Jakarta. As part of Kartini Day commemoration this month – the actual day falls on April 21 – Ambiente and Indonesia Luxury Art collaborated with ISA Art Adversary to stage the "Tetap Terang" (Always Bright) art exhibition in South Jakarta, which opened on Thursday (12/04).
The exhibition features six internationally recognized female artists from different cultural backgrounds and highlights their contributions to the Indonesian art scene.
The artists are Arahmaiani, Sally Smart, Sinta Tantra, Natisa Jones, Natasha Lubis and Ines Katamso.
The exhibition also honors Indonesia's national heroine Kartini’s legacy and the contributions of other remarkable women in helping shape the future of the country.
At the exhibition opening, one of the artists, French-Indonesian Ines Katamso, said her works are not directly related to Kartini, but they echo the feminist pioneer's tireless effort to bring gender equality to Indonesia.
"Kartini is a feminist symbol. We are here to continue her work in empowering women, this time through art," the Bali-based artist said.
"There are a lot of great female artists in Indonesia, but we are still underrepresented compared to our male colleagues," Ines said.
Ines' works at the exhibition are grouped under one title, "Somatization." They are works that represent the anxiety of female artists in the art industry.
"Since we [women artists] lack public presence, our self-expression is often inhibited. This intensifies the anxiety, shame and guilt that we feel about our work. I want to change that perspective, I want to show that our voice can be very powerful," Ines said.
Born of a French mother and Indonesian father, Ines often describes herself as "anak campur," a mixed child.
The artist loves to play with this duality in her creative expression.
The 27-year old grew up in a family of artists, her father was a musician and her mother a painter and a tattoo artist.
"I grew up around art and it feels so natural for me," Ines said.
Ines also keeps a keen eye on architecture, particularly mural art.
She lived in Yogyakarta in Central Java for ten years before going to Marseilles in France to do her bachelor degree in art.
But Ines' biggest influence is still local art.
"Indonesia's traditional art is so rich. There's still so much I can still learn from it," she said.
In her new works displayed in the Tetap Terang exhibition, Ines combines traditional Indonesian elements with abstract, geometrical shapes and a decidedly contemporary approach.
As if to keep Kartini's spirit alive, the other artists in the exhibition also play with the juncture of the traditional and the contemporary, just as Kartini herself did more than 100 years ago.
Tetap Terang runs until May 12.