Arts: Arts & Crafts
In Honour of R.A. Kartini, Indonesian
Text and photographs by Linda Rawin
women motivated in arts
May 1st 2009
It’s been 105 years since the death of Indonesia’s renowned female role model the outspoken R. A. Kartini on September 17th 1904 and Indonesian women still look up to her.
Indonesian fine art scene have been known to be dominated by native local men but in the 1960 and 1970’s, Indonesian women artist soon began to show their hands in world of Indonesian fine art. Rulijati, Kustijah, Sriyani, Marjati Affandi, Umi Dachlan, Kartika Affandi, Siti Adiyati, Nanik Mirna is just a few women painters have shown creative work of art even though some of them are self taught.
In the year 1980’s, Indonesian women artist they are Arahmaiani, Astari, Yani Mariani, Mella Jaarsma, Marintan Sirait, Marida Nasution, Nunung W.S., Reni Hoegeng, Nani Sakri, Yanuar Ernawati, Lucia Hartini and soon, seems to starting to expand and enrich Indonesia contemporary fine arts cauldron work not only paints, but also graphic, ceramics, statue, object, installation, fine arts shows and video fine arts.
Commemorating Kartini’s Day on 21st April 2009, Salihara Art gallery in South Jakarta displayed the works of female artists, Astari, Arahmaiani, Ay Tjoe Christine, Ayu Arista Murti, Dolorosa Sinaga, Mella Jaarsma, Theresia Agustina, Titarubi, Wara Anindyah and Yani Mariani, some of them are senior artists of the 1980 – 90’s. The exhibition also was incorporated with art curators like Asikin Hasan, Goenawan Mohamad, Nirwan Dewanto and Sitok Srengenge.
Astari: “READ” 17 x 44 x 45 cm, bronze
A holy book Al-Qur’an, Wall Street daily newspaper Journal, glasses and rosary in a bag plated in bronze is Astari’s art piece entitled “READ”. The items in the bag project the modern day career woman who reads, ‘The Wall Street Journal’. What make this piece special is that the artist although career minded, had included a holy book Al-Qur’an and a beaded tasbih, depicting the connection of the artist from material objects to spiritual life on earth, as in remembering God and religion.
Astari: Guilt trip 2, 88 x 127 cm, oil on canvas
Is a second art piece submitted by Astari entitled Guilt to this exhibition. Here she tries to express that a woman who can afford still suffers guilt. She is confused between being able to obtain things in life and to travel while remaining or reminding that the woman life is with a bag on her head. That she was born to carry guilt on her head just like the women who works on the field with baskets on their heads.
Being pampered is to be guilty, which is the wrong attitude; if you work hard to obtain things why feel guilty. Feel guilty when you steal to obtain things.
Arahmaiani: “hot date” 170 x 190 cm,
Acrylic on canvas
Depicting the famous Disney character Mickey and Minnie Mouse, in the middle of desert with a blazing sun and yet including an oil pumping unit. With clear bright animated colour composition, Arahmaiani seems to express a connection between the United States of America and the Middle East region, as seen from the Mickey Mouse’s overall pants and Minnie Mouse’s covered veil mouth piece and dress attire covering her legs. As Arahmaiani seem to say in his brief explanation of this painting, that it is not just beautiful painting, but animation to provoke discussion and thought against the current problems in today’s world of social unrest.
Titarubi: “Bayang – Bayang Maha Kecil”
Stoneware, acrylic, MDF (Medium-density fiberboard), lamp 175 x 36 x 36 cm
Living in Yogyakarta, Titarubi was born in Bandung on December 15th 1968. No new comer to the art scenes, Titarubi’s art pieces have already been displayed in international exhibitions. Here in “Enam Pekan Perempuan exhibition,” Titarubi displays her piece of stone sculpture of a child using the media MDF or Medium-density fibreboard. She converts her art piece with detail of Arabic word characters. This art piece is unique and captivating, because of its stunning originality, is perhaps one of the best art work at this exhibition.
Dolorosa Sinaga, submitted three sculptured art pieces in which two of them were untitled. In Dolorosa’s pieces, she expresses drama and unhappiness in her work. We see a trace of the woman, as always at fault, a tension between confidence and doubt, sadness and passion. Dolorosa a top sculpture artist in Indonesian continues to depict the woman of Indonesia as an invalid helpless person, a mother that in constant conflict with her husband. Dolorosa Sinaga born in Sibolga, North Sumatra on October 31st 1952, has participated in many exhibits in 1994, 2001, 2008 at the National Art Gallery of Indonesia.
Wara Anindyah: “Sembilan Belas Pertanyaan”
100 x 150 cm, oil on canvas
The overweight half human half fish is the piece presented by Wara Anindyah in a titled art work, ’19 questions?’ oil on canvas. A strange combination of a sad mermaid, befriending or holding a land bird perched on her finger in the ocean. Every fat woman’s dream is to be thin or slim. The mermaid seeks to the little bird to be her friend in this vast ocean of loneliness.
“Dewa Seni Bunuh Diri”
145 x 200 cm, oil on canvas
In Wara Anindyah’s work large eyes are characteristic here like ghostly images depicting a suicidal death with gossiping family surroundings in shock.
These images as Wara says are images from her dreams put together.
Wara Anindyah published a book consisting of collected articles ‘Melukis Mengolah Sukma’, in 2001.
Yani Mariani: ‘Dewi Tara’ 40 x 83 cm, copper and brass plate
Dewi Tara is a stone goddess where many statutes of her can be seen in the island of Bali. Here Yani Mariani portrays the goddess in a deformed and distorted manner. Yani expresses that in art form statutes can also take up other forms that never ends.
I am a new writer to the art world, yet I can see that Indonesian women artists and sculptures can really create and their work is up to standard. But I do not see that in their art forms, they depict the woman of today as progressive but rather second class citizens conformed to being at the back and not as the front runner. This exhibition showed me a teenager about the world of suicide, fat women, guilty feeling, and distorted goddess to honour Kartini’s day. Maybe, in art the more horrible or dramatic an art piece is , the more creative it is perceived to be.