The Equator: Biennale Jogja XI 2011 will present approximately 40 Indonesian and Indian contemporary artists.

Alia Swastika. Courtesy Biennale Jogja.


Biennale Jogja XI 2011 Edition #1
Indonesia and India Meeting

25 November 2011 – 8 January 2012

Curatorial team: Alia Swastika and Suman Gopinath

The Equator: Biennale Jogja XI 2011 will present approximately 40 Indonesian and Indian contemporary artists. Biennale Jogja’s Equator Series is intended not only to work with individual artists or groups, but also to work with arts organizations in Indonesia and in partner countries. Thus pioneering dialogue, cooperation, and partnerships will sustain and co-deliver new, more extensive cooperation.

The artists will present art works that are contextual and represents the current social situation surrounding their living space. The biennale will feature the works of individual, group, or community art projects. The public can access these works from 25 November 2011 until 8 January 2012 at Jogja National Museum, Taman Budaya Yogyakarta, and other locations in the geographic area of the Special Region of Yogyakarta.

Why India?
For the first edition in the Equator Series, it was decided to follow the equator from Indonesia to the West. The history of Indonesia’s diversity is always related to India since it had a great influence on Indonesian culture, especially on the islands of Sumatera, Java and Bali as well as upon other ethnic groups in the eastern parts of the archipelago. Researching and learning about India is also part of efforts to re-learn the history of Indonesian society. India and Indonesia thus have shared many similarities, while also showing differences in terms of cultural diversity.

Religiosity and Diversity
This first Equator Series will focus on the topic of religiosity and diversity, which reflect similarities and differences between Indonesia and India. Throughout history, the relations between the two countries have somehow always been connected by religion. Almost all the religions now practiced in Indonesia were brought by Indians, through trading or sacred missions. In later developments, when religion was established as social institutions rather than merely as spiritual and cultural practices, it became evident that different interpretations of religious texts had become part of power or political systems. These developments sometime led to social conflicts, as has happened in Indonesia and India.

Reflecting the current situation in both countries, it is interesting to see how artists interpret and engage in a dialogue between different religious texts. Observations of the Indian art scene show how religion, also faith and spiritualism, are some of the most popular issues drawing the interests of Indian artists. The critical interpretation by artists of religious primordialism is needed when society is being driven by a dominant group, using the name of God and religion.

The aims are to show different perspectives on religious and faith practices, to build critical and analytical thoughts on social conflicts connected to religion and faith, and, furthermore, by showing artistic practices the biennale hopes to open dialogue about faith and religiosity in society.

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