Press Release : Nusantara Art Exhibition “REST AREA – Perupa Membaca Indonesia”


National Gallery of Indonesia is ready to hold the Nusantara Art Exhibition 2017 on 7-27 March 2017. This biennale event is an open call exhibition that accommodate artists throughout Indonesia to showcase the best of their artworks in this national scale event together. Through a very tight selection procedure, this exhibition gives an opportunity and chance for Nusantara’s artists to show their potential, creativity as well as existence. In this exhibition, current development of Indonesian art will be well described and mapped.

This 2017 Nusantara Art Exhibition is the 9th organization after previously held in 2001, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015 by each carrying different theme. This 2017 Nusantara Art Exhibition’s theme is “REST AREA: Perupa Membaca Indonesia” (REST AREA: Artists read Indonesia).

The curation theme “REST AREA – Perupa Membaca Indonesia”- mentioned by the curator, Suwarno Wisetrotomo – attempts to dig the answer: Do artworks still function as witnesses and time recorder? Do artworks still have the power to touch the reflective awareness for appreciators? Do artworks still have the potential to move the criticism awareness for the appreciator? Also do artworks still have the mystery that give and encourage expansion of imagination for public? In the midst of the turbulence of social, politic, economy, and culture, art (artworks) supposes to play an important role to create a balance.

“In that kind of perspective, it is desired that artworks are positioned as display cases to see the degree of civility of society, community, or a nation. A ‘good’ artwork will encourage and create heart-exercise people, whose critical consciousness and reflective consciousness are re-awakened. In the context of Indonesia, how this civility places also inside the layers of diversity to build understanding,’ said Suwarno. Added by A. Sudjud Dartanto, also the exhibition’s curator, “Artworks can be understood as records of context and time with foundations; firstly, these artworks were born from the comprehension and idea of the artist, secondly, artworks in this exhibition can become statements as well as questions about their objective conditions, and thirdly, these artworks can be read as a text intertwined among others as a meta text presenting the uniqueness of their experiences.

That kind of supposition is used as the selection method; that is, an expectation to discover artists who step on strong ideas, able to tell a story well and clearly related to the reading of the theme “REST AREA: Perupa Membaca Indonesia”. The next expectation is to discover artworks which precisely (and strongly) reflect today’s situation in Indonesia based on each artist’s perspective of where they live. This is the time for artists to speak again through inspiring artworks; those that become strong markers of the movement and the situation of their era.

Within that selection frame, the curators, Suwarno Wisetrotomo and A. Sudjud Dartanto selected the artworks collected through an open application from 11 January to 8 February 2017. The open call resulted in 1000 applications by 792 artists from 28 provinces in Indonesia. Based on tight considerations such as space capacity and other supporting aspects, the curators managed to select 100 artworks of paintings, sculptures, graphics art, photography, drawings, objects, installation art, video art, batik art, and ceramics to be exhibited. Those artworks are the creation of 100 artists from 26 provinces in Indonesia.

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“REST AREA: Perupa Membaca Indonesia” will be accompanied with public programs such as Art Seminar entitled “Seni Rupa Membaca Indonesia” (Art reads Indonesia) on Wednesday, 8 March 2017 at 10 AM located at the Seminar Room, National Gallery of Indonesia. There will be Gallery Tours on Saturday, 11, 18, and 25 March 2017 at 1 PM located at exhibition rooms, National Gallery of Indonesia.

Director of the National Gallery of Indonesia, Tubagus ‘Andre’ Sukmana hoped this exhibition would motivate many parties, especially the artists to keep on creating artworks and competing to show creativity and expression through artworks that contain many meanings, values and certain functions to strengthen the nation character. “It is also in line with the policy orientation of the Education and Culture Ministry in developing art and culture education, providing art utilities and facilities as well as increasing culture promotion among regions,” said Tubagus.