“You crawl on earth, but we crawl on you. You are our mother earth.” Thus spoke Silphidae, Necrophini, and Kafer, three insects to the live audience, who would, in another situation, say not living, be their source of food and nourishment.
And with “Uwuh Seni” (“Rubbish Art”) at Salihara, we’re presented with work that is inescapably linked to the man’s specific cultural roots. Left, right, up or down — there are well over a thousand small works — the oeuvre is resolutely and confidently Javanese: drawing inspiration from the great trio of Hendra Gunawan, Affandi and Sudjojono as well his own remarkable collection of masks, lanterns and local artefacts.
Attired mostly in black, hundreds of youths had gathered to enjoy the spark of freedom both in ideas and in reality. There were no cliches, as in the soap operas. There was no nonsense, as in the situation comedies. There was no fear of hell or torture nor a senseless hope for paradise the day after. There was no sphere for those with dreadful voices to impose their insensible faith.
An orchestral performance led by one of Indonesia’s best jazz musicians. A Javanese wayang (shadow puppet) show based on a Greek play. A tango ensemble from the Netherlands. A music performance from a Spain-based multi-instrumentalist. Dance performances from Finland and Canada. A documentary theater from Australia.
Komunitas Salihara art community is currently organizing the fourth Festival Salihara, featuring diverse art performances, including music concerts, wayang and theatrical performances from Indonesia as well as abroad. The Jakarta Post’s Iman Mahditama talks to Salihara co-founder and poet Goenawan Mohamad about the festival, experimental works and his hope for Jakarta Governor-Elect Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
The Salihara Festival is a biennial event that features some of the best in performance art. For a whole month, the festival will present works by numerous art groups and companies from Indonesia, Australia, the Netherlands, Finland, Canada, and Spain. Their presentations provide us with diversity, innovation, and virtuosity in forms and artistic visions.