Arts |

For Indonesian Women in the Arts, The Future is Now

Arts | 1 April 2019

The exhibition “Into the Future” at National Gallery was a collective statement on women in the 21st century.

Lacquer Paint on plexiglass "31.85 (6.21462.106.84513)" by Syagini Ratna Wulan is on display at National Gallery. Photo by Rintang Azhar/NOW!JAKARTA

Hailing from Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta, Dita Gambiro, Erika Ernawan, Fika Ria Santika, Maharani Mancanagara, Restu Ratnaningtyas, Sanchia Hamidjaja, Theresia Agustina Sitompul and other female artists showcased their contemporary works which collectively was a unique depiction of gender and sexuality.

Cemara 6 Galeri-Museum, an institution which has supported female artists since 1993, collaborated with National Gallery of Indonesia  aiming to highlight the achievements of women in the arts, who often tend to be underrepresented. This collective exhibition represented empowerment, featuring female skills in constructing mix media art and installation in form of audiovisual, coding, textile and glasswork.

Held in the main building from 26 February to 16 March, the exhibit “Indonesian Women Artists : Into the Future” garnered a lot of attention. The exhibit also corresponded with a book with the same title featuring the details of the works from 21 artists, written by senior art journalist and curator, Carla Bianpoean.

Organdy Cloth Installation "Distorted Reality" by Dita Gambino
Mixed media installation "Invisible Boundaries" by Restu Ratnaningtyas.

Bianpoen who has 20 years of experience in art and journalism — including as curator of the Indonesian pavilion at the prestigious Venice Biennale in 2013 and 2015 —  compiled documents of Indonesian artists who have created brilliant works and are considered  trailblazers in the Indonesian art scene. In the book, Carla narrates their journey and stories of how these female artists survive and remain optimistic about their future.

“In the era of technology, these women have had a breakthrough, one in which female spirits can’t be restrained by boundaries. The exhibit is a genuine creation by women that challenges the future of our art industry,” said Bianpoen who is also co-author of “Indonesia Women Artist: the Curtain Opens”, released in 2017.

Along with Citra Smara Dewi, Bianpoen curated multiple media and the works from female artists between the ages of 21 to 48 to give the exhibit a wide artistic approach. The works displayed expressed a feminine viewpoint and the world around women. These artists illustrated daily life in the realm of domestic issues, reproduction, female sexuality, and patriarchy.

Digital Print on Fabric, Lightbox display, LED Light "The Future is Abandoned" by Sanchia Tryphosa Hamidjaja
Menganyam Sendi-Sendi Diri by Andrita Yuniza

As an example, Cecilia Patricia Untario’s explicit glasswork installation “Silent 2” which showed 12 tubes of a different shade of condom is a depiction of the taboo around women’s discussions of  the need for sexual protection. Digital print on fabric “The Future is Abandoned” by Sanchia Tryphosa Hamidjaja depicts a chaotic future with its vibrant cartoon colours. Dita Gambino on her “Distorted Reality” installation hangs layers of different clothing in transparent fabric to manifest the pressure women face when needing to present themselves through certain perceptions.

“This is an example of female sensibility and perspective that can offer more richness in contemporary arts. It is impossible to ignore female progress in the homegrown art industry. And we should celebrate it,” Bianpoen said.