long flowing hair sits legs raised, feet positioned above her head. In her left hand she is holding a red lotus flower concealing her groin. “Fragrance” an intimate, yet daring sketch by Balinese artist Satya Cipta ‘speaks’ of the feminine physical, and worldly splendour, and according to the artist, a woman’s desire to be perceived as one of nature’s most beautiful gifts.

“Broken Vulva”, on the other hand, is in stark contrast. It illustrates a woman ripping open her vagina, while a symbol of red fire is cited between her legs. This is a depiction of violence.

Satya Cipta "Broken Vulva" 2018 chinese ink & kencu on paper                                  Broken Vulva, 2018 – Satya Cipta

 

Explicit images of the body are in no way considered by the Balinese as vulgar or pornographic, they are essential teachings about the mysteries of human life and its origins. While male sexuality is openly explored in Balinese art, few artists are willing to expose female sexuality – the violence and suffering – as Satya has done.

In “A Budding Talent”, which closed 16 November 2018 at Ubud’s Puri Lukisan emerging artist Satya Cipta, in her first solo exhibition reveals the pleasure and pain, and the horror and beauty that are constant realities for the women of the Balinese culture.

In her semiotic works she juxtaposes themes such as resentment, marriage without love, adultery and rape with fertility, intimacy, solitude and passionate love. And while it is the complexity of her compositions, enhanced by the distinct power of her lines that reveal the aesthetic beauty of her works, like a poison pen the line is contrasted with wildly imaginative narratives. Some are not for the faint-hearted – they convey what is considered taboo within Balinese art.

Satya Cipta "The Offering" 2017 chinese ink, water color, acrylic and gold on canvas Image Richard Horstman                              The Offering, 2018 – Satya Cipta                          

 

An outsider within her own culture Satya’s situation is unlike many Balinese. Born in Lombok she came to Bali at a young age, then later moved to South Sumatra and resided with her family in a small minority Balinese group within an Islamic and Christian dominated environment. She went on to study theatre and performance in Jakarta before returning to Bali. Living outside of Bali, as well as in the nation’s capital gifted her an open and modern worldview.

“Before, when I was living in Sumatra and Jakarta I was proud to be Balinese and loved to participate in the ceremonies and rituals. When I returned to Bali I found things were much different,” Satya said. “I witnessed how people engaged in their religion within the temples showing respect to the gods and goddesses. When they returned home, however, they could not respect the real women in their lives – their mothers, sisters and wives.” She continued, “I discovered the domestic violence, and that women are trapped within their roles and cannot live their lives how they wish.”

Satya Cipta at the Puri Lukisan Museum Image R. Horstman                                    Satya Cipta at Museum Puri Lukisan                                                  

 

Destined to create controversy in this fiercely patriarchal society Satya is willing to courageously speak her mind. “I paint my pain,” she stated. “Yet this represents not only myself, but many other women throughout the world. I want people to understand about the position of the woman’s life within the Balinese society. Maybe it is forbidden – but I have to say it.”

“Change is slowly happening,” she admits. “The most difficult thing is to introduce the change. The first women to do so endure much criticism, then the others can more easily follow on.” Through Satya’s works we may witness a new era and that Balinese women too, are prepared to stand up in protest.

Satya Cipta "Darmi" 2018 Chinese ink & Kencu on canvas. Image R. Horstman                                          Darmi, 2018 – Satya Cipta

 

Her criticisms, however, are not only directed at men. In “Emptiness”, 2018 Satya depicts the scenario of a woman who marries into a family yet disrespects her mother-in-law. “Many women also forget their parents at home and wait for them to die so they can inherit the family’s land. She looks so beautiful, yet she is empty.”

A self-taught artist from the age of fourteen a decade later Satya began learning the renowned Batuan painting traditions. From there she kept pushing forward eager to improve and not to become stuck within the traditional mind-set. Two years ago she began studying under Ketut Budiana, recognized as one of the greatest living Balinese artists. “I am stepping into the next phase of my creative journey, and there is much to learn,” Satya said.

