Artwork strengthens Yogyakarta identity as city of culture

22 June, 2012 | Source: The Jakarta Post

Yogyakarta Governor Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X said that the works of art displayed in open spaces in Yogyakarta had helped strengthened the image of the ancient town as a city of culture.

 



“I give my high appreciation to the artists who have helped strengthened the image of Yogyakarta as a city of culture,” Hamengkubuwono said in his remarks at the opening of the Yogyakarta Art Festival on Wednesday afternoon.

The sultan said the artwork represented the character of Yogyakarta and had become a marker of the city. “Many tourists visiting Yogyakarta manage their time to take pictures with the artwork,” he said.

As many as 22 statues of different forms and sizes are being displayed in different corners along Jl. Malioboro as parts of the festival’s exhibition entitled “Malioboro Outdoor Visual Art”.

Among other works is a becak (pedicab) sculpture by noted artist Nasirun that was created using a kinetic sculpture technique. Exactly the same size of a real becak, the work is entitled “Becakku Tak Berhenti Lama” (My becak does not stop long).

The sultan also said that art did not only show beauty but also preserved the conscience of Yogyakarta’s residents. A piece of art with a concept, according to him, could have a dialogue with the community and could even help settle differences or conflicts.

He added that the decrease in the nation’s morality these days was the result of the fact that many of the country’s elites did not appreciate the arts. In an artistic environment, he said, people would not just learn about the art but also learn about the problems of life.

“When we are in a theater environment, we learn about problems around us. When we study literature, we train ourselves to be sensitive toward humanity’s problems,” Hamengkubuwono said.

The sultan hoped that the Yogyakarta Art Festival would enhance Yogyakarta’s dynamics as a civilized city. Through art, he said, Yogyakarta was expected to grow as a city that was removed from the violence that had marred different regions throughout the archipelago.



Separately, the chairman of the festival’s organizing committee, Timbul Raharjo, said that this year’s celebration was different in the sense that it was organized by a committee primarily comprised of young people.

He expressed hope that the annual event could be used as a standard for the development of the arts in the city. He also called on the government to pay attention to the event because it represented the city’s special character.

With “Art for the People” as its central theme, the festival is scheduled to last until July 5. The theme, according to Timbul, was chosen because traditional arts like puppet shows, batik and kris could provide livelihoods for the people.

Timbul said the artwork presented during the festival was a mixture between contemporary and traditional arts. “But the focus is still on traditional art,” he said.

 

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