Komunitas Salihara is a cultural enclave active since August 8, 2008 and the first private multidisciplinary arts center in Indonesia.
Located on a 3,800 m2 plot of land on Jalan Salihara 16, Pasar Minggu, South Jakarta, the Komunitas Salihara complex consists of three main buildings: Teater Salihara, Galeri Salihara, and office space. The black-box Teater Salihara is the only theater of its kind in Indonesia at this time. Currently, the Komunitas Salihara complex is expanding with additional facilities to include a rehearsal studio, guesthouse, and amphitheater.
Komunitas Salihara was formed by a number of writers, artists, journalists, and art lovers. Since it was established, Komunitas Salihara has presented a wide range of programs in arts and ideas; some of which are from abroad and world class quality.
Once named “The Best Art Space” (2010) by the magazine Time Out Jakarta and as one of the “10 Most Unique Places in Jakarta” (2010) by Metro TV, the architecture of Komunitas Salihara has also been described as, “Architecture which applies environmentally friendly aspects” by Green Design Award 2009.
Today Komunitas Salihara is visited by many people who wish to enjoy the high quality programs on arts and ideas, both classic and contemporary. Komunitas Salihara has also become a meeting place for groups with varied interests—such as writers, filmmakers, choreographers, young architects, those interested in philosophy, translators, book lovers, and others.
Komunitas Salihara can be called an alternative cultural center: it is not owned by the central government, regional government, or a foreign embassy.
The vision of Komunitas Salihara is to maintain freedom of thought and expression, respect differences and diversity, and to foster and spread artistic and intellectual resources. We need to assert this vision, because in Indonesia today, where electoral democracy has been implemented for the last two decades, freedom of thought and expression is still threatened from above (by instruments of the State) or from the side (by sectors in society itself, especially groups acting in the name of some religious or ethnic group).
In its programming, Komunitas Salihara gives priority to new arts. This innovation is not merely a sign for us that people support arts which are dynamic, but it is also a creative attitude towards the diverse artistic heritage of Indonesia and the world. Komunitas Salihara invites audiences to support this innovation. However, to achieve this ideal situation will require a rather long process. For that reason, Komunitas Salihara still presents arts of an “ordinary” nature which we see as a bridge for general audiences to move towards the new arts which we mean. In this way, we hope that in the years to come, Komunitas Salihara can hold more performances of new arts and expand the circle of audiences with a new perspective.
In undertaking our programs, Komunitas Salihara has been assisted by various institutions, mainly private institutions or individuals. Besides this, Komunitas Salihara always tries to work in cooperation with a number of foreign institutions, for example, foreign cultural centers in Jakarta, in bringing groups to Indonesia.
Program Komunitas Salihara
In one year, Komunitas Salihara presents about 100 events of dance and theater performances, music concerts, literary readings and discussions, art exhibitions, films, and dance, literature and music workshops. Besides that, Komunitas Salihara also holds discussions and talks to activate public debate for which currently there is little space; both about currently hot issues or the ideas of specific figures in the humanities. The Board of Curators whose members are leading Indonesian writers and artists design all the programs with relatively long-term planning.
Besides programs in arts and ideas held regularly each month, currently Komunitas Salihara has several special programs described below:
Festival Salihara is an international event. This Festival held every two years presents top performing arts, that is, performance pieces which as a whole and in combination with one another are the ideal selections of the Board of Curators of Komunitas Salihara. Included are creations by Indonesian artists regarded to be on a par with world class works, as well as a number of premiere performances by leading international artists. Festival Salihara is a series of works in dance, theater and music from assorted genres and backgrounds.
Festival Salihara is an offering from Komunitas Salihara for Indonesia, so that this country can show it exists at a high level in the international realm. Specifically, Festival Salihara is also an offering for the city of Jakarta where we live. We hope this series of top performances can help to enliven Jakarta, a city full of political and economic conflicts, traffic jams, and an entertainment industry of television and malls.
Held for the first time in 2008, Festival Salihara has become a kind of gala of events for a wide audience. Every day for the month-long festival, spectators witness a series of performances in the black-box Teater Salihara and Galeri Salihara that expand the horizons of their appreciation. Meanwhile, at the Salihara complex there are a number of supporting events taking place all of which enrich the series of Festival Salihara.
