The Jakarta Post
"Gajah Bengkak" by Riki Sumardianto is now on display at the Mixed Feelings 03: FABEL' collective exhibition at the Senopati 79 Qubicle Center in Senopati, South Jakarta. (Atreyu Moniaga Project/File)
Five young illustrators under the Atreyu Moniaga Project, an initiative aimed at discovering, enriching and introducing new creative talents in illustration and photography, will have their artworks displayed at the Mixed Feelings 03: FABEL exhibition at the Senopati 79 Cubicle Center in Senopati, South Jakarta, from April 11 to 25.
Every featured painting tells the story of their respective creator’s past.
Riki Sumardianto, for instance, practiced the Indonesian phrase balas dengan karya (loosely translated as "answer with your work") as he turned his memories of being bullied as a child into an installation titled Celotehan Lampau (Past Conversation).
Inspired by American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and Indonesian artists Heri Dono and Naufal Abshar, it consists of 10 paintings, including Babi Aer (Water Pig), Anak Miskin (Poor Child), Anak Mami (Mama’s Boy), Klemar-Klemer (Slow) and Gajah Bengkak (Swollen Elephant).
The artists of Mixed Feelings 03: FABEL: (top row from left) Ray Lidya and Kevin Keev, as well as (bottom row, from left) Riki Sumardianto, Rasheeda Rahma and Tiarama. (Atreyu Moniaga Project/File)
“I used to have low self-esteem. My friends mostly mocked me during physical education class as my uniform was too tight. I felt furious and I was often absent from [PE class],” Riki said during a preview of the exhibition on Wednesday. “But regarding the past, we cannot hold a grudge for a long time. I thought it would be very unique to make a visual [medium] out of it.”
In Anak Mami and Klemar-Klemer, Riki illustrated the classmates who had ridiculed him.
“I wanted people to see that when those people mocked me, that's what they looked like,” Riki said.
For his forthcoming project, however, Riki said he would not be looking back.
“I want to dig deeper about who I am. It doesn’t necessarily mean a flashback, but I want to know what Riki Sumardianto is like,” he added.
Similar to Riki, Ray Lidya also chose power as the theme for her Wild Flower artwork collection. The five pieces were made using a Paper Theater concept, which consists of six layers and tea as their base to create a warm ambience.
“The inspiration came from my life, as I once lived far from my parents for several years,” Ray said. “I felt that what happened at the time made me closer to other people, and I experienced new things. At the beginning, I felt that I was happier when I was with my parents, but it turned out I could be happy with other people as well.
“So, I think it doesn’t matter what the situation is, if you think you’re happy, you can live happily.”
Wild Flower consists of Smudging Prayer, Love, Grandma, Special Chapter of Life and Thank You.
“I want to have artworks that I can show to people and I think Paper Theater is still new,” Ray said.
She also included installations that were made from paper and shaped like eceng gondok (water hyacinth).
“I want to explore wild flowers from across Indonesia. Water hyacinths can thrive in gutters and are still beautiful,” she said.
In "Kemarau Vakansi", Kevin Keev reminisces about his childhood. (Atreyu Moniaga Project/File)
Other artists not to be missed are 17 year-old Tiarama with Odro (beauty), who displayed her talent by illustrating outfits made by celebrated Indonesian designers; medical student Rasheeda Rahma with her Mixed Feelings collection dedicated to the people who have helped her through her ups and downs; and university student Kevin Keev, who reminisced about his childhood with Kemarau Vakansi (Dry Season Vacancy).
"Mixed Feelings" by Rasheeda Rahma includes illustrations and a mural. It is now on display at the Mixed Feelings 03: FABEL collective exhibition in the Senopati 79 Qubicle Center, South Jakarta. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)
Established in 2014 with Mixed Feelings 00, the Atreyu Moniaga Project is a non-profit photography and illustration incubation project founded by illustrator-cum-photographer-cum-lecturer Atreyu Moniaga.
"Rinaldy Yunardi" by Tiarama is now on display at the Mixed Feelings 03: FABEL collective exhibition in the Senopati 79 Qubicle Center, South Jakarta. (Atreyu Moniaga Project/File)
“I think it’s my call,” Atreyu said during the exhibition. “The project is about shaping a character, [with which] they learn to face hurt feelings, face people who say ‘no’, express the right attitude when things are bad and when to keep trusting your friend when the friendship is wavering. I always say that a good illustration is mandatory, but it would be complete if you are a trustworthy artist.”
During the project’s incubation process, which took a year prior to the collective exhibition, the participating artists also learned about public speaking, writing, portfolio reviews and public relations. (wng)