We are Anti-Corruption
The deepest respect
after proof turns up,
being forced to
One Hundred Thousand for Rubbish Art
9. [..] Consider the description of Bambang Bujono (Tempo, 11 January 1975). “In neither the invitation to painters to participate in the 1974 Grand Indonesian Painting Exhibition nor the guidelines for the exhibition panel of judges can you find the section normally contained in art exhibition judging guidelines which states that the judges’ decision is final.
Maybe this was why there was a dispute that took the form of the “1974 Black December Declaration” and a condolence funeral wreath that was delivered on behalf of the community to the Jakarta Arts Council for the “Death of Indonesian Painting”. This happened on the last night of 1974, the closing night of the 1974 Art Festival at the Jakarta Arts Center (Taman Ismail Marzuki or TIM). The condolence wreath wasn’t effective anyway, because the security guards at TIM were the ones who “accepted” the wreath, and they then stored it away and locked it in the TIM Dance Studio.”
Compare this to the description of Miklouho-Maklai (1998: 36-37). “On 31 December 1974, during the Grand Indonesian Painting Exhibition held biennially at TIM, an incident occurred that marks the start of the New Art Movement. There was a protest against the judges who awarded prizes to a number of paintings which took the form of a funeral condolence wreath emblazoned with the words, “With condolences for the death of our painting.”
The condolence wreath was delivered on the last day of the exhibition when the prizes were awarded to the winners of the competition that traditionally accompanied the Biennial. This was intended to publicize the students’ anger at the judges who in their view valued only what they described as “decorative and consumerist” painting. The protesters called themselves the “Black December Movement” and it was also supported by students from the Indonesian Academy of Visual Arts (ASRI).”
Look at this photograph:
[..] The first paragraph on page 69 states, “Apart from the wreath, the protesters also wrote a manifesto. Many names signed it especially from Bandung, Jakarta and, of course, the five people from Yogya.”
The question is who were the “five people from Yogya”? It is very surprising that even with his overactive imagination the writer of this book is not able to answer this question.
A short explanation on page 67 of the book makes it possible to speculate about the “five people from Yogya”. But the page only mentions four people, Bonyong, Harsono, Hardi and Nanik Mirna. So who is the person who isn’t mentioned? Because the answer is not provided by the book, we have to consider the historical facts about the Group of Five Young Yogya Painters.
As I mentioned earlier, according to Harsono (2013), the Group of Five Young Yogya Painters that formed in Yogyakarta in 1973 under the “guidance” of Fadjar Sidik (painter, STSRI “ASRI” lecturer and member of the panel of judges for the “Good Paintings” exhibition) was composed of five students from STSRI “ASRI” Yogyakarta, namely, Bonyong Munni Ardhi, FX Harsono, Hardi, Nanik Mirna and Siti Adiyati. (Also see Hendro Wiyanto, “FX Harsono dan Perkembangan Karyanya (1972-2009) [FX Harson and the Development of His Work (1972-2009)]” in Re: Petesi/Posisi FX Harsono [Re: Petition/Position of FX Harsono], (2010: 41-187)*; Dermawan T (2013) and Miklouho-Maklai (1998: 33-34)).
At the 1974 Grand Indonesian Painting Exhibition, or Jakarta Biennial I, they were invited to participate. Apart from them five other STSRI “ASRI” students were listed in the catalog who were also invited, namely, Nyoman Gunarsa, Ris Purwana, Suatmaji, Sudarisman and Subroto SM.
Given these historical facts, I hope no reader will be tempted to speculate and answer that what was meant by the writer of this book by the “five people from Yogya” is Bonyong, Harsono, Hardi, Nanik Mirna and Siti Adiyati, because such speculation would take one down the road of historical liars and the anti-“Red Coat” brigade.
How could it be otherwise, because you need to know that despite being invited to participate in the 1974 Grand Indonesian Painting Exhibition, there were only four members of the Group of Five Young Yogya Painters who signed the “Black December” manifesto, namely, Bonyong, Hardi, Harsono, and Adiyati. (See Harsono (2013); Dermawan T. (2013); Wiyanto (2010: 70) and Miklouho-Maklai (1998: 36-38)). The one person who did not sign the Declaration, of course you can guess, was Nanik Mirna. This is why Nanik did not receive the academic sanction of being “suspended without time limit” from STSRI “ASRI”, as was the case with Bonyong, Hardi, Harsono, Adiyati and Ris Purwana. (See “Skors di ASRI”, Tempo, 15 February 1975; Dermawan T. (tt.: 135); Dermawan T. (2013); Miklouho-Maklai (1998: 38) and Dermawan T. (1979: 2)).”
1974 Black December Declaration
Recalling that over the past few years, artistic and cultural activities have been carried on without a clear cultural strategy, we have come to the conclusion that art and culture entrepreneurs do not display a shred of evidence of the slightest understanding of the most fundamental problems of our culture. This is an indication that for some time a spiritual erosion has been destroying the development of art and culture.
For this reason, we feel the need in this black December of 1974 to declare our opinion regarding the symptoms apparent in the works of Indonesian painting today.
1. That although the diversity of Indonesian painting constitutes an undeniable fact, nevertheless this diversity does not by itself indicate a positive development.
2. That for development that ensures the continuation of our culture, painters have a high calling to provide spiritual direction which is based on humanitarian values, oriented around the reality of social life, and oriented towards the realities of social, cultural, political and economic life.
3. That creativity is the essential nature of painters who employ whatever means to achieve new perspectives for Indonesian painting.
4. That therefore the identity of Indonesian painting in itself has a clear position.
5. That what has hindered the development of Indonesian painting to date is worn out concepts that continue to be professed by the establishment, art and culture entrepreneurs and established artists.
