The Jakarta Post
"Aji & Setan Jalanan", an artwork displayed by comic studio and community Akademi Samali at Popcon Asia 2016 at JCC Senayan in Central Jakarta on Friday. (JP/Masajeng Rahmiasri)
Indonesian comic artists have been invited to join one of the largest comic festivals in Europe next year.
The decision was made after noting the diversity of Indonesian comics, said Angouleme International Comics Festival Asia content coordinator and N2 The Emerging Side news agency founder Nicolas Fiinet.
Fiinet told The Jakarta Post that he hoped the selected artists would be able to present the archipelago's unique characteristics and diversity in genre.
“There's a distinct Indonesian identity in its comics that I don’t find in comics from any other countries. For example, in the Gundala comics by Hasmi: He is not Superman, [rather] he is Gundala, who has characteristics and super powers that are really only available in Indonesia,” he said during the opening of the three-day Popcon Asia 2016 in Central Jakarta on Friday, adding that he expected to have the list of selected artists by next week.
(Read also: 'Peanuts' production house to join Popcon Asia)
Fiinet visited Indonesia and met around 30-40 artists during last year's Popcon Asia in Jakarta, and through workshops in Bandung in West Java, Yogyakarta and Surabaya in East Java.
Discussions regarding Indonesia’s participation at the Angouleme festival have been ongoing for several years.
Popcon Asia initiator and Fiinet's main liaison with Indonesian artists, Grace Kusnadi, said that Indonesia had been planning to participate in the Angouleme festival since 2013, but talks had run aground on financial reasons including expenses for display tools and accommodation.
“Even if we only brought around 10 artists to Angouleme, the costs would be very high,” she said, adding that the committee was currently discussing the matter with with the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) and the Culture and Education Ministry.
(Read also: Popcon Asia lights up city with creative talent)
“This is a good opportunity for Indonesia to expand its comic artwork market to Europe. Why limit ourselves to the local market?” Grace said when asked why Indonesia should participate in the French festival. “Up until now, there's only one Indonesian comic translated into another language, namely the work of Bandung-based comic artist Tita Larasati,” she added, referring to Curhat Tita: Back in Bandung, for which licensing rights were bought in France last year.
The Angouleme International Comics Festival is an annual event held every January since 1973. At least 275 exhibition participants, 7,700 professionals, 2000 comic artists and 879 journalists from France and outside the country reportedly participate in the event.
The festival features Asian artists’ works in a 300-square-meter Asia Pavilion, featuring artists from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan. (kes)
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