Because love stories don’t always end with a happily ever after, there’s a place where heartbroken souls can share their feelings and be inspired by others’ perspective on the meaning of a broken heart.

In the month of February, most people become wide-eyed and lovey-dovey and think about how to best spread the love. However, luxury shopping mall Plaza Indonesia offers quite a different perspective – in its Broken Heart Gallery, it showcases the darker side of love, the one that we have all experienced and usually ends with tears and a broken heart.

The Broken Heart Gallery features works from 14 young talented artists with various backgrounds. The curators Aisha Habir and Rega Ayundya needed more than two months to collect and assess the artworks and to consider if they were able to invite visitors to reminisce about their own broken heart experiences in a reflective, yet humorous way.

Entering the gallery, visitors first come across the installation M_KTBUA. Here, they are invited to write a name on the special paper alongside the words, “Maaf, kamu terlalu baik untuk aku” (Sorry, you’re to good for me) – a statement often used to disconnect from a relationship.

Collage artist Ika Vantiani played with the concept of “retail therapy” – there are quite a few people who go on extensive shopping sprees when they are suffering from a broken heart in order to feel better. Her installation shows the classic calculator Olivetti Suma Prima 20, with countless heart-shaped pieces of paper and actual bills scattered around it.

Resatio Adi Putra’s installation features objects connected to certain memories. By crushing, binding and combining them with other, meaningless objects, the memories suddenly morph into a new one whereas the original one doesn’t need to be remembered anymore. 

Fashion designer Ayu Dila Martina’s contribution is a wedding gown as a symbol of hope, with various writings about love. The faded writing represents how memories, hopes and dreams slowly vanish at the end of a love story.

Illustrator Muhammad Taufiq presents Meladori Magpie, a locked and chained box-shaped ceramic inspired by a Smashing Pumpkin’s song. Taufiq aims to convey how men usually deal with a broken heart: by closing up and locking away the memories that had once tasted sweet. But although if they keep these feelings under lock and key, they remain brittle, breakable and fragile – like ceramic.

Photographer Evelyn Pritt displays a photo with lenticular print technique that produces a remarkable illusion of the object image. As a photographer, Evelyn captures the feeling of a broken heart through the waves: looking at waves reminds her of the feeling she had when she was nursing her broken heart; cold and roaring.

Some of the artworks are complete with touching and sometimes witty quotes about love, ranging from Jalaluddin Rumi and F. Scott Fitzgerald to Carrie Fisher, that encourage visitors to contemplate about the meaning of love or simply put a smile on their faces.

In front of the gallery, a Love Lock Installation invites visitors to share some love with underprivileged children by buying a love lock for IDR 50,000. They can write a message on the lock and attach it on the installation. The proceeds will be donated to the campaign #LoveEveryChild from UNICEF Indonesia.

The Broken Heart Gallery can be visited until February 28.

Sari Widiati

Sari Widiati

Sari has been an arts and culture enthusiast for many years. She has written extensively on the arts, travel, and social issues as Features Writer at NOW! Jakarta.