Arts |

Beyond Graffiti: Street Art Finds a Creative Space

Arts | 28 May 2019

Off the Wall Jakarta is a collaboration between French and Indonesian urban street artists. Combining their signature designs, the artists showcase their work thanks to a collaboration between the French Institute of Indonesia (IFI) the Yello Harmoni Hotel.

French artist Jules Dedet Granel and Katre joined forces with veteran Indonesian urban artists Darbotz and Stereoflow to create a combination of work that showcases street artists’ contribution to the urban landscape. Photo by Ndaru Wicaksono(IFI)/NOW!JAKARTA

Bold colours, lines that intersect in geometric accuracy and designs that depict a signature look adorn the walls outside the French Institute in Jakarta. These are no acts of vandalism, however. In a collaborative effort between the Institute and Yello Harmoni Hotel, Jakarta,  French artist Jules Dedet Granel and Katre joined forces with veteran Indonesian urban artists Darbotz and Stereoflow to create a combination of work that showcases street artists’ contribution to the urban landscape.

In a series of events during late April and early May, the artists visited various locations around the city to display their work.

Granel, who goes by L’Atlas started creating art as a teenager. Following stints in Syria, Morocco, Egypt and China, he developed his art eventually showing his work in galleries. “My idea is universal,” he said, noting that his work is a dichotomy between calligraphy and graffiti. “It’s like order and chaos, peace and friction, I have the oriental aspect but the Latin characteristics,” he added. The geometric art movements are a play on shapes and space.

French painter and muralist, Jules Dedet Granel. Granel, who goes by L’Atlas started creating art as a teenager. Following stints in Syria, Morocco, Egypt and China, he developed his art eventually showing his work in galleries.
Indonesian artist and muralist, Adi Dharma a.k.a Stereoflow.

Darbotz, on the other hand, is an artist who grew up in Jakarta and is influenced by the chaos of the city. The founder of Tembokbomber.com, one of the largest street art and graffiti communities in Indonesia, his work is only in black and white as a sort of parallel to what he calls the colourful life of the urban environs.

“Street art is vandalism” he says of graffiti and his work. “We can’t deny that, but the way I see it, it represents who I am, it has meaning and my art represents that.”

Adi Dharma, who goes by Stereoflow, is also based in  Jakarta and focuses on murals, paintings and installations, largely influenced by hip-hop culture. With colours that pop out and shapes that represent the waves of music, Stereoflow’s work is a representation of the bold vibrancy of contemporary life. He has exhibited widely in Indonesia and overseas including in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Thailand and Australia.

Darbotz and Granel.
Off the Wall is on display at the French Institute, Jl. Thamrin throughout June.

French artist Katre has crisp, bold, public style lettering and highlights the with bright colours. He has published his work over the years in a couple of books. Katre’s work also involves painting black and white photographs on canvas and then infusing them with colour. Aluminium, used wood and glass are among some of the mediums used in his work.

Curator and Project Manager of the Off the Wall Project, Claire Thibaud-Piton  said that the project goes beyond just a collaboration. “I have always been interested in art but street art is a new way of forging the connection between the art communities of France and Indonesia. This project brings together urban communities in a different way,” she said.

Off the Wall is on display at the French Institute, Jl. Thamrin throughout June.