Gajah Gallery proudly presents Contemplating Alternatives. Turning the spotlight on Indonesian women artists at the onset of their careers, this curatorial premise frames their work through the lens of alternative paths that women artists before them have carved—and how, whether consciously or subconsciously, they are similarly beginning to plant alternatives both for themselves and for a future generation of women artists working in Indonesia, through their own distinct practices.
The exhibit then explores the unique ways these alternate perspectives and practices are present in their work: from alternate depictions of femininity and roles of women beyond domesticity; insights into the distinct traditions, philosophies, and spiritualities from which they come; expressions of nature and the familiar landscapes they inhabit, altering their relationship to their environments; ways of seeing their own abstract, interior landscapes; to ways of recalling and retelling their pasts and stories.
Ultimately, the exhibit illuminates how the search for alternatives must constantly be critiqued and sustained, taking into account the value of both continuity and change, in order to carve a more fruitful, inclusive, and hopeful future for women artists in Indonesia.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Anis Kurniasih (b. 1994, Indonesia) believes that humans and nature exist in inseparable unity, that the biological components found in nature are interrelated, functional, and interdependent on each other. Kurniasih feels that mankind sustain their lives by drawing from elements of their environment, finding nourishment from even the tiniest things that grow around us. Kurniasih finds the environment to be an integral part of human life and that we are merely abstractions with it. She mostly works with a ballpoint medium to portray the natural form that we find in our daily life. She does this because unlike graphite, ink cannot be erased; she understands that in some aspects, there are various forms of failure and the urge to erase mistakes may be overwhelming and uses her practice to say every creature has an extraordinary adaptive ability and can grow perfectly even beyond their flaws.
Anis Kurniasih graduated from Sebelas Maret University, Surakarta, in 2017. She was awarded the bronze medal for UOB Painting of the year in 2017 in the emerging artists category. Kurniasih lives in Jogja while continuing her studies in the master’s program in ISI Yogyakarta.
Ayurika (b. 1996, Grobogan) believes that some events that occur directly in contact with the body build certain human conditions. She considers the body to be a container, a kind of memory storage and also a revealing medium to convey emotions. She understands that everyone has personal moments and unique experiences that sometimes leave traces- gestures, expressions, and marks on the skin. Her obsession with the body and scars is the beginning of her personal observation that motivates her to create works. Ayurika works not as a woman who has more power to get to a certain place, but rather to work as a human who shares her ideas by creating works.
Ayurika has been a student at the Indonesian Institute of Arts since 2014. She was commended for creating one of the best paintings in a competition that was organized by Basoeki Abdulullah Museum in Vredeburg fort, Yogyakarta, in 2018, and was one of nominees for Young Artists China 2017 in Beijing.
Desy Gitary (b. 1980, Lampung) previously worked as a TV journalist, news anchor, and script writer for a TV show. As a self-taught artist, Gitary does not try hard to create accurate visual depictions- rather; she focuses on the character, memories, and hopes of her subjects. Most of her works centralise on the human figure and are done in charcoal, a medium she believes is similar to herself- fragile but strong. Her works bear many concepts, ranging from her personal memories and hopes to her regrets and the unpredictable rules she is forced to navigate. Charcoal, pastels, and acrylic are the main medium she uses to create paintings of all sizes on canvas and paper. She applies layers and uses short strokes when drawing to blur the objects in her works and present the complexity of feeling and mind.
Since 2016, Gitary has had two solo exhibitions, 07:00 at Ruang Dalam Art House, Yogjakarta, in 2016, and Beyond at Syang Art space, Magelang, in 2018. Desy Gitary has two studios situated in the cities of Jakarta and Yogjakarta in Indonesia.
Dini Nur Aghnia
Dini Nur Aghnia (b. 1995, Gresik), currently student at the Institut Seni Indonesia in Yogyakarta, is a visual artist who works with the unique medium of clay on canvas. She sculpts painted clay into discs and positions them on canvas so as to create the image she envisions. Her brightly-coloured depictions of the Indonesian landscape highlight the small victories we should be grateful for each passing day.
Dyah Retno (b.1994, Indonesia)
For Dyah Retno (b. 1994, Indonesia), working with ceramics seems to be like a miniature of life: how it feels to conceive, give birth, raise and give life and soul to something else. Working with ceramics becomes a medium of meditation, reflecting on how we cannot live and work alone – there is nature and God with all its secrets and plans.
In her practice, she experiments with methods such as processing clay waste, glaze and other processes related to chemical science. In working with ceramics, she has found a new vocabulary: rather than viewing events as successes and failures, instead she sees them on a scale from ‘as expected’ to ‘the unpredictable’. Her artistic practice attempts to merge chemistry and science into her art.
Dyah Retno graduated from the Yogyakarta Art Institute in 2012. Her first solo exhibition in 2017 was entitled Physis.
Fika Ria Santika
Nature has always been an unlimited source of inspiration to Fika Ria Santika (b. 1987, West Sumatra). Born and raised in the Minangkabau Highlands of West Sumatra, a society which adopts the nature into everyday life, she seeks inspiration from themes such as unexplained change, cycles of life and inevitable growth. In particular, the phrase ‘Alam Takambang Jadi Guru,’ which means “Nature is the best teacher,” is familiar to most Minang people, but it leaves Fika wondering about its relevance to youths today. Departing from this thought, she makes sure to embrace the essence of Minangkabau as she travels out of Indonesia; always keeping it in mind as she encounters different ways of life.
Fika Ria Santika graduated from Padang State University, Padang – Indonesia in 2010 and graduated from ISI Yogyakarta – Indonesia in 2012 for Magister. She was a winner of Mural Design Contest at National Gallery of Indonesia in 2014. Recently she undertook a residency at Selasar Sunaryo Artspace, Bandung – Indonesia in 2015.
Loli Rusman’s (b. 1979, Bukittinggi) approach to her works has been largely informed by the duality of nature and humankind. Perhaps similar to her fellow artists from West Sumatra, she perceives the two things as inseparable and this provides her with sources of artistic engagement. Loli’s focus on the materiality of her medium underlines her distinct approach to her discipline.
Loli graduated from Indonesian Institute of the Arts (ISI Yogyakarta) in has actively exhibited in Indonesia, with group exhibitions in Yogyakarta, Magelang and Surabaya. In 2015 she was one of the finalists in Ciputat International Painting Festival, Tangerang.
Living as a female Balinese artist for Satya Cipta (b. 1988, Indonesia) is quite a challenge in a culture and society that is largely dominated by male chauvinism. She uses her art practice as a tool to express her personal struggle and expression against this domination. The core element of this domination is of course the body, which is why the body in her painting is the crucial site of her critique and expression. Yet, her world has also been surrounded by the immense beauty and spirituality of Balinese art and culture; these two elements are therefore simultaneously embodied in her art practice.
Satya Cipta has been painting since her childhood. Although she majored in theater at the Jakarta Institute of the Arts (IKJ), painting has always been part of her daily life. Her first exhibition as a professional painter was in the national art exhibition EPICENTRUM in Manado, North Sulawesi in 2016. In 2017 she was invited to La Salle College of Arts, Singapore as a new media artist in residence and showed her video art work at the Déjà Vu art event. After participating in many other group exhibitions in 2018, she did her first solo exhibition at Puri Lukisan Museum, Ubud-Bali. Following that solo exhibition she participated in Art Bali (2018), Intimist 2 (Hongkong 2019), and her second solo exhibition at The Oberoi, Bali (2019).