Standing out in black and white and a surge of vivid hues is Madame Teresa Rozkiewichz-Bobiash, donning a neutral-toned blouse and slacks while animatedly expounding the concept behind her brightly-coloured artwork. The spouse of Indonesia's Canadian ambassador is an art enthusiast and an abstract artist. Yet, more than a diversion, art has served as a means to conncet with her surroundings when mere words fail to capture the full emotions.
Housed in Jakarta's Galeri Hadiprana, her most recent exhibition, titled "My Jakarta," illustrates the insightful artist's view of the bustling city: a metropolitan unlike any other she has seen, "I've never been in a place where skyscrapers and traditional villages exist side by side," she exclaims, "It's an interesting dynamic and it makes a compelling contrast." Her mixed media artwork depicts the colourful landscape of Jakarta's rustic villages and architecture. What first caught the painter's eye were the street food stalls, or colourful banners, "It is nothing I've ever seen before. I started takin pictures of the 'warungs' and eventually, it led me to create art with elements that are quintessentially Indonesian," she excitedly articulates.
Her abstract work is an amalgamation of vibrant colours and unique shapes, inspired by the city's vitality and unique personality. Inspired by a map of Jakarta she happened to encounter while exploring her neighbourhood, Made Teresa's artwork mirrors similar brightly coloured cartographic clusters illustrating different quarters of the city. There is something alive in her depiction of the distinctive regions and landmarks of the city. The Monas national monument, the old town, the markets and the Chinese quarters all take on a singular vibrancy, with a three-dimensional quality reflected by the use of thin Japanese gold leaf sheets and copper metal coins from Ghana incorporated into the artwork. Swathed in red, bright yellow, vivid green and dep blue, the colours convey the energy of the capital city, while its abstract shapes invite the viewers to interpret the artwork from points of view that could only be personal and intimate.
The standout pieces of the exhibiton are works titled "Peaceful Coexistence," a depiction of how religions influence the social landmark of the country, and "My Jakarta 2," displayed in the front and centre of the gallery. The latter, greeting visitors upon entering the space, potrays the kaleidoscopic diversity of Jakarta, with mosques, cathedrals, skyscrapers, villages, and Chinese quarters placed side by side. The artwork expresses the artist's view of the city as a collection of fascinating contrasts that make up the whole of an intriguing metropolis.
Translating her views of her surrounding through art, Madame Teresa believes that art possesses the ability to provide an insightful glance to an environment, "If you want to know a place, a city, or a country, you should look at its art," she expresses, "My work is an interpretation of my new surroundings and circumstances. They are my visual memories." Her work reflect her singular point of view, with a clear message and a personality of their own. Yet, like many artists, she admits to having a difficult time in the initial stages of conceiving an idea and being inspired, " That is the hard part, isn't it? Coming up with a concept," she asks rhetorically. While conceiving an idea might be a chellenging process for the astute artist, the following step is one that provides excitement and anticipation, "Often, an idea will take on a life of its own," she explains, "I started with taking pictures of 'warungs' for my own amusement. Then, it evolved into an exhibition about Jakarta. You never know where an idea will take you, but you have to follow it."