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The Biennale Jogja XII will be focusing on the encounter between Indonesia and four countries in Arab region, namely Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. Curated by Agung Hujatnikajennong (Indonesia) and Sarah Rifky (Egypt), the biennale starts from a perspective that sees the contemporary art practice as a representation of modes of ‘productions–distributions–consumptions’ that have shaped the cultural globalization, as stated:
"Capital flow and exchange has transformed our understanding of nature, of ideas, and how we encounter the reality of moving, of being mobile, informs our perception of things. The exhibition will be conducted along the lines of collaborations encounters and exchanges – with artworks, artists and ideas. In the manner of a conversation, the exhibition is not incited by a theme, but is informed by the works that shape it. Traversing notions of homeland, diaspora, other places, migration, travel, circulation, of finance, of art works, of experience, from the lines that connect places through the economy and experience of migrant labor, to products, replicated, transformed, morphed, reproduced to the rehearsal of rituals; not only culture, the artwork in its own right becomes a site of syncretism – in the linguistic sense, speaking to Yogakarta as city, described as 'syncretic' in its cultural political formation." (Agung Hujatnikajennong and Sarah Rifky)
To be held from 16 November 2013 - 6 January 2014, the curatorial premise takes an inspiration from the migration of people and goods, as well as long, historical encounters and exchanges between Indonesia and the Arab region. It will show works by artists not only from Indonesian and Arab regions (by passport/nationalities), as one of the consequences of taking 'mobility' as one of the keywords in the exhibition.
Participating artists include:
Agus Suwage, Agung Kurniawan, Duto Hardono, Eko Nugroho, FX Harsono, Leonardiansyah Allenda, Otty Widasari, Prilla Tania, Restu Ratnaningtyas, Syagini Ratna Wulan, Samuel Indratma, Sigit Pius, Tisna Sanjaya, Tintin Wulia, Reza Afisena, Ugo Untoro, Venzha Christiawan, Ahmed Mater, Dina Denish, Hassan Khan, Jasmina Metwaly, Magdi Mostafa, Mohamed Abdelkarim, Nasir Nasrallah, Salwa Aleryani, Take to The Sea, Tiong Ang, Wael Shawky, Asuncion Molinos, Ayman Yossri, Basim Magdy, and others.
The Biennale Jogja, Equator series: 2011 - 2022
In 2011, The Yogyakarta Biennale Foundation (YBY) launched the BIENNALE EQUATOR project, a long-term exhibition series which will run until 2022. YBY is determined to foster new perspectives in contemporary art discourse, as well as opening up critical thinking towards established conventions on the concept of ‘internationalism’ across the international art world. ‘Equator’ will become a common platform though which we are able to re-read the world and do away with centralised totalitarian approaches by providing a work space on the equatorial belt built on open mindedness. In each exhibition up til 2022, The Jogja Biennale will work with one country or region along the equator to invite artists in the area to exhibit, create, and discuss with Indonesian artists and artist collectives.
The Biennale Equator Series #1 has succeeded working together with India. Titled Shadow Lines, curated by Alia Swastika (Indonesia) and co-curated by Suman Gopinath (India), Biennale Equator #1 brought together over 45 artists and attracted more than 30,000 domestic and foreign visitors over 45 days. This year, Biennale Equator #2 will work together with countries from the Arab region. Throughout the series, The Biennale Equator will head to the west, working with countries that stretch between the 23.27°NL and 23.27°SL area. The Biennale Equator will work together with countries from Africa (BJXIII, 2015), Latin America (BJIV), Australia and The Pacific (BJXV, to be known as ‘The Ocean Biennale’, which will celebrate the uniqueness of this region), Southeast Asia (BJXVI, 2021), and will finally close with the Equator Conference in 2022.
The Biennale Jogja XII Equator #2
In 2013, Biennale Jogja XII Equator #2 (Biennale Equator #2) will cooperate with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates with an exhibition curated by Agung Hujatnikajennong (Indonesia) and Sarah Rifky (Egypt). Agung Hujatnikajennong has offered the theme of mobility as a curatorial concept for the Biennale Equator #2.
The ideas of Mobility starts from the perspective that sees the contemporary art practice as a manifestation of modes of productions – distributions – consumptions that apply in the global art scene. Globalization offers new routes of Mobility for the process of migration, exchange and crossings of the agents, in terms of both ideas and esthetics. As a result, the art world has gone through a siginificant expansion. The life cycles of art – as ideas or objects – becomes more complex. For artists, this can make things easier, as well provide new challenges. On one hand, new possibilities experiment esthetically through interactions with new social fields are opened up. But on the other hand, artists also face the new mechanism of unpredictable global multiplication, expansion, intensification and acceleration, which has potential to reduce their cultural autonomy as an individual. Through Mobility, artists deal with the urgency to rethink the function and position of art in the society.
The concept of Mobility will be manifested in activities with two main targets:
1. To understand and map the patterns of creation and production of art that have occurred through the migration of Indonesian and Arab artists.
2. To create new channels that offer new potential for migration/exchanges between artists from Indonesia and the Arab countries, which means to encourage more esthetic experimentation as well as new artistic creations and productions.
The Biennale Jogja XII Equator #2 Programs
1. Main exhibition accompanied by an artist residency program.
2. Side Programs:
a) Parallel Events: Art events creation competition program.
b) Equator Festival: A city festival which pushes the boundaries of the community’s creativity.
3. Supporting program consisting of international symposia, artists talks and workshops.
4. The Biennale Jogja Awards Program.
5. Volunteer and Internship Program.
Indonesian Encounter with Arab Countries
Interactions between Indonesia and the Arab countries have occurred since the 7th century, when there were crowded links of international trades through the Malacca Strait that connected various cultures (such as China, Sriwijaya Kingdom and the Banni Ummayah). The spread of Arab cultures and Islam occurred through trading relations. The construction of Indonesia as the country with the biggest Muslim population in the world today is inseparable from the historical fact of the interaction between the locals and the Arab culture at that time.
