The Jakarta Post
Melody: Tulus performs at Artjog on Monday night, which marked the close of the month-long festival in Yogyakarta. (JP/Tarko Sudiarno)
The chanting of a Javanese Kidung song and the sharing of a tumpeng (cone-shaped yellow rice with side dishes) marked the official closing of the 11thARTJOG at the Jogja National Museum (JNM) in Yogyakarta on Monday evening.
Javanese musician Pardiman Djojonegoro sang the Kidung, accompanied by traditional gamelan music and followed by the cutting of the tumpeng by ARTJOG director and founder Heri Pemad, who served the first slice to this year’s commissioned artist Mulyana.
“By expressing gratitude and saying alhamdulillah (all praises to Allah), I officially close ARTJOG 2018,” Heri Pemad told an enthusiastic audience of more than 6,000 people that crowded the area around the stage where the closing ceremony was held.
The evening became even merrier with the presence of renowned singer Tulus, who presented seven songs for the occasion, including his latest hit “Langit Abu-Abu” (Grey Sky).
“I am really happy to be here tonight, as I always am, whenever I come to Jogja,” said the singer to the ecstatic crowd.
His presence was even more meaningful that night, because he collaborated with one of this year’s ARTJOG participating artists, Davi Linggar, on the latter’s work “Yang Juga Mendengar” (The One who Listens) for the month-long event.
Separately, Heri Pemad expressed satisfaction with the smooth organization of ARTJOG this year and its relative success in promoting other sectors, including performing arts and music, thanks to a stage prepared for that purpose.
“Everything ran pretty much as we had expected,” said Pemad, adding that ARTJOG was widely known as an art event that was accessible to all social groups, especially young people.
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He said the presence of young visitors at the event was important, because they were the future appreciators and collectors of artworks. By coming to ARTJOG, he said, they were “forced” to pass by all the exhibited works, thus requiring them to sharpen their sensitivity to enjoy and learn from the artists, who were also young people.
Pemad also encouraged more young artists to join the exhibition.
“Never be afraid of competing with senior artists, because they are there also through a selection process,” Pemad said.
Pemad was confident that this year’s artworks in ARTJOG already represented the development of fine arts in the country. He also pledged to come up with a much better ARTJOG next year, slated for July 25 to Aug. 25, 2019.
ARTJOG’s curator Bambang “Toko” Witjaksono concurred, saying that, overall, this year’s event was satisfying from the curatorial aspect, except for one or two artists that had failed to properly interpret the theme of the exhibition in their works. This year’s theme is “Enlightenment: Towards Various Futures”.
To deal with this issue in the future, his team would try to contact the prospective artists as early as possible, thus giving them more time to communicate more intensively on their works and on how they will be displayed at ARTJOG.
For the curation of next year’s event, Bambang said, his team had been considering at least three possible themes. First, the politically-charged year of 2019, as the country is to have presidential and legislative elections simultaneously. Second, something related to the history of the nation. And third is the issue of environmental development.
“For the display purposes, we will stick to the same concept as this year, namely one room for one artist,” he said.
Next year, visitors can expect to see more supporting events in the form of artist talks and night tours.
Bambang was proud to say that ARTJOG had helped promote more than 100 other art events happening mostly in Yogyakarta and in the neighboring town of Magelang, Central Java.
“With ARTJOG as the central magnet, we believe this really works to help them lure more visitors,” Bambang said.
Some 1,500 to 2,000 visitors came to ARTJOG every day for the whole month.
Salsabila Ramadhani, a visitor, said her fellow students at Gadjah Mada University hailing from different regions had already heard about ARTJOG before they had come to Yogyakarta.
“I am proud to be a resident of Yogyakarta, realizing how rich this city is with art events like this,” she said.