Jakarta. "Celebrating Diversity #2" is a group exhibition featuring Indonesia's senior contemporary female artists – including Dolorosa Sinaga, Titarubi and Bunga Jeruk – currently running at LATAR in South Jakarta until Oct. 19.
The mini exhibition presents only 14 art works – paintings, sculptures, mixed-media – and is an oasis of calm and restrained elegance compared to other blockbuster art exhibitions and art fairs currently going on in the capital.
Veteran sculptor Dolorosa Sinaga was the one who brought forward the idea of diversity for the exhibition.
Dolorosa said people in power sometimes consider the country's diversity as a threat.
"One of the major themes in my art is solidarity. It develops out of my own experiences, the devastation I felt about what happened in [the May] 1998 riots," Dolorosa said.
The artist is a known human rights and women's rights fighter and her political convictions heavily inform her works.
One of her sculptures in the exhibition, called "Untitled," describes the ideal relationship between men and women.
"Men should not be afraid of losing their pride by respecting women," Dolorosa said.
When you walk into the exhibition space, the first thing you'll see is a massive boat with a figure standing on top wearing a coat made of gold-plated nutmegs.
This impressive work – but still unfinished as the artist laments – is by Yogyakarta's Titarubi.
The large scale work was inspired by the artist's research into 16th-century Indonesia.
It has so far taken Titarubi eight years of research, many trips to Maluku and even an electro-plating class to make the mixed-media piece.
Titarubi is also a fan of diversity. "I think it would be boring to be the same person all the time. We should celebrate our differences," Titarubi said.
Yani Mariani Sastranegara is a vegan artist who makes nature-themed sculptures.
"I find interesting rocks and tree branches on my mountain walks and bring them home as models for my art," Yani said.
Yani's "Bait Bait Daun" ("Lyrics of a Tree") is a sculpture of a tree with gold-plated leaves reaching out to the heavens.
For Yani, diversity provides a much-needed balance in life. An exhibition like this can help keep that balance. "This is where we celebrate different talents," she said.
Painter Bunga Jeruk meanwhile said recognising and fostering diversity can start with embracing one's own uniqueness.
"We are all different, even identical twins don't necessarily have the same personality," Bunga said.
Bunga is fine with people not liking her sometimes dreamy, child-like paintings. "I want people to feel inspired when they see my work, but if they're not, it's alright. People interpret things differently," she said.
The last artist in the exhibition, Lenny Ratnasari Weichert, identifies diversity with identity.
Lenny said she's always struggled with trying to process the influences of Eastern and Western cultures in her art, and in life.
As she is Indonesian and her husband is German, Lenny's had a tough time dealing with how women are portrayed in both cultures – and how she is supposed to react to those portrayals.
"Diversity makes you more respectful and understanding about everything, including people and their cultures," Lenny said.
Address: Ground floor of BTPN Sinaya, Jalan Dr. Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung, Kav 5.5-5.6, South Jakarta
Opening hours: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. (Monday-Friday)