Friday, 13 Dec 2019

The artist behind the Getah Getih bamboo art installation was disappointed to residents of Jakarta


 Getah Getih Getah Getih -  Joko Avianto, the artist behind the Getah Getih bamboo art installation, has deplored how people are focusing only on the amount of money that was spent on his project, instead of discussing its value.

After the installation was recently removed from the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta after less than a year, local residents have criticized the city for allocating Rp 550 million (almost US$40,000) for the project.

Getah Getih was installed in August last year and removed on the night of July 17.

“Of course I’m restless. The amount of money spent and its material value have become the focus of a discussion that is very pragmatic and noneducational […],” he wrote in a post on his Instagram account @jokoawi.

Joko further said that he wished that people could appreciate and enjoy Getah Getih.

“Aside from the controversy, I want to say that […] there is universality to art, [which is] open to interpretation [and] dialogue based on experience,” he added.

Joko, in explaining how he first received the project from the city administration, said he wanted to help Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan in welcoming the 2018 Asian Games and Indonesia’s 73rd Independence Day.

He said he was proud he had the opportunity to showcase his artwork in a public place, just like the artists before him.

“This was a rare opportunity to be able to have my artwork stand on the north-south axis where the Arjuna Wijaya Statue was built in 1987 by Nyoman Nuarta, the Selamat Datang Statue in 1961 by Henk Ngantung and Edhi Sunarso, the Jenderal Sudirman Statue in 2003 by Sunaryo and the Pemuda Membangun Statue in 1971 by Munir Pamuncak. They are all my teachers and my seniors,” he said.

In response to the controversy, Anies said he would invite more artists to use public spaces in the city to exhibit their artwork.

Anies even defended the millions of rupiah spent by the city on Getah Getih.

“Bamboo is one of our local products. We chose to use bamboo because the money would go straight to the bamboo farmers and bamboo craftsmen. It was deemed as something nonsensical but in fact it played an important role in supporting our economy,” he said on Sunday.

“In the future, there will be more artwork on display across the Jakarta skyline. The city belongs to everyone.”





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