Since the previous century, the coastal area of Tuban has become a cross-cultural center. It is quite unfortunate that the cultural merge has turned the coastal spirit of the artists low. Close to none, even.
A man with protruded belly is sitting on a stone. The quirky thing about this imagery is that the anonymous man wears a tight-fitting Spiderman costume, combined with a sarong.
The man is a creation of a Yogyakartan artist named Dunadi titled East and West. The artwork is displayed in front of Budaya Loka building, Jl. Basuki Rakhmat (in front of Tuban Tropis Resort), Tuban, East Java.
The exhibition that is held from 6-11 November 2013 is a part of a commemoration series of the 722th Tuban regency’s birthday. 60 artworks of artists originated from Northern Javanese coastal areas namely Cirebon, Tegal, Pemalang, Semarang, Jepara, Lasem, Gresik and Surabaya, are displayed in the exhibition.
This festive art exhibition is a rare gem in the coastal area. For Kuss Indarto – the curator of this exhibition – a similar occasion was held in 2011, but dominated with art performances like dance show and theater. This time, the fine art exhibition is themed ‘Tunggal dalam Plural’ (Entity in Plurality), with various artworks from those coastal artists in forms of paintings, statues and mural.
The theme is chosen to show the artists’ similar identity despite the difference in cities of origin that is being the coastal artists. “Through this exhibition, we are able to express the extent of fine art development in Northern Java coastal cities, particularly the artists who seem to lose their vigor in making artworks,” told Kuss to Sarasvati.
The exhibition is held as a form of place for the coastal artists to state their minds out. Just like what Kuss said, the previous years are the years where the coastal artists gain no special place in Indonesian fine arts development. It is visible from their inexistence in some notable fine art forums in Indonesia.
That may be caused by an identity merging of the coastal artists, hence the absence of coastal spirit in their artworks. The merge may be caused by technologies and economical, social development in coastal areas.
“Many coastal artists thrive to be dynamic and develop themselves in an equal position with artists in other cities. The downside is that the process erode their coastal souls, hence the washy boundaries,” said Kuss.
There are no definitive selections in choosing the artists involved in the exhibition. Kuss relies on his memory of his observation of coastal fine art state some years ago. The only criteria he has is for the artists “to be born, raised, or having been in or had been in a process on the coastal area”, said Kuss. He expects to find traces of coastal soul in the artworks.
In curating the whole process, Kuss let the artists chose their own point of view in making artworks, particularly from their coastal background. Out of these 60 artworks, it seems that the coastal identities shown are using coastal-related objects such as beaches, fishermen boats, or sailing life. Some are using batik theme though displayed differently in media of masks and murals.
“Batik is the most prominent product of coastal culture, and that seems to stay as important for the coastal artists,” stated Kuss.
Aside of the controversy of these artists’ fading identity, the exhibition managed to satisfy the communities’ thirst of their unique artworks. It is visible from the visitors who come to see the exhibition since its opening. This also acts as a new ray of lights for coastal artists to be known in their own homeland.
Thus, to give you an insight, here are the names of the participating artists:
|Agus Baqul||Dukan Wahyudi||Isa Anshory||Lulus Santoso||Susilotomo|
|Ahmad Sobirin||Dunadi||Ivan Hariyanto||Maslihar Panjul||Suwandi Waeng|
|Amin Syahlevi||Ekwan Marianto||Jafin||Mulyo Gunarso||Taufik Ruman|
|Andi Miswandi||Fadjar Djunaidi||Januri||M. Sinni||Tri Bakdo|
|Andri Suhelmi Soeid||Fadjar Sutardi||Jati Wegig||M. Yunus||Tri Hendro Handoyo|
|Ariyanto||Gusbandi Harioto||Joko “Gundul” Sulistyono||Najib Amrullah||Tunarno|
|Arifin Londo||Hadi Waluyo||Jonathan||Nurhidayat||Watoni Soeid|
|Awi Ibanesta||Hasan Conang||Jumartono||Oetje Lammo||Yaksa Agus|
|Bambang Pramudyanto||Heri Tjo||Karyono||Putut Widodo||Zainul Abidin|
|Bayu Street Art||Herry Panjang||Koeboe Sarawan||Robi Fathoni||Zhirenk|
|Choerudin||Indarto Agung Sukmono||Kokoh Nugroho||Saiful|
|Djoeari Soebardja||Ira Sulistyowati||Kris Dologh||Soneo Santoso|