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Jakarta Post

BookWorm: Bambang '€œToko'€ Witjaksono: Finding artistic inspiration

  • Yuliasri Perdani

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Mon, June 29, 2015   /  11:26 am
BookWorm: Bambang '€œToko'€ Witjaksono: Finding artistic inspiration

Courtesy of Bambang '€œToko'€ Witjaksono

Through reading, graphic artist and curator Bambang '€œToko'€ Witjaksono finds answers to questions about life and his artistic pursuits.

'€œIf I want to know about something, let'€™s say, the concept of time, I will look for it in the Koran, the Bible and websites, as well as by asking people,'€ said Bambang, who curates ART | JOG, one of the most celebrated art fairs Indonesia.

'€œReading is part of my journey to discover new things,'€

Born in 1973 in Yogyakarta, Bambang studied graphic art at the Indonesian Arts Institute (ISI) Yogyakarta and obtained his master'€™s degree at the Art and Design Faculty of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB).

Emerged in the art scene in late 1990s, Bambang uses paper and canvas as his main mediums, reflecting on social issues. His drawing style is heavily influenced by his keen interest in comics that started in his childhood.

He was one of the founding members of the Apotik Komik (Comics Apothecary) community, an art movement between 1997 and 2004 that painted murals on Yogyakarta'€™s streets.

Aside from curating the art fair, Bambang works as a lecturer at ISI Yogyakarta and is preparing works for an art exhibition.

'€˜Gerbang Nuswantara'€™
by Victoria Tunggono

Part one of the Nuswantara trilogy, Gerbang Nuswantara centers on two teens, Maharani and Bimasakti, who embark on a journey to another world after accidentally passing through a magic portal at their grandfather'€™s house in Wonosari village in West Java.

The teen novel cleverly captures Indonesia'€™s history and culture. It uniquely incorporates science fiction with elements of Javanese culture.

'€˜Wayang Purwa'€™s books'€™

Several books retell the stories of classic Javanese wayang (puppetry), Wayang Purwa. The Ramayana and Mahabharata epics are the main sources of Wayang Purwa stories. Aside from books, I also read wayang stories in R.A. Kosasih'€™s comics.

The storylines include everything from the gods'€™ conflicts in the heavens to their interactions with humans on earth.

I love to read such wayang stories because of their strong correlation with Indonesian culture. Sadly, such stories are rarely read by younger generations nowadays.

'€˜The Grand Design'€™
by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow

Using physics theories, Hawking examines the history of the universe and its existence. His explanations are quite logical and easy to understand. It forced me to rethink my conception of reality.

The book has inspired some of my curatorial works, and will be referenced in my upcoming artwork.

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