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HIGHLIGHT on Art Exhibition: In Indonesia the month of April is a time to honor Kartini, one of Indonesia’s national heroes. Born on April 21, 1879 into an aristocratic Javanese family, Kartini resisted the social norms of the 19th century that restricted the opportunities granted to women. She was born into an aristocratic Javanese family, and known as a prominent Indonesian national Java. A pioneer in education for girls and women’s rights for Indonesians. The pictures profile above is one of the artist, Ines Katamso among of her unique paintings.
A champion for gender equality, in particular in the area of education, her legacy lives on today. While she is widely known through her writings such as Letters of a Javanese Princess (originally published as HabisGelapTerbitlahTerang, 1911), which document her communication with two close female friends in the Netherlands, Indonesia’s past is also marked by the efforts and courage of many other women.
In the contemporary art world, be it in Indonesia or elsewhere, female artists’ unique voices contribute to a realm of creative production in which they remain a minority. Yet, rather than dwelling on this aspect of women’s experiences (i.e. their constant marginalization and perceived struggle), this exhibition seeks to instead highlight the power, diversity and “light” delivered by female artists active in the Indonesian art scene. Drawing on the Indonesian title of Kartini’s well-known collection of letters (HabisGelapTerbitlahTerang)in which she expresses her aspirations for Indonesia’s future, the artists presented as part of TETAP TERANG / ALWAYS BRIGHTrepresent a small selection of Indonesia’s now global and ‘expanded’ art world, where ‘expanded’ refers to the fluid nature of each artist’s mobile identity.
The six artists participating in the exhibition include: Arahmaiani, Sally Smart, Sinta Tantra, Natisa Jones, Natasha Lubis and Ines Katamso. Representing multiple generations, various aesthetic perspectives and national identities, the experience and subsequent work of each artist is a personal visualization of what it means to be a woman, an artist and a global citizen. For instance, Sinta Tantra, originally Balinese, has spent the majority of her life in the United Kingdom. Ines Katamso who is French-Indonesian has only recently returned to Indonesia to pursue her career in art and design, whereas Australian Sally Smart, with her studio based in Yogyakarta, has become part of the city’s art crowd.
The title, TETAP TERANG loosely translated as “Always Bright”, alludes to the invaluable contribution of such artists and the necessity to explore in greater depth what it means for each to be part of Indonesia’s art world. Finally, the presentation of these artists’ work, read both individually and collectively, raises questions regarding the nature of representation and the means by which female voices, from the written words of Kartini to the visual language of contemporary art, influence our understanding of how women have expressed themselves over time.
This event was held at Ambiente, an interior furniture showroom with a lifestyle concept, where the displayed high-end design furniture and accessories will complement the artworks.
Recognized as one of Indonesia’s most influential and respected contemporary artists, Arahmaiani is known internationally since the 80s for her powerful and provocative commentaries on social, political and cultural issues. Born in 1961 in Bandung, Indonesia, she has established herself as a pioneer in the field of performance art in Southeast Asia, although her practice incorporates a wide variety of media. Picture right shows Arahmaiani with her paintings as the background.
Always supported by a strong theoretical background and true to her combative spirit, her art has shifted from criticism to activism. Moving between Indonesia, Tibet, Germany and India, her most recent research explores the natural environment and spirituality. For the past six years, she has in particular focused her work on the environmental issues in the Tibetan plateau region, where she has been collaborating with Buddhist monks and villagers to increase environmental consciousness through ongoing community projects.
About Sally Smart
Born in 1960 in Quorn in South Australia, Sally Smart is one of Australia’s most significant contemporary artists, widely known for her large-scale collage installations exploring a surreal and fantastic world. She uses a variety of media, including painted canvas, screen-printing, felt cut-outs, printed fabric, photography and drawings. She currently divides her time between Melbourne, Australia and Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Working also increasingly with performance and video, her art engages identity politics, the home, history and ideas related to the body. Her themes often intertwine with the ways women are and have been represented in history and literature. Established as one of Australia’s leading feminist artists, Smart has won numerous awards and prizes, and is currently a Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne. She received an Australia Council Fellowship in 2014 and was a Sackler Fellow Artist-in Residence at the University of Connecticut, USA, in 2012. Her work can be found in leading private and corporate art collections, including major state galleries in Australia and abroad.
About Sinta Tantra
A British artist of Balinese descent, Sinta Tantra was born in New York in 1979. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London in 1999–2003 and at the Royal Academy Schools in London between 2004–2006. Drawing strongly upon a vibrant palette influenced by her Balinese heritage, Tantra began her career producing pieces composed of intricately cut vinyl and painted designs, often featuring symmetry and exotic motifs in her artworks.
