Art events in Indonesia: Art Jakarta 2017 begins 9th edition

A brief look back at ‘Bazaar Art’, and what we can expect from the newly named ‘Art Jakarta’

Jul 27, 2017 | By Art Republik

Kunihiko Nohara, Booth view at Gallery UG, Japan

On 27 July 2017, Indonesia’s first art fair, ‘Bazaar Art’, will begin its 9th edition as ‘Art Jakarta’. The new name is in line with the spirit of the time when art fairs are made to highlight the city where it is held. Founded in 2009 by Bazaar Art Magazine,  the fair resulted from the felt need for bringing art closer to the people. “At that time we were encouraged by galleries that had no place to adequately display the works of their artists,” says Indriati Wirjanto, head of this year’s fair committee.

Of course, a lot has changed over the years, and with art fairs popping up in Singapore and elsewhere in the region, it has become more challenging to get galleries to participate. It became even more challenging last year when another commercial art fair, Art Stage Jakarta, entered the scene in Indonesia’s capital. But Bazaar Art remained undeterred, or so it seemed.

In fact, competition raked up their energy evoking creative powers to emerge as never before. Vivi Yip was appointed the fair director and Rifky Effendy the creative director.  Vivi is known as an art lover, curator and collector, with ten years’ experience as Sotheby’s representative for art from Southeast Asia. Passionate about contemporary art development in Indonesia and beyond, she has helped many young artists to come to the fore. She successfully founded Vivi Yip ArtRoom, and further extended art activism by founding the Young Indonesian Contemporary Artists (YICA).

Rifky has a long track record for curating. He too is passionate about art and the young. Rifky co- founded Platform 3 as a venue for new and upcoming artists and has been a jury member of the prestigious Bandung Contemporary Art Award. He co-founded the Jakarta Contemporary Ceramics Biennale, and co-established inkubatorasia, a Jakarta-based space dedicated to promoting emerging contemporary artists. His portfolio as a curator is on both a national and international scale, including his role as the co-curator of the Indonesia Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.  He is about to open his own gallery, called Orbital Dago, in Bandung.

Bazaar Art in 2016 appeared energised to the utmost. Unlike its previous editions, it was fresh, infused with a youthful visionary strategy and a strong sense of self. It was inclusive, more plural than ever, and it had something for everyone, with interactive fun works, an auction of collectible items like sneakers designed by upcoming artists, performances that included the audience, and last but not least, a fine dinner that was not only for exclusive invitees but was open to all.

Entang Wiharso, Special Project by Gallery Canna, Indonesia.

Many galleries reported they had acquired new customers, including young collectors whose visit to this fair was their first. “It was heartening to find that in spite of the economic situation, galleries were eager to participate, the general public was enthusiastic, and sales were good,” said Indriati, referring to 104 billion IDR in total sales. There were 24 participating galleries highlighting 630 artists with 2,000 art works (according to the newly printed brochure).

However, while sales always matter for an art fair, it was not all about commercial gain. Programmes of fun, education and game playing became a major part of the show. In this, ‘Reading Centhini’ was a special highlight, whereby the artist, director and performer Christina simulated the building of a Javanese home as a metaphor for building our lives to achieve perfection and harmony. Another highlight was the auction of sneakers designed by well-known young and upcoming artists, which saw heated bidding.

There will be no director this year with Vivi’s departure from the fair, as she wants to focus on her own gallery concerns again.  Vivi said her experience as a fair director was never started for professional gain, but that it was passion with a bit of patriotism. “It was a great experience,” she said. “I got everything, the fierce competition, the challenge to upgrade the fair to a different level, and creating a system so the team could follow through when I left.”

Assisting Indriati as the fair committee’s head are deputies Deddy Koswara and Ria, and Penny Binarwati as the operational manager. Rifky remains as the creative director. The question for the inaugural Art Jakarta will be if it will live up to the standard of the 2016 fair. It goes without saying that the committee is working on it.

Sri Astar, Booth iPreciation, Singapore.

Although the number of participating art galleries is still changing, and no fixed numbers could be given when I met the team in May, the programmes have been fixed. Ria explains that it will be made even more accessible to the public, while Deddy reveals an extension with performance art including ‘ Wayang Potehi’, a typical type of wayang that had existed in China for over 3000 years, and came to the Indonesian archipelago between the 16th and 19th century. Furthermore, the popular auctioning programme with sneakers designed by artists will this time also include ceramic design plates.

Very new to the fair will be a special focus on video art, and a surprise project collaboration with international designers and industries is in the offing to merge contemporary art with fashion.

Not to be missed is the publication of Bazaar Art magazine, which will for the first time appear in English.

It is yet another effort to reach out beyond the local crowd and attract foreign lovers of the art to the capital city. “We have always believed that art is the pillar of our magazine,” concludes Indriati.

If it is true that art and art collecting have become an undeniable part of the contemporary lifestyle, then to watch and enjoy, and eventually buy art works, has become part of life itself. And Art Jakarta seems to be intent on being an all-important part of life in the city.

More information at

This article was written by Carla Bianpoen for Art Republik.

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