Jakarta. Members of the Refreshink Printmaking graphic art community are currently exhibiting their works as part of the "Yes, the Future Has Been Sold" exhibition at the National Gallery in Gambir, Central Jakarta.
Formed in 2011, the community consists of graphic artists, writers and curators who are alumni of the Jakarta Arts Institute (IKJ). The philosophy behind Refreshink is that the members aim to popularize graphic art through fresh ideas.
The exhibition, which started on Friday (28/07) and runs until Aug. 18, marks the community's comeback after a four-year hiatus.
"We tried to gather our friends who had not produced graphic art for a long time," chief exhibition organizer Syaiful Ardianto said during a press tour on Friday.
"Yes, the Future Has Been Sold" is a line from "The Universal" song by Britpop band Blur. Eleven works by seven artists argue that the future is not only the definite time following the present but is also a witness to ideas and the construction of culture.
The artists attempt to imagine the possibilities of the future based on current issues and convey those ideas in graphic art.
In a statement, National Gallery chairman Tubagus "Andre" Sukmana said the group's efforts also express an anti-modernist attitude.
Such an ambitious idea was sadly conveyed in merely 11 works, which left many blank spaces in the gallery's relatively small Building D.
However, the works showed some potential to be developed into something of higher quality.
Putri Ayu Lestari, who graduated from IKJ in 2013, shows the stages of breast cancer in "Warisan" ("Legacy"). Using screen printing, she depicts a woman whose body is deteriorating because of breast cancer in eight pictures, which are multiplied into several sets.
"Besides as a tribute to my mother and grandmother who died of breast cancer, it also represents my fear of being their descendant; whether I will die of the same cause," Putri said.
In the middle of the display she includes a digital screen showing a stop-motion video of the pictures.
On the other hand, Aprilia Apsari, better known as the vocalist of retro-infused indie band White Shoes and the Couples Company, showcases digitally printed posters.
The first two are illustrations she made for her band whereas the last one, called "Dana Express," is both an appreciation and critique of Jakarta citizens who are willing to work extra hard to pay for leisure activities, such as traveling.
"[It shows] our ups and downs as Jakartans who always race against the clock to provide for ourselves. I often see my friends who have to take side jobs such as freelance work apart from their main jobs," Sari said.
"Dana Express," which can be literally translated to "Express Funds," was deliberately made to resemble a travel advertisement. Sari imagines a future where work performance is no longer a priority, as long as it does not reduce the size of people's salaries. To them, work is just a pause between their vacations.
Reza "Asung" Afisina showcases a series of prints on carbon paper depicting vasectomies and tubectomies, which imagine that people would consider those measures to reduce the birth rate.
Hauritsa, who had not experimented with graphic art for over a decade, arranged a series of blind-embossed drawings on paper that require visitors to move closer to see the shapes. One of the sets includes pictures of a helping hand. With the pictures, Hauritsa questions people's sincerity when they help others, because there are always hidden intentions that might only emerge once the recipient takes a closer look.
Daniella F. Praptono shows a series of charcoal wall drawings decorated with butterflies.
"My work, titled "Agreement of Hopes and Dreams," is about how we can work with ourselves to understand what we want to be in the future," she said.
She also presents an interactive work where visitors can experiment with stamps as the simplest means of graphic art.
Besides the exhibition, there will also be a graphic art workshop on Aug.12, led by Daniella. The workshop, which will take place between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., will be free and open to the public.