Highly regarded for her site-specific murals and installations in the public space, most of her work envisions the concept of drawing and color. While color encourages us to become immersed into a world of otherness, drawing explores the slippage between the two and three dimensions – the clarity of line, its distortion, the push and pull.
Tantra’s pieces examine the activity of drawing itself, physically linking the disciplines of painting together with architecture on a single canvas. Colored motifs collapse and float – pictorial spaces move towards and away from the viewer. Tantra asks the question, can painting become architecture? Can architecture become a painting? For Tantra, there is no question that “art feeds our minds, our souls and affirms identity. To support the arts is to support the very essence of what makes us human.”
One of her most notable works includes a permanent 300-metre long painted bridge commissioned for the 2012 Olympics in Canary Wharf, London.
About Ines Katamso
Half French, half Indonesian, Ines Katamso calls herself an ‘’anakcampur’’, a mixed nationality kid, who likes to play with this duality and combination in both her personality and creative expression. Her studies in art and design as well as fashion have helped her immensely in finding a balance between the two cultures, and in expressing it in her own unique way.
For Katamso, painting directly on the surface of the wall is a simple yet interesting way to conquer the space. Similar to a flowing narration, it adds something to the architect’s original creation. Unlike paintings on canvas, wall art has no limits, no framework, and it can grow anywhere. The artwork spreads and seduces the viewer with its meaning, colors and lines. Wall art has to be part of the architecture and the peculiarities of the overall environment are taken into account; a crack on the wall, a column to be decorated with the colors of a palm tree in the garden or the reflection of a nearby river.
Interior design and architecture in particular are close to her heart, since she works as a muralist since 2012 under the name Atelier Ines. k.
About Natasha Lubis
Born in Jakarta in 1989, Natasha Lubis is an Indonesian artist and a Goldsmiths College (University of London) graduate with a Master degree in Fine Art. She has held solo exhibitions and participated in a series of group shows in London and in Melbourne, Australia, where she also obtained her Bachelor in Fine Art diploma from Monash University. Picture left is Natasha Lubis with her paintings as the background.
Lubis’ well-characterized approach combines traditional painting mediums with images she sources in the media representing female desire in our contemporary society. In her works, she questions how this desire is portrayed through the lens of pop culture and the male gaze. Elements of fantasy and phantasmagoria form an integral part of her visual language, as she aspires to preserve notions of romanticism and chance for the fantastical within her work.
Many of the fundamental elements which have inspired her since the beginning of her artistic journey can be found in popular and alternative youth cultures.
About Natisa Jones
Born in Jakarta, Natisa Jones is a painter currently sharing her time between Bali and Amsterdam. Her focus has always been in the field of fine art and she completed her visual art studies in Chiang Mai in Thailand, before obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts Painting at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. Inquiring into the human condition through the concept of ‘process’, her works explore themes around identity. Her pieces range from small prints and works on paper to large-scale canvases. She uses mixed media such as collage, ink, graphite and acrylic paint. Below is Natisa Jones art painting.
Through the method of documentation and experimentation, Jones’ practice has become a platform where she can confront her own inner dialogue: “Drawing, painting, writing or whatever the medium is, has always been my way of documenting the things around me and my way of attempting to understand things better by processing it through creating. It’s a space and outlet where I can say something however I want in whatever form I choose and I can’t be wrong. I can be disliked, but not wrong.”
Often incorporating text into image, Jones pulls narratives from daily life, exploring issues within identity and reflecting on ideas of the ‘self ‘. “Making and creating has been part of my being since I was two years old. It is my way of understanding and genuinely reflecting. The idea of supporting oneself with something that you naturally need for self-development is a very weird concept to me”, she explains.
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About ISA Art Advisory
ISA Art Advisory is a Jakarta-based art consultancy offering a full range of services for corporate and individual clients. Our objective is to increase the public awareness and highlight the benefits of bringing art out of museums and galleries into public spaces. ISA Art Advisory provides art consultation services from strategy and planning, to procurement, installation and insurance. With expertise in both international and Southeast Asian art, and a passion for Indonesian modern and contemporary art, we assist our clients in starting or developing their collections and incorporating art in all aspects of their life, whether at home or in the office.
Since 2009 presenting high quality of interior products that use selection of materials and the use of detailed craftmanship technique. Exhibited in lifestyle concept. Ambiente carries diverse beauty of deisgn styles, from a modern minimalist style, semi classic to contemporary model.
It portrays three line up of collections: living and home appliances, from the leading brands, which are Poltrona Frau, Cassina, Porada, and MODENA. They create work of design in collaboration with internationally recognized architects and designers, includes PhillipeStarck, PieroLissoni, Jean Marie Massaud, VicoMagistretti, Frank Lloyd Wright, and many more. Some of the designs and productions are sited prestigious spaces from the Walt Disney Concert Hall to the high end automotive interior such Maserati and Ferrari.