Oppo Art Jakarta Virtual 2020: Art Brings Us Closer Together When the Pandemic Keeps Us Apart

Story By
Stephanie Mamonto

 

When galleries and museums close their doors to slow down the pandemic, Art Jakarta goes virtual to respond to the crisis.
 

Photos  by Art Jakarta’s & Artists’ Documentation
 

The pandemic has impacted every single industry, but especially the art world. While the world grapples with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic it is also opening doors for new opportunities and possibilities. Everyone is spending more time at home leading to a major shift towards digital technology. In several months, we have learned how to pivot in a different way although most businesses are still in the process of figuring out how exactly to proceed for the future.

That being said, the result of the pandemic may not be as devastating for the art industry as initially anticipated. Many local and international venues have launched virtual programs including online exhibitions, artist talks, and even online charity auctions to save the ecosystem. One of the local venues in Jakarta, Art Jakarta launched the OPPO Art Jakarta Virtual 2020 which can be enjoyed from the comfort (and safety) of your own couch.

For 12 years, Art Jakarta has been an integral part of Southeast Asia’s and Indonesia’s art ecosystem. In order to maintain relationships within this ecosystem during this challenging period of the global pandemic, they have decided to continue running the exhibition virtually with the help of modern technology.

It is very likely that this modern technology has offered us the opportunity to maintain communication channels, reinforce networks, practice creativity, and admire works of art. Amid the pandemic, the fair brings together artists, art galleries and collectors, driven by 3D virtual technology and chat communication features, the first ever total virtual art fair of scale in Asia went LIVE from 19 October to 15 December and will continue on to a Second Edition which will be held from 16 December 2020 - 15 February 2021.

Oppo Art Jakarta Virtual 2020 is presenting almost 800 works by Indonesian artists. The artworks are showcased in a virtual space by as many as 38 art galleries and 16 artist collectives, presenting hundreds of newly created and intriguing works. These artist collectives come from all over Indonesia and have joined forces as the “Art Jakarta Scene”, namely Jakarta Biennale and Atreyu Moniaga Project (Jakarta), Ace House Collective and Cemeti (Yogyakarta), Jatiwangi Art Factory (Majalengka), Makassar Biennale (Makassar), etc. to continually develop and evolve over time.

Being aware of their role as the driver of Indonesia’s art ecosystem, Art Jakarta has reinforced its position in Indonesia’s vibrant ecosystem by launching the “Art Jakarta Scene” as a platform to explore works and activities of the artist collectives in 2019. "We hope that OPPO Art Jakarta Virtual 2020 can be a way for Indonesian artists who experienced various difficulties during the pandemic to continue to showcase their work and receive the appreciation they deserve,” says the Fair Director of Art Jakarta, Tom Tandio.

For that reason, in the midst of this challenging situation OPPO Indonesia has collaborated with five renowned Indonesian artists, namely Aditya Novali, Agan Harahap, Heri Dono, Mella Jaarsma, and Uji “Hahan” Handoko to create special pieces for the Art Jakarta Charity. The artworks were up for sale via auction and the proceeds gained from the Art Jakarta Charity auction will be given to two artist communities, the Selasar Sunaryo Art Space (SSAS) and Cemeti-Institute for Art and Society. This much needed aid will give opportunities to support the artists through expansive programs and residencies empowering artists and their communities.

As artists who have been working within artist collectives and organizations and helping to strengthen the particular dynamics of Indonesia’s art scene, they have become an organism which constantly shifts the dynamics of art and cultural practices in Indonesia. Even in the difficult times of the pandemic, with most exhibitions and events cancelled or postponed, artist collectives have managed to stay active.