„Focus+Indonesia” – art project made by the Upside Art Foundation in partnership with the National Museum in Szczecin and Jatiwangi Art Factory in Indonesia, won the competition of the third edition of „Creative Encounters: Cultural Partnerships between Asia and Europe” formed at the initiative of Singapore’s Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) in partnership with the Arts Network Asia (ANA) and the European Trans Europe Halles (TEH).
The award is special due to the fact that the project of the Upside Art Foundation was in the final four of 169 proposals from around the world. It is the first victory of a Polish organization in this program.
The „Creative Encounters„, implemented since 2011, actively promotes meetings of different cultures through the artistic collaboration, exchange and dialogue. It aims at strengthening exchanges between the countries of Europe and Asia by deepening mutual understanding between cultural communities in both regions, increasing the mobility of artists, cultural workers and encouraging creative collaboration.
The first part of the project – artist-in-residency – took place in February 2014 in Indonesia. It was developed through the cooperation of interdisciplinary team of artists, designers, scientists and as such, it was a response to specific issues and problems the team analyzed on location. The Upside Art Foundation teamed up with important representatives of contemporary art in Indonesia as well as pubic art and art schools. The participants, working with Indonesian artists, also led workshops with local youth. They were identifying common needs of the local community and performed all the activities within the framework of cross-cultural education. The second part of the project in June 2014 assumes a return visit of guests from Indonesia to Poland (Szczecin, Poznań, Warszawa) and Berlin, including pioneering exhibition of contemporary art from Indonesia at the National Museum in Szczecin and the presentation of the results of the first part of the program as well as meetings with viewers, students of schools of art in Poland and preparing a summary publication.
The residence „Focus+Indonesia” was attended by curators prof. Wojciech Łazarczyk, dr Krzysztof Łukomski; coordinated by: Katarzyna Szeszycka, Hanna Szutowicz; with experts: Marta Frank, Piotr Kwietniewski, Piotr Pauk; and artists: Małgorzata Goliszewska, Marta Hryniuk, Karolina Mełnicka, Maciej Nowacki, Artur Rozen, Rafał Żarski.
Substantive cooperation: Serrum.org, Institut Seni Indonesia (ISI) Yogyakarta, Ruangrupa Jakarta, Universitas Negeri Jakarta, Indonesia Contemporary Art Network (iCAN) Yogyakarta, A-I-R Laboratory – CCA in Warsaw, School of Form (Poznań), Academy of Art in Szczecin (Akademia Sztuki w Szczecinie), Institute of Linguistics Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (Instytut Językoznawstwa Uniwersytetu im. Adama Mickiewicza w Poznaniu)
National Museum in Szczecin, Main Building, 3 Wały Chrobrego Street, Szczecin, Poland
The exhibition „Focus+Indonesia” consists of 5 parts:
1. „Community Work Art. Art-communities in Indonesia”
Curator: Agung Frigidanto
It is Poland’s first presentation of video art and documentaries of contemporary artists working in Indonesia. The starting point for this part of the exhibition at the Museum is widespread in principle of community work. Many works of artists formed as results of activity of the working groups deal with specific social, cultural, political aspects of everyday life, diagnosing them and staying in frequent contact with both the characters and the recipients of their oeuvres. So conceived artistic activity is due to the specific cultural and interdisciplinary approach artists. As part of the show guests from Indonesia will present examples of activities in many areas of art, music, design, street-art or documentation of local community activists (Ruangrupa, Serrum.org, Kersan Art Studio).
2. „Stigma of being Others. Women in Contemporary Indonesian Art”
Artists: Titarubi, Melati Suryodarmo, Yani Mariani Sastranegara, Lenny Ratnasari Weichert, Lelyana Kurniawati and Pereks
Curator: Lenny Ratnasari Weichert
The group of selected Indonesian artists proposes to bring to reality aspects of contemporary life, which constitute life experiences in other free and democratic societies.
