Jakarta Biennale 2013: SIASAT

It is another from November 2013. Jakarta Biennale is one of the city prestigious art exhibitions. It has been presented contemporary art works since 1974. In 2009, the exhibition finally developed itself into an international event. Jakarta Biennale focus on cultural activities on the city. Last year theme was SIASAT. An Indonesian word taken from Arabian which has meaning of politics, trickery, tactics, or reason to achieve something. The aim for last year theme was to expand the artistic experience to areas that are rarely touched by contemporary art activities. Another one was to see art practices among the public as part of the ongoing social struggles. It was inspired from the city’s growing economic which most of the time people expressed it by statistic, in result the people, the human are often left out. I would say it is an actual reflection of the city’s social life.

Regardless, Jakarta Biennale 2013 was successfully brought its goals. Many projects under this event that reached citizen to participate in arts. The event itself held in Taman Ismail Marzuki’s  parking lot. I think it was such a brilliant place, it suited the exhibition, the themes, and of course the art works. Here are some of the works that I picked.

Manusia Gerobag (Gerobag People)

Gerobag is a handmade cart to carry junk or scrap. The artist, Abdulrahman Saleh or often being called Maman, he held a workshop for the gerobag owners to paint and draw their carts into ‘words of wisdom’. After less than a month, the results are decorated gerobag with painting and writings that show their hopes, pride, and thoughts.


“Live harmoniously together in difference”


“Have you smile today?”


“Human is not a number”


the workshop organized by Maman, picture of people painted their gerobag

Vertical Villages

Art Lab, an Indonesian art program, collaborated with an Australian artist, Keg de Souza. Vertical village work in Jakarta Biennale, inspired by Jakarta’s upper-middle class workers who have survived in the city.
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The work in Jakarta Biennale


Berteduh di Bawah Siasat (Taking Shelter in ‘Siasat’)

“Arts does not live in galleries, but also surround the people. Often we do not realize that what we do every day actually has artistic value,” said the artist, Enrico Halim on Jakarta Biennale’s catalogue. Enrico invited ten teachers and artists to do art activities with non artists, from street vendors to school children. One of the work that displayed in Jakarta Biennale was biobemo. Bemo is one of Indonesian vehicle to carry public passenger. This biobemo built by using electronic power, so it became a cheap and environmentally friendly alternative to gasoline-fueled vehichles. In Jakarta Biennale event, the vehicle carried a monitor that showed a video how the artists and the people worked together.


Biobemo displayed in Jakarta Biennale


another work of Wayang puppets by the school children


ACE HOUSE COLLECTIVE (AHC) is an art laboratory that studies popular culture. In Jakarta Biennale, it focused on Bandungan, an area between Yogyakarta and Semarang. The place is famous for its beautiful natural landscape. The traffic of people coming in and out of this place has encouraged a mixing between local and non local culture like street bike races, prostitution, and gambling.


A painting of street motor bikes