For many years, sketching was seen as rapidly executed freehand drawing. As a means of recording ideas, sketches were—and are—a quick way of creating images. An exhibition at the National Gallery enlightened audiences on sketching culture as a recreation of the self.
“[Re]Kreasi Garis” the title of the exhibition was the result of an open call from the National Gallery and Ministry of Education and Culture to Indonesian sketchers. Curated by a team including Bambang Bujono, Beng Rahadian, and Teguh Margono, a total of 234 sketches from 138 sketchers were exhibited alongside with the collection of old sketches by a number of master painters in September.
The participants came from communities such as KamiSketsaGalNas, Bogor Sketchers, Semarang SketchWalk, Urban Sketchers Medan, and Perupa Gorontalo. Other participants were individuals including Romo Muji, Yusuf Susilo Hartono, Tatas Sehono, Bambang Harsono, and Daniel Nugraha among others.
Featured works from accomplished artists such as Sudjojono, Oesman Effendi, Henk Ngantung, and Tohny Joesoef were specially exhibited to depict the history of sketching in Indonesia. Among them were also the sketch collection by Srihadi Soedarsono, Ipe Ma’aruf, and Tedja Suminar.
Most of the works were dominated by created lines that drew from objects and landscapes. The exhibition was held in two separate buildings where visitors could see the variation of sketchworks in different time periods. Japanese Manga artist Ono Saseo is believed to have had an influence on Sudjojono, Affandi, and a few legendary painters during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia.
Curator Beng Rahadian defined the exhibit as a general representation of the discourse about the sketches from various time periods. The latest development of sketch is marked by the emergence of urban sketches done by urbanites who use sketching as a tool of visual recreation.
“The emergence of these urban sketches no longer prioritises the norm of study or defined as artistic markers for subsequent works. Urban sketching becomes an activity that gathers all drawing techniques with a lot of experiments in it,” Rahadian said.
It’s like a contemporary version of sketching with the same root and soul, but more creative with reconstructed lines and strokes, which clarifies the idea that the exploration of sketching is endless.
Now, sketching is considered a fun activity that involves a sense of emotional relief, it becomes a romantic way to capture the object instead of using a camera. At the same time, social media helps develop the sketching culture, especially among urban communities.