To understand a nation, it is pivotal to understand its culture and its history. But understanding a country be it India or any country in the world it is essential to dive into the spirit of that country. Indonesia is just like India that has a diverse cultural heritage.
In order to feel the culture and the history of Indonesia, an art exhibition called “The Food Diplomacy: Makan Ngga Makan Asal Kumpul” at the Korean Cultural Centre. The exhibition is based on the cultural gathering in Indonesia as a platform to extend the ideas from every artist that participates in food practices which are critically related to health, culture, socio-politics and any other arts.
The artists featured in the event were; Adi Sundoro, he tried to inform on how the food distribution process has been carried out internationally by companies throughout history using their transportation tools. The second artist was Bakudapan whose work observes the connection between politics and food through a minor narrative, based on women’s experiences as former political prisoners. An installation created by Natasha “Tontey” Gabriella is an imaginative work about the sustainable future that is led by pests with a cockroach figure since it is the only species that has the ability to survive despite many extinctions and transformative events. Along with these artists, XXLab, Fransisca Retno and Fajar Abadi.
Curated by M. Haryo Hutomo, he talks about the inspiration behind the show was to show the ideas of every artist that participate in food practices which are critically related to health, culture, socio politcs and any other arts. He then details about how India and Indonesia are similar saying that they are not only similar in the field of arts or foods that India and Indonesia have similarities, but also to wider cultural values from the past until now.
India and Indonesia both have a deep history of printmaking. “We have a history about printmaking practices. During the colonial era, some artists making a silkscreen and woodcut technique to develop propaganda posters to fight against colonialism at that time.
He then talks about how printmaking as a media has a negative impact on ecology because of the materials needed. He says, “This might also be related to how the failure of modernity in the practice of printmaking still does not offer ideas in anticipating the use of materials because printmaking is very closely related to industrial products, I think artists whose practice is printmaking must try to experiment in processing the materials needed to become biodegradable.
On the issue of art being concentrated in galleries, he expresses, “To be honest, I don't like arts that are embedded in the gallery space and have no significant social impact.” He then adds, “I think when an art project can be done and presented in all places without prioritizing social classes, it will be a great work that we need to pay attention to.”
There is an underlying message that exists in this show to which, he explains through this project, hopefully, people will be more aware on how food production and distribution influence ethical, economic, and artistic values.