Indonesian painter Nasirun's works at Jogja Biennale in the Jogja National Museum, Yogyakarta, on Friday. (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)
Reflecting Marginality at Jogja Biennale
BY :YUDHA BASKORO
NOVEMBER 05, 2019
"Do we live in the same PLAYGROUND?" is the question this year's Jogja Biennale, taking place in several galleries in Yogyakarta from Oct. 20 to Nov. 30, is trying to get us to grapple with.
The largest art exhibition in Southeast Asia invited 52 artists to respond to issues of "pinggiran" (marginality) and the experiences of peoples and regions marginalized both socially and geographically.
Their works are displayed at the Jogja National Museum, Jogoyudan Village, Koesnadi Hardjoseomantri Cultural Center, Ketandan 17 and Yogyakarta Cultural Park.
One of the highlights of the biennale is the work of Nasirun, a master painter from Cilacap, Central Java, who has taken it upon himself to promote kitsch paintings by often nameless artists from Sokaraja by buying them up and adding his own touches to the canvas.
Nasirun said he felt it was his responsibility to carve out a space for the Sokaraja painters in the Indonesian art scene that has long dismissed their presence.
The biennale also featured a previously banned work called "The Marsinah Monument" by Moelyono, an artist from Tulungagung, Central Java.
The work is a memorial to Marsinah, a woman worker who was tortured and murdered – her body found in a shallow grave – after leading a demonstration to demand higher pay in a watch factory in Porong, East Java, in 1993.
The original installation was created in 1999 in Surabaya but the local administration refused to issue a permit for its exhibition. Twenty years later, Moelyono's tribute to oppressed workers and women – and a symbol of resistance to the New Order – continues to hold us in awe of Marsinah.
The Jogja Biennale also featured artists from neighboring countries Timor Leste, Thailand, Myanmar and the Philippines.