Contemporary Arts Festival: Jakarta, West Java

Art lovers in Jakarta will be delighted to hear that the city plans to hold a contemporary arts festival for the entire month of November. ASI V 2007 will be held at Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) in Cikini, Jakarta Playhouse in Pasar Baru and Goethe Institut in Menteng, all in Central Jakarta.

“The festival will feature the best and 14 perfroming artists from 11 countries, including Indonesia,” said Putu Wijaya, the event organizing committee head for Art Summit Indonesia V 2007.

Putu said the committee had chosen the artists based on their quality, background and work.

Some of the artists, such as dancers Diez y Diez Danza from Spain and Angela Liong from Singapore will premier work in the festival; while Dorky Park from Germany will have its debut in Asia the Jakarta Post article explains.

Three Indonesian artists performing in the festival are Made Sidia with his Wayang Listrik (Electric Wayang), monologist Butet Kertarejasa and Jecko Siompo, a dancer.

However, unlike previous years, Putu said there would not be any visual arts in this festival.

“We have to compromise due to the lack of funding,” he said.
The first ASI, which featured dance and music, was held in 1995 under the initiative of Edi Sedyawati, the then-director general of culture at the Education and Culture Ministry.

The second ASI was held during the reform year in 1998, and was almost canceled by the organizer because the team thought it was inappropriate to hold a festival at the time.

“However, on second thought, we realized that people needed art to feed their soul, therefore we held the summit,” he said.

The ASI is held every three years. The first ASI involved 15 groups from nine countries; the second one was followed by 15 groups from eight countries, featuring performing arts, such as dance, music and theater; the third ASI in 2001, which had the same concept as the second one, was followed by 17 groups from 10 countries; and the fourth ASI in 2004 was followed by 15 performing artists from 10 countries and 25 visual artists from six countries.

Playwright Ratna Riantiarno, who is also on the organizing committee, said she was happy the city could hold the festival.
“It’s amazing how performing artists from overseas eagerly want to participate in this festival.

“However, I feel sad, though, because it’s not easy to get sponsorship from local partners,” she said.