Through art, for the future of Jakarta - Jakarta Biennale.


After four years of inactivity, the fine art exhibition Jakarta Biennale returns to present the world of art to Jakartanians from November 21, 2021, to January 21, 2022.

Jakarta Biennale is the oldest fine art exhibition in the city. It was held for the first time in 1974 at the STOVIA building or National Awakening Museum.

This year, the exhibition's theme is "Esok" or "Tomorrow". The exhibition aims to bring attention to multiple aspects and issues of human lives, such as gender, environment, climate change, COVID-19 pandemic, and human rights.

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Unlike a typical art exhibition, it is not held within the confine of art galleries exclusive to a specific group of people. Instead, the team of Jakarta Biennale brought the exhibition to National Museum, National Awakening Museum (STOVIA), and several public spaces in Jakarta, including Ismail Marzuki Park.

Introduced by Dolorosa Sinaga and Farah Wardani, Artistic Director and Program Director of Jakarta Biennale, the exhibition aims to build a hopeful and more creative future.

"JB2021: ESOK was not meant to become an art 'blockbuster' event and also doesn't follow the 'proper' global art model," said Farah in a statement sent to CNN Indonesia. "Instead, it is to help the development of high-quality creations with social meanings, by artists, communities, citizens, and collectives," she added.

Around 38 art pieces created by Indonesian and international artists from the U.S., China, and South Korea, are featured in the exhibition. It is presented as "a victory over the struggle; a present for the city who was in so much pain due to the pandemic."

The exhibition is made possible through collaborations of multiple parties, such as The Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology; Department of Tourism and Creative Economy of the Special Capital Region of Jakarta; Foundation for Arts Initiatives (FFAI); Goethe-Hilfsfonds International Relief Fund; Jakarta Art Council; Jakarta Art Council; Rujak Center for Urban Studies; SAM | Fund for Arts and Ecology, and Yayasan Jakarta Biennale.

Getting to know pieces and programs

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One of the featured art pieces that stand out is the creation of Rania Ho from Beijing due to its massive size - a mural on a sports field with the size of 20x10 meters. It is inspired by Cikunir Tollroad, with soothing colors and designs that can be used to meditate.

Another big featured piece is a red metal structure installation titled "Jakarta Zona Merah" (Red Zone Jakarta) by Yori Antar. Yori explained a name is a form of criticism towards the condition of Jakarta — crowded, flooded, and packed with protests, while also lacking art and culture — in the form of "public art".

To date, art is mainly featured in offices, hotels, museums, and other private spaces. This limits the interaction between the city and the art pieces, creating a stigma surrounding art pieces that they are strictly for a certain group of people.

Sri Astari Rasjid, a renowned Indonesian artist, presented "Multicolor Phoenix Rising" in blue. The installation is a response to the COVID-19 pandemic and a reminder of the blue economy. 

Aside from art exhibitions, Jakarta Biennale also holds various programs, such as curatorial programs, public education, symposium, workshop, film screening, guided tours, and fundraising.

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Some discussions were also made virtual so that they could reach a wider audience. One of them was titled "Invisible Labor in the Art Field", with artists Cecil Mariani and Anggraeni Widhiasih, whose art pieces are also featured in the National Awakening Museum.

Stay up-to-date with the various programs and art pieces featured in the exhibition by heading to Jakarta Biennale's Instagram handle, @jakartabiennale.

As the pandemic is still here, visitors need to make a reservation one day before arrival. Click here to find out more.


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