NINE +- 1 Exhibition


Presentation, inconjunction to NINE +-1 Exhibition

26 March, 1:30pm at FASS 1014,

Sabancı University

Re-introducing of Craft and Indigenous Art Materials in Contemporary Art of Southeast Asia.

In recent years, contemporary Southeast Asian artists have been producing a wealth of artistic work never before witnessed in the region. The ASEAN-Committee on Culture and Information (COCI) report has shown the breadth, depth, multiplicity, and variety of artwork ASEAN visual artists have produced. Many continue to use traditional styles, while others have borrowed forms and techniques from the West. Whether traditional or modern, these artists have created works that continue to reflect the experiences of the region even as they respond to many concerns, both national and international.

Current landscapes of creativity affected by technological advancements help create a plethora of materials and equipment available to artists which leads to shifts in concepts and norms of art and culture. Torrents of change have consistently stormed the very essence of many traditional cultures of Asian nations such that contemporary art manifests various gravities of dissonance.

A glaring fact of modernism in most Southeast Asian countries is the absence of formal indigenous academic arts training vis-à-vis the imposition or voluntary adoption of Euro-American art academism in local education. Indigenous arts have been either subverted into tourist items or at best, revered museum specimens of dying traditions. Interest in studying Asian indigenous art meant anthropological excursions by white scholars in lands considered exotic. Indigenous arts, largely neglected in official spheres, have relied on the tenacity of the Asian artist’s soul to prosper into today’s rich, vibrant art vista.

Realising this, this talk seeks to identify and tap into the various traditional handicrafts, originally produced as part of the functional and utilitarian aspect of daily life, which contemporary artists in the region have adapted elements for their work. This talk discusses the issues surrounding the use and influence of craft in contemporary art in South East Asia, relating to notions of methods, materials, identities, the domestic versus the public, time of production, as well as nature and the environment.

By, Betty Susiarjo and Salleh Japar