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Female artists, art biennial to grace National Gallery this year

Josa Lukman

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, January 10, 2019  /  09:42 am
Female artists, art biennial to grace National Gallery this year

Splash: Prelude II (2015) by Kinez Riza, one of 21 female artists that will be featured in the Into The Future exhibition from Feb. 26 to Mar. 16. (The Jakarta Post/Seto Wardhana)

Indonesia’s arts scene is by no means lacking, yet most of its big names are men, with notable female artists largely unexplored.

An upcoming art exhibition at the National Gallery in Central Jakarta, titled Into the Future, aims to change that.

Slated to run from Feb. 26 to March 16, Into the Future will showcase the recent works of Restu Ratnaningtyas, Kinez Riza and 19 other female artists.

Initiated by author, art critic and curator Carla Bianpoen, the exhibition is based on Carla’s book Indonesian Women: Into the Future, which will be launched on the opening day of the exhibition.

Carla told The Jakarta Post that the artists she selected are mostly under the age of 40, as she considers them to be “the signifiers of today and the coming era”.

“By selecting 20 artists under the age of 40 and one who is slightly over 40, I would like to bring to the fore the awesome creativity of young women artists who create powerful contemporary works,” Carla said.

Into The Future is one of 14 exhibitions that the National Gallery will hold this year. Highlights include POST–IRONY, a solo exhibition of rising contemporary artist Pramuhendra in March, and Posisi (Position) by Yogyakarta-based artist Ugo Untoro.

The National Gallery will also present selected artworks by established and rising artists in the highly anticipated biannual event Nusantara Art Exhibition in April.

Take a peek: A Heaven's Tale by Pramuhendra, who will hold his solo exhibition, POST-IRONY, at the National Gallery from March 22 to April 7.Take a peek: A Heaven's Tale by Pramuhendra, who will hold his solo exhibition, POST-IRONY, at the National Gallery from March 22 to April 7. (The Jakarta Post/Ganug Nugroho Adi)

The gallery will interestingly also provides space for the works of Andra Matin, one of the most sought-after architects in the country. Andra will celebrate his 20 years in architecture with the 20 Tahun Andramatin (20 Years of Andramatin) exhibition in November.

Curiously, the State Palace exhibition is notably absent from the gallery’s schedule, despite drawing massive numbers of visitors in the last three consecutive years. 

“We have sent a request to the Palace, but they haven’t provided us with confirmation,” explained National Gallery head Pustanto. “So, we didn’t include [the exhibit] in our schedule.”

The month-long 2018 State Palace exhibition, Indonesia Semangat Dunia (Indonesia, the World Spirit), was the National Gallery’s most popular show of the year, drawing 36,570 visitors — a significant chunk of the 274,523 visitors the gallery last year.

“It should be noted that the number reflects only the recorded visitors, as many people come in without signing our guestbook and just to take pictures in our hallways or in front of the murals,” Pustanto said.

The exhibit showcased 45 works from such legendary Indonesian painters as Raden Saleh and Basoeki Abdullah, as well as foreign artists such as Japan’s Shinsui Ito and Gustavo Montoya from Mexico.

Artistic rendition: A sketch by Daniel Nugraha, a participant of the Kamisketsa sketching program at the National Gallery. Artistic rendition: A sketch by Daniel Nugraha, a participant of the Kamisketsa sketching program at the National Gallery. (Courtesy of the National Gallery /-)

Despite its absence, Pustanto is optimistic that the public would also appreciate other exhibitions, such as Festival Seni Rupa Anak Indonesia (Children’s Art Festival) in July, Pameran Seni Rupa Koleksi Nasional (National Art Collection Exhibition) in August, and Festival Sketsa (Sketch Festival) in September.

The Sketch Festival is expected to showcase a number of sketches produced by the participants of KamiSketsa, a weekly, free-of-charge sketching program at the National Gallery. The program boasts an active community comprising professionals and amateurs alike.

“What I’m most pleased about with the sketching community is their spirit of togetherness. There’s no gap between the newcomers and more senior members, and that’s the kind of community we are fostering,” Pustanto said.

National Gallery's exhibition highlights in 2019National Gallery's exhibition highlights in 2019 (JP/File)

At the end of 2018, the National Gallery started revamping its interior and displays of its permanent exhibition in Gallery 1 and 2. The permanent exhibition showcases artworks that represent the development of Indonesia’s contemporary and modern arts scene, from the Raden Saleh era in the 1800s until today.

Last year, the gallery acquired 20 artworks from eight artists, including painter Dyan Anggraini and ceramic artist Noor Sudiyati, to add to its permanent collection. Eighteen were acquired through purchases and two were donated by the artists.