The Jakarta Post
ARTJOG captures the attention of art lovers and collectors to visit Yogyakarta. (JP/Stefanus Ajie)
There is something unusual at ARTJOG 2018 in Yogyakarta. The majority of visitors can be seen lining up to read the information about artworks instead of taking selfies, which usually happens at many art exhibitions.
Even when visitors do take selfies, they do it quickly, allowing the next person to enjoy the artwork.
ARTJOG CEO Heri Pemad said visitors to the event had indeed changed for the better. “Visitors who used to take selfies have now opted to read the information and ask questions about [the artworks]. [The number of] people signing up to artist and curator tours is also increasing,” Heri told kompas.com.
Heri said that at each ARTJOG event, the committee always monitored the visitors’ characteristics, and this change had happened since the fifth edition of the event in 2014.
The number of visitors increases when there is an artist or curator tour in the morning before the exhibition opens, as well as in the evening before closing. Moreover, visitors are beginning to appreciate the artworks to the point that they want to purchase them depending on their budget.
“Since 2009, we have been educating our visitors by making announcements at the entrance and [providing] attendants. We realize that Indonesian visitors are not like those in Europe, so using [information in] text is not enough,” Heri said, adding that the committee needed to continue providing such education as each visitor had a different background, such as age and birthplace.
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Moreover, location also affects the type of visitors coming to the event. From the first edition in 2008 until 2015, ARTJOG took place at Taman Budaya Yogyakarta cultural park, whereas starting from 2016 it was hosted in Jogja National Museum.
Heri said that at first the event's visitors were those who initially intended to hang out in the Malioboro or Tugu areas, and later decided to pay a short visit to Taman Budaya. But currently visitors to ARTJOG are people who actually want to enjoy the artworks.
Despite its popularity, ARTJOG does not aim to become a tourist destination in Yogyakarta. “We’ve promoted [ourselves] as an event in Yogyakarta, but not as a tourist or even photography destination. ARTJOG always focuses on the content and artworks' quality. We emphasize the art narrative as a measurement of artwork in Indonesia and a part of art development that represents the world,” Heri said.
The ticket prices, which were initially Rp 10,000 (less than US$1) and are now Rp 50,000, did not affect the visitors’ characteristics. “The crowd is somewhat the same,” Heri said.
Themed "Enlightment", this year’s ARTJOG is held for one month from May 4 to June 4. Other than artworks, the event also hosts artist and curator tours, workshops, music, as well as contemporary dance performances and a souvenir bazaar. (wir/kes)
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