WHEN it comes to connecting with Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous nation, the ANU has always been at the forefront.
One of the first universities in Australia to jump into Indonesian studies in the 1950s, it has maintained its edge and the university’s Indonesia Update each year is a must for business people, scholars, journos, environmentalists and anyone seriously wanting to stay in touch with developments in our huge northern neighbour. This year’s update in September will look at Indonesian democracy after 20 years.
But while ANU scholars such as Virginia Hooker, Chaitanya Sambrani and Elly Kent have kept tabs on the visual arts in Indonesia, it hasn’t been a major focus of the updates.
Now ANU researcher Caroline Turner, one of the architects of the Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane, is putting that to rights, organising a conference on contemporary Indonesian art.
By no accident, the conference, “Contemporary Worlds Indonesian Art,” coincides with the National Gallery of Australia’s first exhibition on the same subject.
The timing has made possible visits from experts and artists from the region. Speakers will include south-east Asia’s top art critic, TK Sabapathy, curator Alia Swastika and firebrand artist FX Harsono, a founder of Indonesia’s New Art Movement and leading advocate for the powerless.
As well, there will be scholars Antariksa, from Yogyakarta, and Wulan Dirgantoro, from the University of Melbourne, along with contemporary artists Tisna Sanjaya, Tita Salina, Zico Albaiquni and Melati Suryodarmo, all of whose work will be on show at the NGA.
“Contemporary Worlds: Indonesian Art” conference, Monday, June 24, Sir Roland Wilson Building, #120 McCoy Crescent ANU, registrations to hrc.cass.anu.edu.au
FX Harsono public lecture, Sir Roland Wilson Building, at 4.15pm, June 24, free but register at hrc.cass.anu.edu.au
“Contemporary Worlds: Indonesia”, NGA, June 21-October 27.