Jogyakarta is known and loved for its Borobudur Temple and cave diving activities, but what is truly interesting and underground about Jogyakarta is its art scene and the community that its artists have built around their studios and the galleries there. Some believe that this is because the Sultan is benevolent, and values culture as a major pillar of the city. Others say it's the proximity to the Merapi Volcano and therefore the spiritual gravitas nature lends as inspiration to artists, and yet others say it's because Jogyakarta is the heart of Indonesia, and the place where politics, nature and culture all intersect and dialogue. The art scene there thrives due to its vibrant community of artists.
Jogyakarta rises early. Sunrise is when the paddy fields come alive with work, roosters crow and the market vendors start setting up on the street.
8 - 9am: Printmaking workshops @ Grafis Minggiran
Learn to make lithography prints the old fashioned way at this print studio with the seven master printmakers.
9:15 - 10am: Visit to artist Heri Dono’s Studio Kalahan
Formerly old Dutch police headquarters during the Second World War, the location is somewhat poignant for his work and his political agenda.
Photo: Kevin Koh
It’s interesting to visit in the day, but I find a little creepy in the evening with his large displays of his sculptures of despot dictators, Indonesian politicians and puppet theatre artworks all working kinetically.
There are several beautiful artist studios, including Jumaldi Alfi’s studio, that really looks like a lush resort. Lucky the artist who gets invited to do a residency at this space.
Photo: Kevin Koh
11am - 12pm: Affandi Museum
Visit the Affandi home and museum to peruse the expressive paintings of the renowned Indonesian modern master.
Shaped like the undergrowth of a banana tree, to look at this modern master’s work. The artist is well known to most and his works show up often at the regular auctions, so to see these masterpieces in his home and museum in this most eccentric of buildings, is an intimate way to get to know the artist. The museum showcases work across different periods of his life and is lovingly maintained by his family.
12 - 1 pm: Lunch at Bu Ageng Javanese specialties
Wonderful Javanese restaurant serving a large selection of food at unbelievable prices. A feast to share often costs no more than US $4-5 per person.
After Lunch: Visit to different styles of contemporary art galleries:
Sangkring Art Space, Ark Galerie and Cemeti Art House, with introduction to the exhibition and its programmes by the Gallery Manager.
In terms of galleries to actually do a bit of scouting for art for your collection, Sangkring Art Space is a commercial art gallery that showcases modern and contemporary art, featuring the best of Indonesian contemporary art alongside younger and more avant garde artists in its spacious exhibition area. What is spectacular about it is the modern building that sits defiantly amongst the rice paddy fields. Another excellent commercial art gallery is the Ark Galerie. Since 2008, Ark Galerie has been curated by Programme Director Alia Swastika, who was the director of Jogja Biennale 2015. Besides always putting on curatorially strong and challenging projects of the most exciting contemporary artists in Jogyakarta or visiting artists, it also has a very good photo opportunity. Cemeti Art House is also a must to visit to inspire. This space was founded 20 years ago by artist couple Mella Jaarsma & Nindyto who have with great dedication have published and put on fantastic programmes.
Insider Tip: There is a great photo opportunity by the steps outside of the Ark Galerie.
Across the street from Ark Galerie is the collection of Mr Deddy Irianto at Langgeng Art Foundation.
3 - 4 pm: Visit the energetic artist collective “Ace House”
Their 24-hour supermarket “Ace Mart” that sells contemporary art alongside daily groceries and necessities such as toothbrushes, tampons and cigarettes.
4 - 5 pm: Coffee at Kedai Kebun Forum
Kedai Kebun Forum is an artist-run space with a taste for strong Javanese coffee and snacks!
Alternatively, hop over to the next street to buy Monggo Chocolates for souvenirs, delicious treats which incorporate a Belgian technique of making chocolate with the best of Indonesian cocoa beans.
Dinner: We have taken some of our more adventurous guests to look for “Satay Klatak”, which means Satay skewered on the bicycle spokes. This is delicious, freshly slaughtered meat that is immediately barbequed above coal. As a Singaporean used to very clean street eats I was a little squeamish on the surrounding, but the food is definitely top on taste and authenticity.
Image courtesy of Kevin Koh of the Metropolitan Festival Orchestra
Do not miss the upcoming artist-run Art Fair! Art Jog runs from 19 May – 19 June 2017
The Arnoldii Arts Club is a high-end exclusive platform that is commissioned to conduct customised tours for specific groups, be it private banks, young collectors’ networks or specialised groups looking for art engagement activities. The tour guides selected for each group are handpicked for their professional and personable personalities, as well as their strong industry background in the event of any further requests. Most professionals have gallery, auction house or art historian backgrounds or significant work experience, and are able to answer any pertinent questions, aid in any art consultancy or acquisition requests.
A selection of Arnoldii’s recent tours include:
- 2–3 VIP tours for Art Stage Singapore 2012
- Prudential – UOB Private Bank “Investing in Art for the Future” Seminar followed by Tours of Gillman Barracks July 2016
- Visiting celebrity art tours through the district of Gillman Barracks – Ongoing
- YNG Tour to Jogyakarta October 2016