The term „Other” often refers to these representatives of society who are different from the generally accepted model. The experience of otherness in this sense is one of the most important contemporary problems of humanity. Currently “otherness” can come even from within our own community: defining all who are different from the general approach to life. The exhibition „The stigma of being Other” , in the context of contemporary art show of women from Indonesia, is an attempt to address the reality of being a bilateral „Other”. Artists relate to their own experience and in the context of artistic practice, they act a bit like „educators”. Their double reading will be materialized by the double-sided reality: artists will act as members of Indonesian society whilst they will also act as voices of those who are „othered” in the world.
3. „Focus+Indonesia: Poland”. Presentations of Polish artists – participants of the art residency in Indonesia in 2014.
Artists : Małgorzata Goliszewska, Marta Hryniuk, Maciej Nowacki, Karolina Mełnicka, Piotr Pauk, Artur Rozen, Rafał Żarski
Curator: Wojciech Łazarczyk (Upside Art Foundation)
As part of the „Focus + Indonesia” project in February 2014, a group of artists from Poland participated in a mobile residency in Indonesia. The opposition included in this definition – a combination of the words „residence” usually associated with something solid, held in one place, and “mobility”, „movement” – explains the nature of the project, which has the cognitive value and meets as a cultural exchange between seemingly distant countries. For artists, the journey itself becomes a creative challenge and deals with the traditional Eurocentric culture „discovering a new land”. Participants of the project in Indonesia during this trip had an opportunity to strike in unusual situations in the new field of references, metaphors, and even new social roles. Artistic results of the change of the coordinate system will be announced in the form of video screenings, photography, installation and artists’ books.
4. „Public Art Indonesia”. Presentations of contemporary art from Indonesia entering into a dialogue with the public space: video screening
Curators: Krzysztof Łukomski (Upside Art Foundation) and Arie Syarifuddin (JaF)
Artists: Adanya Kenayah, Ahmad Thian Fulthan, Arie Syarifuddin, Beben Nurberi, Carda Arifin, Ono Haryono, Ginggi Syarif Haskim, Irwan Ahmett, Ismal Muntaha, Muhammad Fatchurofi, Rangga Adityawan, Tedi Nurmanto, Yopie Nugraha, Robowobo, Jatiwangi Art Factory
The video works and documents within this presentation of Indonesian performative and public art, street art, art-actions in relation to the problems of everyday life build a social portrait of contemporary Indonesia.
Presenting the range of references, visual reports, images of many places of this vast country – from the crowded suburbs of Jakarta with its street vendors, the colorful, highly ritualistic life in smaller towns – through contemporary art and its activists – give us the key to understand Indonesia better. This is definitely not a distant image of an exotic land. By meeting the ordinary people and situations in the videos, seeking similarities to own cultural transformation, in that vision from a far-away land, we can find values that we have lost a bit – custom of treating each other respectfully, a specific sense of solidarity and the tradition of strong communities.
5. „Traditional Indonesian art from the collection of the National Museum in Szczecin”
Curator: Ewa Prądzyńska (National Museum in Szczecin)
Indonesia – a country spanning several thousands of islands and islets – is a remarkable mosaic of cultures and traditions. Indonesian Collection from the National Museum in Szczecin counts only 35 objects, but can attest to the diversity and multiculturalism in Indonesia. The collection includes objects representing so unusual peoples as Bataqs from Sumatra („pustaha” – a book containing the priestly spells and prophecies, symbolic drawings and characters), Dyaks of Borneo (modern products of bamboo), Asmats and Kamoro of the Indonesian province of Papua covering western part of New Guinea (totem pole, oar). The museum has an interesting collection also associated with the insular nature of Indonesia, a native of the western part of the island of Timor. This item was acquired by the crew of of the Polish Yachting Association’s „Call of the Sea” during the voyage around the world. The collection of the National Museum in Szczecin was also enriched with a boat with equipment that contains, among other things: clay pots, anchors of coral and floats. It also contain a collection of “krises” – considered an example of the national weapon. It has been accumulated on the island of Lombok, situated close to Bali. The respect to this weapon in Indonesia has its source in the belief that it is endowed with magical powers.
Information about the project „Focus+Indonesia” can be found at: www.focusairproject.org www.upsideart.org and www.facebook.com/FundacjaUpsideArt