SALIHARA LITERARY BIENNALE
This international literary festival, held every two years since it began in 2001, is a showcase for developments in contemporary Indonesian and world literature, besides a wealth of classic and traditional works. With this international festival we try to present the best writers and literary works which we consider capable of making important contributions to the development of Indonesian literature today and in the future.
This festival, which has been held for an entire month since 2011, consists of programs such as: literary readings, book discussions, workshops in writing and reading literature, and visits to schools/campuses to expand the literary perspectives of students. Also, commissioned works in the form of musical compositions or visual arts creations based on Indonesian poetry are selected by the Board of Curators, with the results performed or exhibited throughout the Literary Biennale. Today, the Salihara Literary Biennale is a literary event in Indonesia held regularly every two years.
SALIHARA WOMEN ARTISTS FORUM
In conjunction with International Women’s Day on March 8 and Kartini Day on April 21, every year Komunitas Salihara holds a series of programs with themes on women and by women artists. With this program, Komunitas Salihara means to consistently provide a place for women artists, who it can be said are still rare in Indonesia, and to expand the horizons of public appreciation for the creative power of women, the works of women artists.
Presenting women artists in the Women Artists’ Forum is not just as an alternative to male artists who are still the majority in the Indonesian art world, but also to show diversity and harmony in artistic expression. The Board of Curators of Komunitas Salihara have selected a number of women artists whose achievements in the Indonesian art world deserve to be celebrated, because they have inspired many people, both new artists as well as the general public.
SALIHARA THEATER FORUM
The Salihara Theater Forum, a series of performances of realism in theater, is an initiative to encourage the acting potential taking place on theater stages in Indonesia. With the motto, “return to the power of acting”, this program tries to re-stimulate the arts of storytelling and acting in Indonesia which today are increasingly ignored as a result of the scarcity of acting and the rising trend of the body-theater genre.
Theater of realism performances can offer a reflection and projection of daily life; the audience is invited to undertake a reconstruction of behavior and events that can hone social commitment and empathy. In this way, the arts of acting/ story telling become important, even more so, because the majority of Indonesian audiences today are only used to stories in films, and have not focused upon characters that live on the stage.
SALIHARA JAZZ BUZZ
Salihara Jazz Buzz is a series of jazz concerts presenting the latest compositions which are explorative, smart, full of innovation, and fresh, not found on the usual jazz stages. For this forum, leading jazz composer-musicians present their latest formations and collections of their work.
Salihara Jazz Buzz is aimed at offering the public a standard of quality in the world of jazz. By coming to this series of high-quality jazz concerts, the public will expand their appreciation and at the same time join in encouraging the development of jazz in Indonesia.
SALIHARA MONTHLY DISCUSSIONS
The Monthly Discussions at Salihara try to stimulate intellectual ideas and practices around current themes in a number of fields. They are planned to take place 12 times a year, and present various figures we regard as having acuity and seriousness in analyzing the issues put forth. With a format of two speakers and one moderator the monthly discussions offer serious analysis yet presented in a relaxed atmosphere.
People from various circles attend the Salihara Monthly Discussions, especially those who are interested in heated debates and an in-depth look at the themes being discussed. Those who join include artists, academics, university students, art lovers and school children. The Monthly Discussions held in Serambi Salihara are an attempt to respond to people’s concern about the scarcity of in-depth discussion activities in Jakarta where everything in life can seem fast and monotonous.
SALIHARA PUBLIC LECTURE SERIES
The Salihara Public Lecture Series cover interesting themes starting from philosophy, erotica, religion, to literature in lectures delivered in a way that is far from rigid and formal. The series is usually designed to be presented four weeks in a row, with each of the Public Lectures on a specific theme different from the others but related, on a sub-topic of the larger theme that binds them together. The lectures are held in Teater Salihara with lecturers who are professionals from academia and intellectual circles and who have good, communicative rhetorical skills.
The Public Lecture Series is an attempt to play a role in developing activities for the transformation of information which until now has been undertaken by educational institutions, but is not widespread enough and is bound by certain academic requirements. In the Public Lecture Series any members of the public who are thirsty for information can participate. Papers by each of the lecturers can be obtained for reference as long as one takes part in the Public Lecture.