The past decade has seen increased global interest in Indonesian art and along with it, interest in the long-neglected field of Indonesian art history. Until quite recently, art history resources were limited, particularly those relating to lesser known artists and works produced during tumultuous periods.
Today, institutions like the Indonesian Visual Arts Archive (IVAA) in Yogyakarta are doing their best to fill these gaps by building art archives and making them accessible to the public. But much work still needs to be done in cataloguing Indonesia’s extensive collection of old and new art. What are the main challenges faced by those who are trying to build Indonesia’s art archives? What is the relevance of art history to contemporary Indonesian society?
I discuss these issues with Farah Wardani, art historian, curator, author, and assistant director in charge of archives at the National Gallery of Singapore (NGS). Before joining NGS in 2015, Farah was the executive director of IVAA, the first institution dedicated to archiving contemporary Indonesian art.
In 2017, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Charlotte Setijadi from the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore, Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, and Dr Dirk Tomsa from La Trobe University.
Raden Saleh’s “Deer Hunt”.