When it comes to art, there is a lot Indonesia can learn from Singapore, in particular, how it markets the art sector.
While Indonesian artists are recognized in many international art forums, at home their work remains a niche interest.
“Actually, Indonesia should be more recognized than Singapore,” said celebrated Indonesian artist Heri Dono. “We have incredible indigenous art and we also have incredibly creative artists.”
According to Heri, education is the key tool to improve the general public’s appreciation of the arts.
“Art should be seen as an important subject in schools. Starting from elementary school, teachers should encourage their students’ artistic talents,” he said.
The government also shows very little support for Indonesia’s budding talents.
“The government is still reluctant to invest in developing the country’s art infrastructure,” the artist said. “Our museums and art galleries need its support and funding to improve their programs.”
But the attendance of Deputy Education and Culture Minister Wiendu Nuryanti at the opening of Art Stage Singapore 2013 gave Indonesian artists hope.
“I saw the vice minister talking to Lorenzo Rudolf [Art Stage Singapore’s founder] during the opening,” Heri said. “She also came to ask me what the government should do to improve the country’s art scene.
“Her presence is like a green light from the government.”
Singapore Art Week, a week-long festival, is a shining example Indonesia can look to for ideas on what the government can do to support the arts.
At the festival, which ran from Jan. 22 to 27, more than 50 prestigious art events were held across the city. Art Stage Singapore 2013 was the highlight of the festival, attracting more than 40,000 visitors, including artists, art dealers, art enthusiasts, collectors, students and journalists.
The success of the event has cemented Singapore’s position as an art hub in Asia.
Singapore Tyler Print Institute
STPI is a comprehensive printmaking workshop, paper mill and contemporary art gallery located in an early 20th century warehouse in Robertson Quay, Singapore.
The facility was established by American master printer Kenneth E. Tyler in April 2012. He is the mastermind behind the legendary print workshop Tyler Graphics in New York.
Today, the facility, which functions as a nonprofit art institute, is managed by Singapore’s Ministry of Information, Communication and Arts, the Singapore Totalizator Board and Singapore Tourism Board.
Each year, the facility invites four or five international artists for residencies in the facility.
Some of Indonesia’s top artists, including Agus Suwage, Christine Ay Tjoe, Jumaldi Alfi and Sunaryo, have had the opportunity to be STPI residents.
“Our goal is to really work with some of the best creative minds of today and see how we can push boundaries,” Jumaiyah said.
Read more: Jakarta Globe