Satya Cipta "Spirit" 2018 chinese ink on hot pressed paper. Image R. Horstman                                     Spirit, 2018 – Satya Cipta

 

Holding her first solo exhibition at Puri Lukisan Museum, Ubud’s oldest and most important art museum, grants the artist immediate endorsement from the highest levels of the Balinese art establishment. Satya, however, remains humble. Offers have come from a leading regional gallery, but Satya choses to reject them, remembering that its her process that is essential and only when she believes she is ready will she focus on the international stage.

A wonderful and abundant source of creativity, she is also gifted actor, performer and singer. We eagerly await Satya Cipta’s next artistic offerings.

Satya Cipta "Disgusted" 2017 Chinese ink & acrylic on canvas                                   Disgusted, 2018 – Satya Cipta

 

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

 

 

 

#Perempuan: an exhibition by emerging Indonesian contemporary artists a highlight during Mapping Melbourne 2018

#Perempuan exhibition view at Space 28 Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) MelbournePhoto by Richard Horstman #Perempuan exhibition view at Space 28 Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) Melbourne

 

Yaya Sung’s thought-provoking investigation into the murder of seven Indonesian army generals during the 1965 coup that overthrew President Sukarno’s reign during the 30 September Movement (G30S), “The Future (Lies)” 2018, was recently displayed in Melbourne, Australia. It was one of nine contemporary artworks presented in #Perempuan, a group exhibition by female and male emerging Indonesian artists at Space 28, the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), Southbank, open 5-14 December, 2018.

Exhibited along side Sung’s seven screen video installation of seven naked male models with make-up representing the general’s fatal stab and gun shot wounds according to the official autopsy reports was the artists book, with translations, detailing her extensive museum-like archival research.

"The Future (Lies)" 2018 Yaya Sung, Image courtesy Santy Saptari       “The Future (Lies)” 2018 – Yaya Sung  Image courtesy of Santy Saptari

 

The narrative released by the New Order Regime under the incoming Suharto’s government claimed that the generals’ deaths were the responsibility of the underground 1950’s Indonesian women’s rights organization Gerwani. The fabrication stated they were sadistically tortured and their bodies sexually mutilated culminating in their deaths, thus leading to Gerwani’s reputation as ‘violent, deviant and crazed’ women. Suharto deliberately discredited Gerwani due to its association with the PKI, (the Indonesian communist party) while advocating women should take up supporting roles out of public life and traditional maternal roles.

With the increasing rise of moral conservatism in Indonesia artist’s rights to freedom of speech are increasingly being encroached. Exhibitions, and public sculptures have come under attack, being either forced to close, or works dismantled, due to what is deemed as offensive themes and content. Two elements of Sung’s insightful artwork make it too sensitive to be shown in Indonesia, yet suitable for an international audience in Melbourne – content featuring nudity, and the examination of the events related to the 30 September Movement.

"One is a million" 2018 Ruth Marbun. Image R.Horstman                         “One is a million” – Ruth Marbun

 

Stories concerning subjects from the present and past were granted new life for contemplation and dialogue in the first international Indonesian contemporary art exhibition that focused on issues relating to Indonesian women. Sponsored by Project 11, as part of Multicultural Arts Victoria’s Asian contemporary arts festival Mapping Melbourne 2018, #Perempuan explored topics relating to politics; social, cultural and gender identity politics; values and traditions and the changing roles of Indonesian women.

The works presented by Java based artists Arum Dayu, Erwin Windu Pranata, Meliantha Muliawan, Octora, Patricia Untario, Puri Fidhini & Etza Meisyara, Ruth Marbun, Tandia Bambang Permadi, along with Sung involved issues that are rarely openly discussed in public within Indonesia. “Very few exhibitions have been held within Indonesia that focus solely upon women’s issues,” said #Perempuan curator, Santy Saptari, who was born and raised in Jakarta, and now lives and works in Melbourne.

"You can see but you can't touch! 2017 Erwin Windu Pranata Image R. Horstman         “You can see but you can’t touch!”, 2017 – Erwin Windu Pranata

 

“Traditional lives are very orchestrated in Indonesia,” stated Saptari, and continued, “During the process of organizing this exhibition Konfir and I (Konfir Kabo of Project 11) realized that one of the major challenges facing female Indonesian artists is their capacity for career continuity. Many women sacrifice their art for family commitments, getting married, and putting the male first. We wanted to give women artists an opportunity to talk about issues that matter to them.”

