Friday, December 1, 2023 | 05:01 WIB

“Elegi Buih” exhibition invites visitors to “grieve” together in many different ways


Jakarta, IO – Everyone can grieve in their own way, said curator Stella Wenny. She gathered eight artists to interpret the theme of grief that humans go through through the exhibition titled ‘Elegi Buih’ by Art Agenda.

“I see the sea until now as a resting place for the people we care about, not just a beautiful scenery,” Stella told the Independent Observer, Saturday (19/8).

That’s because Stella wants to describe how water can connect memories with loved ones as well as being physically separated. She recounted that her mother was cremated and her ashes scattered to the sea.

“The first artist I invited is Alexandra Karyn. I commissioned her to do a kind of ritual of going to sea,” Stella said.

“We spread memories from the water that is brought from our homes to the middle of the sea. So, it’s like we grieve together in the middle of the sea,” she added.

Live, Die, Double Happiness (2023) Olen Riyanto. (IO/Aini Tartinia)

The exhibition features 33 works by eight artists. Stella wants to invite people who feel they don’t fit into the concept of grief in general, such as having to always be sad or even agreeing with the theory of stages of grief.

“So far we know that grief has five stages. I don’t agree, because there are many phases that we definitely don’t go through together. Everyone grieves in their own way and level,” said Stella.

One of the works that caught attention was a pile of 40 bolsters sewn together with embroidery thread and arranged with steel wire. Olen Riyanto’s work of art titled Live, Die, Double Happiness (2023) wants to depict a kind of gateway between life and death.

Finally, Softly and Last Living Word (2023) Kurt D Peterson. (IO/Aini Tartinia)

“One bolster was intentionally not sewn. So, only 39 were sewn. Because in Chinese culture, 4 is the number of death. Olen sort of wants to avoid death, but he also wants to get closer to it,” said Stella.

Stella also revealed that if visitors looked more closely, there was a pattern of the Chinese character “double happiness” which is commonly used in weddings.

“This shows that life must cherish happy moments, even though one day we will die. If you can be happy, yes, just be happy first,” she said.

Other interesting works are Last Living Word (2023) and Finally, Softly (2023). These masterpieces by Kurt D Peterson consists of 10 carved teak frames with a collection of handwritten poems on glass.  Uniquely, the writing of the poem is transparent at a glance, and it is only readable if visitors turn on their flashlight from their cellphone to read it through the shadows on the wall.

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“I want to highlight that when we are grieving, there are times when we can’t see everything that is blurry. So, we need someone’s help, and how to read with a flashlight is an illustration of us needing light to walk straight again, while carrying that grief,” she said.

The eight artists who participated in the exhibition are Alexandra Karyn, Irene Febry, Kurt D Peterson, Mutiara Riswari, Olen Riyanto, Rega Ayundya Putri, Wanti Amelia and Yohan Liliyani. It runs until September 30th at Wisma Geha, Jakarta. (Aini Tartinia)


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