Haverford Welcomes Indonesian Artists For Cross-Cultural Collaboration
Can art help to build an international bridge in a time of high worldwide tension? Haverford believes it can. October 17-26, the College's Center for Peace and Global Citizenship will host an Indonesian group of artists who work collaboratively to create public art projects. While the group has exhibited throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Australia, the artists' visit to Haverford and the Philadelphia area is part of their first to the United States.
The four artistsâ€”Sam Indratma, Warsono, Ari Diyanto, and Arya
Pandjaluâ€”call themselves Apotik Komik, or“Comic Pharmacy,” because they want to heal their audiences' social or cultural illnesses through comic books. Working outdoors on the main quad, they are collaborating with Haverford students to design a 20' X 5' foot mural on the theme of“art for peace.” The completed mural will be displayed in the future Center for Peace and Global Citizenship CafÃ©.
During their week-long visit, the artists of Apotik Komik also will tour public art projects in Philadelphia and be part of a discussion at Haverford on public art that will include local public artists and a representative from Philadelphia's Village of the Arts and Humanities, a community-based arts, education, and neighborhood development organization in inner city North Philadelphia. The group also will create a mural in collaboration with children visiting campus during Family and Friends Weekend, October 24-26.
Using bold colors and contemporary themes, the four artists' work is reminiscent of mass-market comic books, but their art stems from the concerns of Indonesia's wong cilik, or“little people.” They work with easily accessible materials like cardboard, plywood, house paint, used tin cans, and cigarette packs. They integrate their art into everyday activities, introducing artistic expression as part of the schools' curricula in their hometown, Jogjakarta, where the group is based. Every day they create a mural, which they install on the walls of Jogjakarta's low-income neighborhoods.
Leslie Dwyer, Program Coordinator for the CPGC and visiting assistant professor of anthropology, became acquainted with Apotik Komik while completing graduate research in Indonesia on Islam, gender and modernity, and political violence.“In Indonesia, public arts groups like Apotik Komik face many obstacles to their creative expression, as government propaganda and commercial advertising consume public space,” says Dwyer.“In Indonesia, only the very wealthy visit museums and galleries.”