Today, the issues of relations between Indonesia and the Arab countries become more significant for discussion. In the context of global culture, the dynamic contemporary art development in the Arab peninsula and South East Asia have become prominent factors to motivate building a stronger bond between Indonesia and the Arab countries. The two regions are not regarded as the mainstream of modern art that is centered in Europe and US. Following up current economic and political changes in the world, there has been a new awareness among art practitioners in the peripheral areas, including the ones from Asia-Pacific and the Arab regions, to initiate international-scale exhibitions, art fairs and artists residency programs that eventually construct a new topography on the international art map. Contemporary art practices in Indonesia and Arab countries have potential as a new category that challenges existing stereotypes —such as the category of ‘art from the Islamic world’—that has so far resulted from the dominant system of representation in the global art scene.
Since early 2000s, the organizing of international-scale exhibitions, whether in Indonesia and the Arab countries, have not only been individual efforts to build new infrastructure for local art development. The exhibitions should be seen as a collective strategy to negotiate identity among the dynamics and complexities of the global art scene. Biennale Jogja in Indonesia, and a number of big events that have occurred in the Arab regions like Egypt, UAE, Dubai and Qatar – such as Art Dubai and Sharjah Biennale – have become important hubs to define the localities of the regions, apart from so many international events in Europe and America. Such initiatives must be understood as a strong assets at the local level, and should be developed further to become more concrete programs, which could serve to encounter the art practices from the two regions more intensively and deeply. Biennale Equator #2 is a way to achieve that goal.
Curators of the Biennale Jogja XII Equator #2
Agung Hujatnika a.k.a Agung Hujatnikajennong is a lecturer in the Faculty of Arts and Design at the Institute of Technology in Indonesia. He attained his doctorate from the Institute of Technology, Bandung, with a dissertation on curatorial practice in Indonesia. Since 1999 he has written articles about art in various kinds of mass media and presented seminars nationally and internationally. Agung has undertaken curatorial residencies in Australia (Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane; Drill Hall Gallery, Canberra, 2002) and in Japan (Nanjo and Associates, Tokyo, 2004). Since 2001 he has been the curator at Selasar Sunaryo Art Space and curated several exhibitions in Indonesia and abroad. Among these are OK Video – Jakarta Video Festival (2003, and SUB/VERSION, 2005); Bandung New Emergence (2006, 2008, 2010); Agus Suwage’s solo exhibition I/CON (2007); Handiwirman Saputra In Lingo (2008); Heri Dono’s solo exhibition Nobody’s Land (2008). In 2009, he was the curator of Fluid Zones, the main exhibition in the Jakarta Biennale program: ARENA.
Sarah Rifky lives and works in Cairo, Egypt. Since 2009 she has been the curator at Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art and taught at The American University in Cairo, and earned a Master’s degree in Critical Studies from the Malmö Art Academy at Lund University, Sweden. She is one of the editors of the book Damascus: Tourists, Artists and Secret Agents. Projects that Sarah has curated include Invisible Publics (Cairo, 2010), The Popular Show (Cairo, 2011), an accord is first and foremost a proposition (New York, 2011) and The Bergen Accords (Bergen, 2011). Last year Sarah was one of the curatorial agents for dOCUMENTA (13). Alongside this she was a guest jury member for the Artist in Residence program, Art Dubai. Sarah’s current role is as director of CIRCA (Cairo International Resource Centre for Art).
Artistic Director Biennale Jogja XII Equator #2
Farah Wardani attained a Master’s degree in Art History (20th Century) from the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, London, UK, in 2001. Since 2007, Farah has been the director of the Indonesian Visual Art Archive (IVAA) in Yogyakarta. Apart from this she has worked on collaborative projects which have involved various arts institution, among others Cemeti Art House, ruangrupa, Edwin’s Gallery, Nadi Gallery, Valentine Willie Fine Arts (Kuala Lumpur), Element Art Space (Singapore), Asia Art Archive, and Melbourne International Fine Art (MIFA). In 2007, along with Carla Bianpoen and Wulan Dirgantoro, she wrote the book Indonesian Women Artists: The Curtain Opens. In 2011, she was a curatorial consultant for the exhibition Indonesian Eye: Fantasies and Realities at Saatchi Gallery, London. One of her recent projects is being a curator for Google Chrome Open Spaces 2012.
About Biennale Jogja
Jogja Biennale (Biennale Jogja, BJ) is an event that has become one of the main parameters of art development in Indonesia. The history of the event starts in 1988, in Yogyakarta. For more than two decades, the artistic programs of BJ have been contributing greatly to the emergence of the works, artists and dicourses that enrich the contemporary art scene in Yogyakarta and Indonesia in general.
About Biennale Yogyakarta Foundation
Biennale Yogyakarta Foundation (Yayasan Biennale Yogyakarta, YBY) established on August 23, 2010. The Mission of YBY is to initiate and facilitate efforts to achieve a strategic concept of urban planning based on art and culture and to improve the blueprint for cultural city of the future as a space for fair and democratic living.
YBY also focussing themselves on the development and management of the cultural resources as an effort to build and optimize all the potential of the people creating art and cultural heritage as well as the utilization of all the cultural assets which exist in the Special Region of Yogyakarta.
Biennale Jogja XII Equator #2
Not A Dead End – Indonesia Encounters the Arab Region
Artists from Indonesia, Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
16 November 2013 - 6 January 2014
Artistic Director: Farah Wardani