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Reminiscing Indonesian Art Scene through “Piknik 70-an”

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Jakarta, IO – One cannot help but feel amazed at seeing the dozens of works of art from the 1970s being exhibited at the National Gallery, Wednesday (9/8). The artists are so good at expressing their thoughts in works that feel free, critical as well as aesthetic.

Of the dozens of collections on display, the work titled “Peta Bumi Indonesia Baru” by Priyanto Sunarto in 1976 is one of the most eye-catching. It makes the ‘other shape’ of the country’s map should be; the area has not changed, but the position of the island has been changed. Through his work, Priyanto seems to criticize the country’s uneven development.

As the name implies, the collective exhibition makes visitors feel as if they have entered a time tunnel. They are invited to see the world in which the artists grew up during Indonesia’s difficult times, to the point where they try to escape the existing bitterness.

Priyanto Sunarto
Priyanto Sunarto’s “Peta Bumi Indonesia Baru” on display at Piknik 70-an. (IO/Umamah)

Alam Wisesha, one of the curators, said moving away from these difficult times was one of the reasons he chose to exhibit works created during 1970-1979. This period is considered important because in addition to reflecting changes in the country’s fine arts, it is also the forerunner of the freedom of expression that has been maintained till this day.

“We want to cut off a small phase from the history of Indonesian art which is actually complete. The events were very busy, and there were many tendencies (in work). This decade also opened up many tendencies that we see today,” Alam told Observerid.com.

Through the exhibition, Alam also said he wanted to invite visitors to have fun and experience the dynamics of Indonesian art that might not be recorded in history books.

Alam Wisesha
Alam Wisesha, one of the curators of Piknik 70-an. (IO/Pebriawan)

“As if you are on a picnic trip, this exhibition is an attempt to be recreational, refresh your memory, mind, and have fun without burdens,” added the artist from Yogyakarta.

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Piknik 70-an displays 65 works by 54 artists divided into five categories, namely ‘Lyrical and Decorative’, ‘Significant Forms’, ‘Archipelagic Imagery’, ‘Exploration of Materiality’, and ‘The Search for Forms New’. Apart from Priyanto, there are Edi Sunaryo, I Nyoman Nuarta, Abas Alibasyah, Siti Adiyati Subangun, Bagong Kussudiardja, Jim Supangkat, Bonyong Munny Ardhie, and many more.

The exhibition is open from Thursday (10/8) to Thursday (31/8) at Building A, National Gallery of Indonesia, Central Jakarta. It is open to the public and is free of admission. (un)

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