Yogyakarta artist Arum Dayu’s invitation to her parents to examine with her the challenges of being unmarried within the format of her artwork proved for the artist a unique experience. Kapan nikah? (When are you going to get married?), 2018 featured Dayu photographed with potential husbands, and her parents, all dressed in traditional attire. The focal image included an edited recording of her discussions with her parents, revealing them to be understanding and supportive of her culturally frowned upon position – a young woman without a husband.

"Kapan nikah? (When are you going to get married?)", 2018 Arum Dayu Image by Richard Horstman “Kapan nikah? (When are you going to get married?)”, 2018  –  Arum Dayu

 

A large assemblage of layered fabric sculptures and watercolour works on paper in pink and blood-red flesh tones reveals disfigured faces and body parts – with eyes that eerily peer out at the audience. One is a million, 2018 by Bandung artist Ruth Marbun was a captivating installation with theatrical elements examining the female human experience. Marbun finds beauty in the adversity, and that women achieve so much through sacrifice and dedication, without receiving recognition.

Raised by his parents to play the role of the eldest daughter of the family and caretaker of the parents when elderly, Tandia Bambang Permadi’s photograph installation After-sex selfies, 2018, fascinated, while highlighting some of the complexities of Javanese culture. Permadi’s probe into his dual male/female life roles and self-identity culminated into ‘female selfie images of conquest’ taken by his numerous sexual partners. His naked photo series revealed his renegotiation of gender roles.

"Silence" 2018 Patricia Untario Image by Richard Horstman                                    “Silence”, 2018 – Patricia Untario

 

Two-hundred and twenty individually distinct, phallic objects hand-made from blown glass positioned in line along a 15 meter wall with special lighting made for a unique aesthetic experience. Silence, 2018 is Patricia Untario’s statement about the absence sex education available to young Indonesian woman. This work too is also too controversial to be exhibited in the artist’s country of birth.

“Because of the complex meeting of traditional and modern values Indonesian women have to continually fight to achieve sovereign rights that many women in other parts of the world now take for granted.” Saptari stated, “Its important for us to share these voices and unheard stories so outsiders can appreciate the many cultural complications facing Indonesian women.

20181210_162731                  “Post Beauty”, 2018 – Puri Fidhini & Etza Meisyara

 

“I believe the 21st century is excellent time to be a woman,” she continued. “There is so much rapid change going on, with advances in technology and the Internet.”   “I was surprised and encouraged by the quality of the work in this exhibition, especially by the very young women artists who proved they are both critical, and very adept in navigating their way around in this modern era.”

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images courtesy: Santy Saptari & Richard Horstman

empowering Balinese woman artists – FUTUWONDER

 

participants in the "puan empu seni edit-athon" at rumah sanurMembers of Futuwonder and volunteer participants in the “Puan Empu Seni Edit-athon” at Rumah Sanur

 

During 2018 a small, yet enthusiastic gathering of volunteers set out to make a very significant contribution to Balinese art. “Puan Empu Seni: Edit-a-thon”, was conducted 7 July in Bali within a fun and learning environment at Rumah Sanur-Creative Hub. It was a part of a national drive to increase the amount of information on Indonesian female artists to be found on the Internet’s most go-to source of information – Wikipedia.

The landscape of information and knowledge about Indonesian art on the Wikipedia Indonesia Page is far from comprehensive and is not reliable as a valid source of knowledge. Profile entries of Indonesian painters and sculptors total forty-six, of which only three entries are profiles of female artists. Inspired by a similar event held in March this year by IVAA (Indonesian Visual Art Archives) in Yogyakarta, the “Puan Empu Seni: Edit-a-thon” (women who master arts) event was the premiere event held by Futuwonder, a new Bali woman’s art collective, in collaboration with Wikimedia Indonesia.

volunteers, futuwonder members and wiki pedia indonesia at work on laptops during the edit-athonMembers of Futuwonder and volunteer participants at work during the “Puan Empu Seni Edit-athon

 

From the words future and wonder, Futuwonder is an interdisciplinary group of artists, curators, writers and designers from different fields dedicated to encouraging development of the arts through discourse and artistic activities, especially for women.

