Exploring ArtMoments Jakarta 2023: WHITESTONE Gallerist's Perspective


ArtMoments Jakarta 2023

ArtMoments Jakarta was established in 2018, quickly becoming known as one of Indonesia’s big art fairs. Following on from last year, Whitestone Gallery participated in the same fair. Gallerist Naomi Tan shares her first-hand account of the vibrant Southeast Asian art scene at the fair, infused with its fervor.

Hotel lobby view

With a dual focus on reaching the global market and fulfilling the aspirations of art galleries, ArtMoments Jakarta carefully selects prestigious venues to showcase its artistic presentations.

Despite its pursuit of sophistication, the fair still aims at promoting inclusivity, making art a welcoming presence for everyone. This commitment to inclusivity is evident in their track record. In 2020, ArtMoments hosted an online art fair, further extending its reach and ensuring accessibility to art lovers regardless of physical location.

What is “ArtMoments Jakarta”

Visitor’s stopping by our booth, attracted by Argentinian’s artist Debbie Reda’s large canvas work

This year marks the sixth edition of the fair, from 18th – 20th August at the Grand Ballroom of Sheraton Grand Jakarta Gandaria City Hotel. The majestic ballroom transforms into a gallery of galleries, with close to 20 galleries from the vicinity and from around the region to showcase their curated art treasures.

Sendy Widjaja, Co-Founder & Fair Director of ArtMoments Jakarta, has emphasized that this year’s edition will embrace a more curated approach, focusing on quality over quantity to achieve a boutique ambiance. In line with this vision, Widjaja further expressed that the objective of ArtMoments 2023 reaches beyond the aesthetics of the event. He envisions the fair as a catalyst for pushing the Indonesian art industry on a global scale.

As he explains at an interview with The Jakarta Post, “We seek to broaden art appreciation and stimulate a rich cultural dialogue by presenting quality work from various perspectives. By facilitating interactions between artists, collectors and art connoisseurs, we pave the way for more growth and connection in the creative landscape.”

Converse Moments and Maker Moments

Converse Moments: Blockchain in the Art World panel discussion

ArtMoments Jakarta offered a diverse experience, featuring two distinct segments: Converse Moments and Maker Moments. Within these segments, visitors had the opportunity to participate in thought-provoking panel discussions and engaging workshops, all taking place throughout the public days.

Converse Moments took form in interesting panel discussions that explored a range of topics, from the intersection of art and fashion to the significant role of commercial galleries in the Indonesian market. A particularly noteworthy discussion centered on the impact of blockchain on the art world. The panels were curated with lots of attention, bringing together either artists themselves or influential figures from the art industry, including Rizki A. Zaelani, ArtMoments’ Artistic Director.

Maker Moments: Art Jamming with FORKESI

Maker Moments, curated in the style of a workshop setting, once again stands as a beautiful collaboration between ArtMoments and the Forum Keluarga Special Indonesia (FORKESI). This really makes me see how unique and inclusive this art fair truly is. I was truly moved by the art jamming session they organized specifically for children aged 6 to 12 with special needs. It made me realize that art does not have to be limited to the wealthy; it can be something everyone can enjoy. Witnessing these kids take part was heartwarming, and it highlighted the fact that art belongs to everyone. This experience captures what ArtMoments is all about for me: breaking down barriers so that art becomes a shared experience where everyone, including these amazing kids, can take part and contribute.

Another engaging workshop in the programme is the Plasticology session, led by Balinese artist Made Bayak. In this workshop, participants get to explore the skill of transforming and repurposing plastic waste into various forms of two-dimensional and three-dimensional artworks. The main aim of this workshop appears to be aligning the power of art with an important message of sustainability.

Charity Auction

Charity Auction held in the program room

The late Leo Silitonga’s collection of artworks up for auction

I personally feel one highlight of this fair is the auction that took place, led by Masterpiece, the fair’s Official Auction Partner. This event provided a platform to showcase the treasured artworks from the personal collection of the late Leo Silitonga, co-founder of ArtMoments Jakarta. The auction not only paid homage to Silitonga’s legacy but also generated funds for the children’s education initiative of Museum MACAN.

Curated art tours

Art tour led by Sendy Widjaja, Co-Founder & Fair Director of ArtMoments Jakarta

I was truly impressed by the curated art tours at ArtMoments. What struck me was the fact that these tours were not only free but also open to anyone interested. Even if you hadn’t signed up beforehand, they made it incredibly convenient to participate. Just before the tours began every few hours, a bell would ring to gather the attention of the crowd. If you felt like joining in the moment, you could - it was that simple. This spontaneous approach resonated with me, highlighting the inclusive and unpretentious nature of ArtMoments. This segment added an extra layer of engagement for visitors, providing an opportunity to explore the fair in a dynamic and informative way.

Reflecting on ArtMoments

Shop x Macan booth, located right outside the exhibition hall

As a gallerist, observing individuals who share a deep appreciation and love for the arts is incredibly uplifting. On the first day of the art fair, I had the honor of witnessing the arrival of Sandiaga Uno, the Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia. Reporters and media personnel had gathered around him as he admired the works on display. This was the first instance where I encountered a minister who took time out of their busy schedule to attend an art fair, and it spoke volumes about the Indonesian community’s connection. It felt as if everyone was supporting and uplifting one another within this closely-knit Indonesian community.

Béchir Boussandel’s artworks.

Our booth was filled with many visitors, and a lot of them were really fascinated by the artworks of the French artist Béchir Boussandel. These visitors have a sense of curiosity around them. They were interested in learning about the stories behind his artworks and why he chose such a deep and vibrant orange color. It wasn’t surprising to me that people were so intrigued, because I personally felt strongly attracted to his art as well. Boussandel’s series of works shown on display were of a delicate pastel color palette. Amidst this softness, he used bright oranges that stood out boldly. The paintings didn’t stay confined to the canvas - they seemed to flow and spread outward to the borders of the canvas. This made them really interesting to look at. He played with space, colors, and tiny portraits, creating something truly captivating and original. In his scenes, you often saw big, empty sand dunes. On these sandy landscapes, lone figures connected with each other in a special way. Boussandel’s art is like a story that makes you feel things deeply. It’s a unique sight that lets you peek into a world full of emotions and thoughtful moments.

Crowd enjoying Kohei Kyomori’s works

Another artist who gained great attention at our booth was Kohei Kyomori’s work. Kyomori has made a name for himself with his vibrant digital reinterpretations of classic ornaments and sculpted objects, tailored for the modern, contemporary era. His creative process stands out as original and distinctively innovative, involving unconventional materials like UV resin and pigment powder to craft his art.

Arkiv Vilmansa, Brotherly Love public installation

One of the public art installations I particularly loved at this fair was Arkiv Vilmansa’s Brotherly Love sculpture. This work was located right at the hotel entrance, capturing attention with its magnificent size. Interestingly, a smaller version of this sculpture was also showcased at his booth at the Museum of Toys. To my delight, I had the honor of meeting Vilmansa in person during my time working at the fair. With the chance to converse briefly, I asked him about the inspiration behind his sculpture. Candidly, he responded, “My kids. I have two sons, and this sculpture was inspired by their relationship with each other.”

Vilmansa posing in front his large canvas work

Although it was a very quick exchange, I managed to capture a photo of him posing in front of one of his large canvas works! He was really friendly and down-to-earth, which made our conversation comfortable and easy. It’s no surprise that many people came specifically to greet him, considering his welcoming nature. The art community in Indonesia truly exemplifies a special feeling of togetherness and warmth.

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