Episode 1: What I Loved at “2017 Art Jakarta”

Blog-Art FairJakarta

It’s that time of year again. The two biggest art fairs on the scene in Jakarta come front and center from late July to early August. Together, they bring with them top global talent and galleries – primarily from across Indonesia, Asia Pacific, and some other corners of the world. The first of the fairs is known as 2017 Art Jakarta (previously known as Bazaar Art Jakarta, the self-proclaimed “First & Biggest Art Fair in Indonesia”, now in its 8th year running). The second, Art Stage Jakarta, is in its second edition this year and is the sister fair to Singapore’s renowned Art Stage Singapore. It runs from 8 Aug to 13 Aug, across multiple locations.

Though I’m no collector or aficionado, I have always loved art and loved taking time out to immerse myself in it. I find that you can always learn something from the messages and stories people leave behind in the things they make – whether that thing is conceptual, or classical; analog, or digital; real, or surreal.

As a treat for myself, and a bit of a break, I took a few hours on the weekends (and one evening after work) to see what was on show for this year’s fairs. Here’s a profile of the first of these:


Hosted from 27-30 July 2017 in the Ritz Carlton Pacific Place ballroom, this particular show was well-curated and self-contained. All aspects of the show (from seminars to exhibits to projects) were clustered in this one grand ballroom, and it was easy to come in and spend a morning walking around and taking in the work on display.

This year, the theme was “Unity in Diversity.” There were 48 galleries who came in as exhibitors, a Sotheby’s installation, and 4 special projects on display. There were also sponsor booths outside in the foyer (Samsung Galaxy and L’Occitane experiential zones), and some branding inside the main hall (free AQUA Reflections drinking stations scattered between the exhibits).

SothebysSotheby’s at 2017 Art Jakarta

Of the 48 galleries, only one hailed from outside of the Asia Pacific region (Galerie Bruno Massa from Paris, France), and Indonesia’s own took the lion share (19 galleries in total). My personal favorite exhibits and pieces, however, were mixed across the gamut.

Duru Artspace from Korea, for example, had some particularly compelling work by Yoo Sun Tai (also known by the spelling Yu Sun Tae) – full of vibrant, sharp surrealism.

duru art space2 works from Duru Artspace by Yoo Sun Tai

Meanwhile, Bartele Gallery from Jakarta (and the Netherlands), played right into my love for maps and vintage or historical prints.

Pandemonium Paradise – a special project on display in the foyer by Antonio S. Sinaga, was particularly eye-catching and thought-provoking with its approach to championing religious tolerance and diversity using mixed media, collaging, and framing.

pandemonium-paradiseAntonio S Sinaga’s Pandemonium paradise, done for charity and in partnership with Yayasan Kanker Payu Dara Indonesia

Hyper Realism (The Art of Perfection) a solo exhibition by Antoe Budiono, also made me stop and do a double (maybe triple) take to examine more closely the intricacies of his pieces.

Antoe BudionoHyper Realism by Antoe Budiono

I was also proud to see 2 Filipino galleries displaying work from my own, including some beautiful abstract pieces by Ombok Villamor that reminded me of both galaxies, and flowers at the same time. Galerie Joaquin exhibited his work alongside Dominic Rubio’s large-headed portraits and caricatures of (what I interpret as) colonial Filipino life.

ombok-villamorAbstractions by Ombok Villamor

Other artists of note whose work caught my eye included:

  1. Ronald Apriyan whose vibrant, playful paintings really popped out even in the busy environment
  2. Wittawat Tongkeaw with incredible photo-realistic waterscapes/seascapes
  3. Knakorn Kachacheewaand his diverse, illustrative, surrealist work
  4. Arpan Bhowmik whose work had such wonderful, reflective quality to them – equal parts “realistic” and “ethereal” – playing with light and dark (chiaroscuro) in unique ways

Ronald-ApriyanRonald Apriyan’s colorful display

Overall, I was impressed by the scale at which the event was executed. It was my first year to come to it, and while it was certainly not the largest or best art show I’d ever been to, it was the best one I’d been to in Indonesia ‘til that point. Suffice to say, I will be back next year.

For those interested in any of the pieces or galleries, you can click on the links I’ve left above, or visit the different featured galleries’ own sites for more details.

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