Jakarta Biennale 2017 just kicked off recently, and this event continues to be a landmark event in the art calendar and attracts an increasingly national and international audience. There are a lot of exhibitions and installations in this exhibition from Indonesia and around the world appearing in various places, such as Gudang Sarinah Ekosistem, Museum Sejarah Jakarta, and Museum Seni Rupa dan Keramik.
The Jakarta Biennale 2017 itself is a contemporary art exhibition that showcases artworks and artists from Indonesia and various parts of the world, which was started way back in 1974 by the Jakarta Arts Council to display paintings by Indonesian artists. However, international artists started to join in the event as well since 2009, and the types of artworks became more diverse.
"Jiwa" is the main theme of this year’s event, which is produced by Melati Suryodarmo as Artistic Director. The event has been in full swing since November 4, and will continue until December 10. Below we have listed four highlights from the highly anticipated event.
This year, the Jakarta Biennale 2017 features some 51 artists from 18 countries. From Europe, there are artists from the Czech Republic, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the UK, Poland, Switzerland and Germany. There are also artists coming from The Americas, namely Argentina and Mexico. Two artists from Africa also make an appearance this year. The rest of the artists are from various Asian countries such as the Philippines, India, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and, of course, Indonesia. The event is supported by various ministries, international institutions and embassies, such as Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, the Goethe Institute and the British Council. You can check out a complete list of artist’s names and origins here as well as supporting organisations at Jakarta Biennale Official Site.
This year’s special main theme, "Jiwa" (which means ‘soul’), originate from artist Melati Suryodarmo who acts as this year’s Artistic Director. The concept is to give the audience the opportunity to experience the soul of art by exploring the life stories of those influential figures who have been contributing to Indonesian art in recent history. Being familiar with art history is important to understand the sentiment of ’jiwa’ in modern art practice. ‘Jiwa’ can also relate to the concept of belief systems in the past. The death of ancient belief systems also leads to the slow death of ‘jiwa’. These days, outdated belief systems are sometimes used by politicians who are trying to protect their own interests and it often cause past traditions or beliefs to convey a negative image in people’s minds. The appearance of "soul" in all kinds of shapes will give audience the chance to reflect on thoughts that will challenge the limits of their perspectives. It is a long journey of exploration, experimentation and fluctuations of one’s conscience that one has to experience to seek ‘jiwa’ in the works one creates.
3. A Soulful Art Forum
The third highlight of the event is the art symposium entitled "Jiwa Symposium", which is a forum to allow discussions related to jiwa between philosophers, experts and artists. There are several presentations, aside from discussions in order to raise important questions and conduct analysis on the concept of ‘jiwa’. The two days forum will have two sessions each day, with topics ranging from indigenous beliefs, to iconoclasm to discussion topics such as “Previewing Oneself as Part of the Change”, and “Beyond Exotic Beauty-The Body as Medium in Political Statement”.
4. Creative Competition
This year’s Jakarta Biennale will also have a vlog and blog competition open for public to join. Incorporated in the competition is the realisation of the importance of technology in all aspects of our lives right now. Creating this sort of competition will also encourage more participation and involvement from the public while also increasing awareness on the event as well. After all, people should be encouraged to be more creative and be armed with the knowledge to promote the diverse and rich heritage of Indonesia to promote our country to the outside world. Both the vlog and blog competition will have no time limits so participants are free to create and explore all kinds of creativity without worrying about time constraints. The complete terms and conditions for the vlog and blog competition can be accessed here.