The Best of Art Jog

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Art Jog is an annual art show in our home town Yogyakarta. It is an event that attracts many people, including those outside of Yogyakarta. Each year, local artists as well as a few international artists, submit their very best work to be showcased at this prestigious event. The committee of Art Jog changes the theme each year, including the setting, making this extremely attractive to art lovers as well as selfie lovers (unfortunately so). The last two years, I wrote on my social media how I was disappointed with the amount of people using the art works as photo backgrounds. In my opinion, this issue has really downgraded the quality of Art Jog. However, it is still an event that I look forward to each year (I always try to come at an unusual time, hoping it would be a little quieter than usual – it doesn’t always work though). I feel a little sad that this year I won’t be able to go. They did a virtual opening some days ago and there will be a virtual tour available too. Apparently they will also open the gallery and limit visitors. For me personally, I won’t be coming, my health is way more important than coming to see this beloved event. In this post, I thought I would do a round up of my favourite art works from Art Jog 2017-2019.

Let’s start with ART JOG 2017 since I can’t find any photos from my ART JOG 2016 (lol). The theme at that time was Changing Perspective and I really loved the quirky installation that was at the front of the building. The installation was made up of several eye balls stacked together by Wedhar Riyadi. It was meant to draw attention on how we are being constantly watched in the era of social media, pretty straight forward I guess. However, the vulgarity of the installation both made me cringed and fascinated at the same time.

One of Wedhar Riyadi’s eye installations

I talked about some of my favourite pieces on my personal blog, so I won’t be repetitive (the post is Indonesian). However, I missed out on showing a piece of art by Jabbar Muhammad called Eve 4.1. Turns out he has a whole series of Eves. I was actually quite disappointed that this piece was not located in the main rooms, instead it was tucked on the wall near the stairs. I really like the way this portrait is blurred with a 3D effect.

Eve 4.1

Now let’s move on to ART JOG 2018 where I was blown away by the centerpiece installation. That year’s theme was Enlightenment and Mulyana was the artist that was commissioned for the centerpiece. It was called Sea Remember and it mimicked the atmosphere of an underwater world, a very colourful underwater world. His work was created using different colours of yarns. Through knitting he created different types of corals and reefs. I thought it was brilliant and it definitely broadened the boundary of art and its mediums. I especially love the little yellow fishes that were made hanging from the top, giving the illusion of swimming in groups.

Just look at how amazing this installation is! Surreal!

At the time I was visiting ART JOG 2018, I was in the middle of my cancer treatments. So when I stumbled upon the interactive installation of Healing Garden by Hiromi Tango, it felt like the universe was speaking to me (as corny as it sounds). This “garden” was filled with flowers of vibrant colours made by crepe papers. The artist chose flowers like rose, jasmine, kenanga and amaryllis that have healing and nurturing properties. I entered this garden and sat down for a few moments to absorb its healing properties. It was such a wonderful experience.

This picture certainly doesn’t do it justice, it was a big room filled with these bright crepe flowers

This particular ART JOG was truly filled with bright colours and diverse mediums too. This one is an installation made from stained glass by Patricia Untario (right side). Apart from that, I was also really drawn to Arwin Hidayat’s Djenar piece. I love the bold black outline with contrasting bright colours. The pictures below show Djenar on the left, “Smiling Angels from the Sky” by Heri Dono (the artist explained how angels have nothing to do with religion, instead it is a symbol of enthusiasm for the future) in the top middle, and Eko Nugroho’s “Carnival Trap” (he talks about the euphoria of democracy) in the bottom middle.

ART JOG 2019 was a special one because Nina was able to come and explore with me! I was really excited to show her this art event since she was never able to come home at the right moment for the previous ART JOGs. The theme last year was Arts in Common.

My favourite piece from this event was the Gender Bending series made by artist Supattanawadee Muanta. The works are flawless and it talked about how we are often confided into only two main categories of gender. This creates a disassociation with those who aren’t classified into those categories. I also thought this was a really bold move to have this installed in a country like ours.

Elia Nurvista’s works Früchtlinge and Noble Savage Series were also one that made my head turned. She gave a spotlight of how people treat immigrants and refugees in Europe, how they are treated badly and often rejected. However, food or fruits coming from the same origin countries as the immigrants and refugees are treated as sexy and exotic. I thought this was really powerful, and correct in a lot of ways.

Elia Nurvista’s works are dauntingly beautiful

One of the main issues that I keep on addressing with ART Jog is the amount of people who don’t care about the arts or its meanings. I guess this is fine, I mean, it is their choice to do so. The problem is, it is these people who treat ART Jog as a photo studio. They would queue up at a certain popular piece and take selfies. This really bothered me! One time this queue of people completely blocked the entryway of an installation and I couldn’t enjoy the piece at all. Unfortunately, my experience with ART Jog and its followers of selfie lovers has worsened each year. Perhaps this is the year that I can actually enjoy the pieces without getting interrupted by those people, even if I must enjoy it virtually.

Besides that minor hiccup, I still think this event is important. Art can make hard communication easier. There are very important conversations happening in these pieces of art and I truly hope that some of these made an impact to the hundreds of people who came to this event. It’s funny, if we took those meanings and scrap away the visual, it would definitely create an uproar. It really shows how art can really make an impact.

Me getting too excited

Have you ever been to Art Jog? Or do you think you would come if you could? Which one is your favourite piece from this post?


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