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Bid from home: Indonesian artists band together to fight pandemic

Josa Lukman

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, May 16, 2020  /  12:18 pm
Bid from home: Indonesian artists band together to fight pandemic

Good cause: Sidharta Auctioneer’s latest charity auction is to be held through its Instagram account until May 17, with the proceeds going to the NGO Save the Children. (Courtesy of Instagram/

The pandemic has brought Indonesia’s arts scene together to fight the good fight, one artwork at a time.

Several initiatives have emerged to lend a helping hand to support healthcare workers and at-risk communities as well as artists struggling with the loss of opportunities.


Mitra Museum Jakarta Foundation (YMMJ) is holding an online auction of 40 artworks to directly support artists in these uncertain times.

Thirty artists from Bali, Bandung and Yogyakarta are taking part in the auction, with works ranging from paintings to sculptures priced at between Rp 2 million (US$134.37) and Rp 20 million.

In this together: ‘Demi Waktu’ (For time’s sake) by Agung Pekik is one of 40 works put on online auction by Mitra Museum Jakarta Foundation (YMMJ) to support artists during the pandemic.In this together: ‘Demi Waktu’ (For time’s sake) by Agung Pekik is one of 40 works put on online auction by Mitra Museum Jakarta Foundation (YMMJ) to support artists during the pandemic. (Courtesy of Mitra Museum Jakarta Foundation /-)

Director Catharina Widjaja said on the foundation’s website that 100 percent of the proceeds from the sales would go to the artists, who in turn would utilize part of the funds to purchase staple foods for artisans and other workers who regularly support their creations and exhibitions.

Those interested in purchasing the artworks can fill an online form at and after completing the form, users will be given 24 hours to complete the payment, with the artworks being shipped directly by the artists after the end of the auction period on May 22.

“Anyone can buy these works. We invite art lovers to take part and support artists and their communities,” she said.


The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (Museum MACAN) is supporting artists by holding an artwork raffle in three rounds, where patrons can purchase a mystery artwork for a flat price of Rp 1 million.

Museum MACAN director Aaron Seeto said in a virtual press conference that artists had been contributing actively during the pandemic, ranging from creating content to keeping the public entertained and helping distribute personal protective equipment to frontline health workers.

“But the arts is a fragile ecosystem that requires our attention. The postponement of exhibitions and the tenuous freelance nature of artists’ incomes will be a major concern right now,” Seeto says.

“Without the largesse of a social safety system as we see in the West, there is real concern for the future, because without artists, we have no culture, and our society ultimately suffers.”

As for the museum’s raffle, titled “Arisan Karya”, participants are guaranteed to receive an artwork at the flat price, though the works will only be revealed at the end of the raffle.

Seventy percent of the proceeds will go to the artists or their charity of choice, with the rest of the funds allocated to training programs for selected art managers.

‘Study of Movement’ by Melati Suryodarmo ‘Study of Movement’ by Melati Suryodarmo (Courtesy of Museum MACAN/-)

The raffle will be held in May, June and July, with each round featuring100 artworks by both senior and up-and-coming artists, with names like Melati Suryodarmo and Tisna Sanjaya on the list.

The first round will take place from May 20 to 28, during which participants can visit to see the artwork catalogue and purchase a numbered ticket. The raffle will be broadcasted live on the museum’s Instagram account on May 29, after which the artworks will be shipped.

Prior to the raffle, the museum also held an open call for Indonesian artists to take part and as of May 12, more than 400 artists have answered the call, with more than 900 submitted works.

Curator Asep Topan said the curatorial team viewed pictures of the submitted artworks and took into account the diversity of media and the artists’ geographic location. “But we also looked at how the artists describe their works as well as their technical prowess – things outside of the artistic elements,” he said.


Art auctioneer, Sidharta Auctioneer, is currently running an online auction on its Instagram account, where participants can directly bid on the posts featuring the artworks, ranging from paintings to sculptures.

Running from May 14 to 17, the #BidFromHome for Charity Artfordable Auction is currently auctioning 12 artworks by artists including Zabusa and Hari Prast, the proceeds of which will be donated to the NGO Save the Children.

The first edition of the charity auction, featuring nine works from artists like Syahrizal Pahlevi and Age “Tutu” Airlangga, ran from April 30 to May 3. The auction fetched a total of Rp 52.9 million, which was donated to the Indonesian Doctors’ Association (IDI).

Chairman and curator Amir Sidharta told The Jakarta Post on Friday that auctions were a form of support for artists, health workers and at-risk groups during the pandemic.

“Artists can play a huge role in the pandemic, as they can create things that allow us to go through the process with fun, like with simply creating fun masks. My hope is, of course, that the arts and the workers can survive the pandemic and come out triumphant,” he said.

“There are many instances of support to artists so that they can create artworks that inspire us, guide us to do well and discourage the bad. The arts play a positive role for us, so that we never lose our spirit and continue having hope.” (ste)

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