After its successful debut at the Superdesign Show last year, Indonesian Contemporary Art & Design by Artura will represent Indonesia at the world’s largest design exhibit, Milan Design Week 2019 from 7 to 14 April. With the theme “Essential Jakarta”, the Indonesian team, exhibiting for the second year, will showcase contemporary products inspired by Betawi Culture.

Indonesian Contemporary Art & Design by Artura will represent Indonesia at the world’s largest design exhibit, Milan Design Week 2019 from 7 to 14 April. Photo courtesy of Artura/NOW!JAKARTA

Operating under Yayasan Design + Art Indonesia, ICAD was selected to represent Indonesia following a lengthy selection process. ICAD will collaborate with Istituto Italiano Di Cultura, Jakarta City Government, BEKRAF, and PD Pasar Jaya to support the group of designers and artists who will be showcasing their creations at the Superstodio Più, Tortona Zone, Milan, Italy. 

Participants span a range of creative industries including the arts, product design, music, fashion design, and architecture who were selected by Diana Nazir and Tjuk Rahayu as a curator.

Aloysius Baskoro Junianto, Kitchen Studio, Pala Nusantara, Du’Anyam, and Tommy Ambiyo are prominent names who are representing product design. Photographer Ayang Kalake, graphic designer Danton Sihombing, visual mapper Eldwin Pradipta, as well as fashion designer Felicia Budi and Savira Lavinia are also on board. Directed by Andika Frestian, the Indonesian team will showcase contemporary products and an art performance which manifests Jakarta’s heterogeneous culture.  

ICAD special collaborator, Department of Tourism DKI Jakarta is designated to select the most represented products that portray Jakarta’s multicultural identity. The Dharmawangsa Jakarta’s culinary team is appointed to prepare Jakarta culinary products namely gado-gado and Soto Betawi.

The curator, Tjuk Rayahu noted that Betawi culture was chosen because it embraces diversity, with Jakarta being the melting pot of many ethnicities. It is also a way for designers to illustrate Jakarta as the international gateway to Indonesia where people can find a variety of creative and contemporary products.

“Designers and artists have worked through special projects to elevate this Betawi Culture in the realm of contemporary design. Some of them are inspired by Betawi icons that could convey a cultural narrative. We want people know Indonesia from Jakarta and people will know Jakarta from its Betawi culture,” Rahayu said.

Rahayu stated that ICAD aims to explores how traditional Betawi icons have managed to adapt to modern life in a 200-square-metre pavilion. There will be eight Betawi icons that have been recreated in contemporary works such as Ondel-Ondel, Kembang Kelapa, Gigi Balang ornaments, Sadariah clothes, Kebaya Kerancang, Batavian batik, Kerak Telor, and Bir Pletok. 

Last year’s theme “Java Blues” highlighted Javanese culture and batik, 

“We may have no expert skill to create advanced contemporary works and the technology involved but Indonesian culture, including Betawi, has always held narrative power. Besides the artistic approach, we will highlight the cultural narrative during the April event,” Rahayu said.

Furthermore, Rahayu explained that "Essential Jakarta" at the Superdesign Show could widen the market in the capital. It could also help establish a clearer identity of Jakarta icons which could help draw in international visitors and create business opportunities for local designers and artists.

Rintang Azhar

Rintang Azhar

Rintang is a previous staff writer for NOW! with experience in hard news and lifestyle journalism. He specialises in art, design, culture, fashion, environmental, and urban issues.