“Our goal through this Wikilatih (Wikipedia article writing) workshop was to discuss, and write together inserting valid information about Balinese female artists so it may be accessed by many people,” said Putu Sridinari, a visual designer born in Ubud who is one of the four woman team members of Futuwonder. “From this workshop, we contributed 18 new articles on female artists from Bali.”

“We hope the information gap about Balinese female artists can lessen so as to help in the positioning of women in the arts, while adding more knowledge to the Bali arts writings through a collective site such as Wikipedia,” Putu said.

citra sasmita - metamorphosis(the flowers of carnage) 2018 acrylic and oil on canvas, image courtesy of the artistMetamorphosis (The Flowers of Carnage) 2018 by Futuwonder member Citra Sasmita

 

Along with Putu Sridinari, Futuwonder consists of Ruth Onduko, one of the most experienced and respected art managers in Bali who has worked in artist and gallery management for more than ten years. One of Ruth’s recent projects includes the instagram-based Bali art and creative sector information platform Senidibali. Citra Sasmita, a Balinese-born self-taught artist who was one of the recipients of the Gold Award Winner in the 2017 UOB Indonesian Painting of the Year painting competition. Her paintings, installations and performances which have been presented throughout Indonesia and abroad embody issues regarding women’s cultural identity and position within a patriarchal culture, along with social and cultural realities, and

Savitri Sastrawan, a Balinese-born curator who has a master’s degree from Goldsmith University of London. She was one of the curaters of the 2016 landmark exhibition “Celebrating Murni”, a tribute exhibition for the iconic Balinese female artist IGAK Murniasih (1966-2006) who raised issues of sexuality and identity in her works.

44694816_300366523902050_2307222136097341440_oFutuwonder exhibition “Masa Subur: Efek Samping” at Karja Art Space, Ubud, Bali

 

“A meeting in 2017 of four young women from different backgrounds yet with similar visions determined to create a platform to support women’s art activities and encourage visual discourse inspired the beginnings of Futuwonder,” Putu said. “The driving question that motivates our initiative is: ‘Why are there not many established women artists in Bali?’”

Balinese society is very patriarchal and while the visual art world is dominated by men, there are, however many talented female Balinese artists who successfully complete their academic art training. Few, however, continue on to become successful artists or to make a career from the visual arts. In 1991 the Seniwati Gallery of Art by Women opened in Ubud in reaction to the invisibility of women artists in the galleries and museums in Bali. Founded by Mary Northmore, the gallery and art studio taught women and girls art and held exhibitions, competitions and helped to market their artwork. It closed in 2010 and the Seniwati Art Space continued on for a few years in Batubulan from December 2012.

44652780_300363373902365_1687779777752072192_oPerformance by Citra Sasmita and friend during the opening of “Masa Subur: Efek Samping”  20 October

 

Artist’s collectives have historically played an essential role in the development and representation of Balinese art. The first being the highly influential Pita Maha Artists Cooperative founded in Ubud in the 1930’s. Seniwati was instrumental in helping to launch the careers of well-known artists IGAK Murniashi and Ni Nyoman Sani, yet for the past 6 years, until the founding of Futuwonder, there has neither been a venue, or organization, that champions women artists in Bali.

Open from 20 October – 9 November at Karja Art Space, Penestanan, Ubud “Masa Subur: Efek Samping” – Futuwonder’s premiere exhibition showcases a selection of women artists from Bali. The participants have been selected through an open call method and the event includes a program focussing on issues surrounding women’s art and politics through writing, discussions, workshops and the recording of fine art databases by women. This inaugural exhibition will be the starting point of a sustainable movement, driven by female artists.

44794797_300367053901997_5091191517565943808_oParticipating artists and members of Futuwonder during the opening of “Masa Subur: Efek Samping” at Karja Art Space

43652063_300362650569104_3072101591847796736_oArt audience at the opening of “Masa Subur: Efek Samping” at Karja Art Space

 

https://futuwonder.wordpress.com/

https://www.instagram.com/futuwonder/

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Coutesy of Futuwonder