It was such a pleasure to meet some wonderful collectors on my first day in Jakarta. I am so impressed with dedication of the collectors I met; many of them actively visit artist studios in Jakarta, Bandung and Yogyakarta. The gallery system is dominated by artist run spaces and therefore have fluctuating programs. The strongest and most memorable gallery experience was at Roh Projects, founded and directed by Junior Tirtadji. Definitely a gallery to watch!
Deborah Iskandar–an outstanding art advisor and collector–was my host in Indonesia and was an amazing guide the art scene in Jakarta and Bandung. Her knowledge of both the history of Indonesian art and and the contemporary art scene is outstanding. Deborah comes from a background in the Asian auctions market and has a broad knowledge of the field. Like many of other collectors I met, she is personally connected to many of the artists I saw and supports them at the beginning of their careers. (pictured with sculptor Faisal Habibi)
Through Deborah, I was introduced to several of the key players in the art scene. Highlights of this group–Dr. Melani Setiawan and Deddy Kusuma–are both heavily involved in curating and creating content around their collected artists. Dr. Setiawan is working on publishing a personal collection of over 40,000 photos taken in the Indonesian art world. Kusuma has personally exhibited Indonesian artists at Art Paris and has sponsored many international study trips for artists. It seems that encouraging and mentoring is huge part of the culture; it some thing unique that others can learn from. I heard many stories from the artists about the way the collectors support and inspire them. For more information on the galleries in Indonesia, I recommend researching them on IndoArtNow as the best resource.