IO, Solo – The ancient city of Solo contains many murals, sited in various locations. One of the spots that is currently “happening” is located on Jalan Gatot Subroto.
The street mural art gallery was carefully designed by a number of young Solo mural artists, in order to prove to everyone that Solo’s rich art and culture continue to develop every day. They turned the façades and rolling doors of at least 40 shops into canvases for their murals.
The murals contain nationalistic images and graffiti. They are part of the “Solo is Solo” program, which is dedicated to creating new travel destinations and tourist icons. Among the paintings are portraits, including that of President Joko Widodo, a portrait of Gesang Martohartono, Indonesia’s keroncong maestro known worldwide for decades for his Bengawan Solo; Kiai Haji Ahmad Mustofa Bisri, a.k.a. Gus Mus; and singer Nike Ardilla. Others have the themes of the Youth Pledge, struggles for independence, and current youth and pop culture. Some celebrate cultural heritage, such as women making batik and men playing the gamelan; while others are funky and cute like soldiers in pink uniforms with the slogan “Make Love Not War” boldly emblazoned above them.
With its new look, the area becomes the locals’ new favorite hangout spot, especially at night. They usually just visit and take selfies, as the murals only show themselves fully after the shops are closed for business. They glow under strategically placed spotlights, showing off a colorful view.
We hope that this mural craze would inspire the young to stop vandalism by making meaningless doodles on public walls, and start creating murals instead. (Dessy)