In the interest of saving our painting, now is an appropriate time for us to award an honor to that establishment, the honor of being retired cultural veteran.
Indonesia, 31 December 1974
Source: “Seratus Ribu untuk Sampah Seni Rupa“
Images of the Declaration come from Desember Hitam, GSRB Dan Kontemporer.
Image of Garuda by Kanva Abas from Fase Perkembangan Sejarah Senirupa Indonesia Bagian 2.
For some recent developments in contemporary practice visit another post “NGA: Contemporary Worlds Indonesia“.
* Rath, Amanda Katherine. Re: petisi/posisi : F.X. Harsono / Amanda Katherine Rath … [et al.] Langgeng Art Foundation, Magelang 2010
Poem for a Cigar
By W.S. Rendra
Taking a drag on a fat cigar
Gazing over Great Indonesia
Listening to 130 million people,
And in the sky –
Two or three businessmen squat down –
And shit on their heads.
The sun comes up
And the sun goes down
And all I can see are eight million children
But my questions
Slam into the desks of bureaucrats like a traffic jam,
And the blackboards of educators
Who are cut off from the problems of life.
Eight million children
Cram down one long road,
With no options
With no trees
With no shady places to rest,
With no idea of where they’re going.
Suck in the air
Full of deodorant spray,
I see unemployed graduates
Covered in sweat along the highway;
I see pregnant women
Queuing for pension money.
And in the sky:
The technocrats sprout
That the country is lazy
That the country has to be developed,
Must be “upgraded”,
Made to fit technology that’s imported.
Mountains tower skyward.
The sky a festival of colors at sunset.
And I see
Protests that are pent up
Squeezed under mattresses.
But my questions
Bang into the foreheads of salon poets,
Who write about grapes and the moon
While injustices happen all around them,
And eight million children with no education
Gape at the feet of the goddess of art.
The future hopes of the nation,
Stars swirling in front of their faces,
Below neon advertisements.
The hopes of millions of mothers and fathers
Meld into a gaggle of clamoring voices,
Become a reef under the surface of the ocean.
We have to stop buying foreign formulas.
Textbooks can only provide methods,
But we ourselves have to formulate our condition.
We have to come out into the streets,
Go into the villages,
See for ourselves all the indicators
And experience the real problems.
This is my poem,
A pamphlet for a time of emergency.
What is the point of art,
If it’s cut off from the suffering around it
What is the point of thinking
If it’s cut off from the problems of life.
19 August 1977
This version of Poem for a Cigar (Sajak Sebatang Lisong) comes from State of Emergency, W.S. Rendra, Wild & Woolley, Glebe, 1978, p. 12.
KITLV / Amnesty International Seminar
‘The Politics of Islam in Indonesia: Jakarta elections and beyond’, By Sidney Jones & Chris Chaplin
Is conservative Islam gaining ground in Indonesia? The gubernatorial elections in Jakarta have convinced many that the political clout of Islamic organizations has grown. Demands that the incumbent Basuki Tjahaja Purnama – a Christian of ethnic Hakka Chinese descent better known as Ahok – be convicted of blasphemy have been front and centre of efforts to diminish his electoral popularity. Furthermore, mass demonstrations by Islamic conservatives against the governor have dwarfed policy debates between the gubernatorial candidates.
As Amnesty International have reported, the charge of blasphemy has become increasingly common, with an estimated 106 convictions for blasphemy between 2005 and 2014, compared to approximately 10 during the 33 years of Suharto’s New Order. These developments suggest that religion is increasingly politicised in a country known for its moderate version of Islam.
Yet, not everything is as it seems. During the first round of the elections, Ahok still managed to eke out a small victory. Furthermore, Islamic identity may have played a crucial role in mobilising demonstrators, but the size and success of the rallies was in no small part due to established support networks between Islamic conservatives and politicians who wished to usurp the popular governor.
Accordingly, this talk discusses the ramifications of sectarian mobilisation, debating the wider implications of the Jakarta elections for the agenda of Islamic advocates and their ability to utilise religious and ethnic identity for political purpose. Sidney Jones, a prominent expert on Islam and terrorism in Indonesia will discuss these issues together with Chris Chaplin, a postdoctoral researcher at KITLV.
Sidney Jones: Director, Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, Jakarta, Indonesia. From 2002 to 2013, Jones worked with the International Crisis Group, first as Southeast Asia project director, then from 2007 as senior adviser to the Asia program. Before joining Crisis Group, she worked for the Ford Foundation in Jakarta and New York (1977-84); Amnesty International in London as the Indonesia-Philippines-Pacific researcher (1985-88); and Human Rights Watch in New York as the Asia director (1989-2002). She holds a B.A. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She lived in Shiraz, Iran for one year as a university student, 1971-72, and studied Arabic in Cairo and Tunisia. She received an honorary doctorate in 2006 from the New School in New York.
Chris Chaplin: Researcher, KITLV / Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies. Chris is a postdoctoral researcher at the KITLV, where he is investigating the influence of conservative Islamic movements on ideas of citizenship and civic activism within Indonesian society, specifically focusing on Islamic activism within South Sulawesi. Prior to joining the KITLV, he completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge concerning Salafi piety and mobilisation in Java. Chris has also spent seven years living in Indonesia, researching and consulting for a number of international development institutions and human rights NGOs on issues of village development, elections, and security sector reform. He has been fortunate enough to have spent extensive time living in Java, Sulawesi and West Papua.
Date: Thursday 9 March 2017, Time: 15.30 h – 17.00 h, Venue: Lecture Hall 02, Mathias Vrieshof 2, Leiden University, If you wish to attend please register with Yayah Siegers: firstname.lastname@example.org