– Spring/Summer 2006

Moelyono and the Endurance of Arts for Society

Nuraini Juliastuti

What is the relationship between art and social practice in a country like Indonesia? What role can art play in the way society develops here? An exhibition by Indonesian artist Moelyono, held earlier this year at Bentara Budaya in Jakarta, is perhaps a good starting point from which to answer that question.

Moelyono is currently working with local communities in several Indonesian areas. From the start of the project in 2005 to its completion in 2006, he will have traveled across the country from Banda Aceh and Meulaboh (Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Province) to Jayapura, Kerom and Wamena (Papua Province), Tentena and Luwuk (Central Sulawesi Province), Kupang and Rote (East Nusa Tenggara Province) and Sangatta (East Kalimantan Province). For this project, he is co-operating with World Vision Indonesia, a NGO whose self-declared task is 'to work for the well being of all people, especially children'.1

Moelyono's exhibition was called 'Pameran Seni Rupa Kerja - Pak Moel Guru Nggambar' ('Exhibition of visual art's works - Pak Moel the drawing teacher'). As the title suggests, this wasn't just a visual art exhibition, but an exhibition or presentation of Moelyono's social and pedagogic work with local communities through the practice of visual art. The project was described by Moelyono in statements that he wrote on small canvases: 'Everybody is a creator of culture'; 'Every child can draw'; 'Drawing is simple'; or 'Drawing is easy, fun and a way of playing and making friends'. Inside the exhibition space, Papuan kids covered the

  1. See http://www.wvi.org

  2. Moelyono, Pak Moel Guru Nggambar, Yogyakarta: Insist Press, 2006, n.p.

  3. Conversation with the author.

  4. Fragments of the old Taring Padi website are available at http://web.archive.org/web/20040208032100/http://www.taringpadi.org/

  5. Popok Tri Wahyudi, Crossing the Border, Yogyakarta: Kedai Kebun Forum, 2005