Post D: Indonesian Art Practices and their Geographical Context

How does Indonesian art practices change according to the geographical context of the artisan.

Indonesian art practices stem from similar ideologies and cultural complexities, however when examining these practice in relation to different geographical contexts, variations occurred. Art practices within the local area of Banjarmasin, focused heavily on cultural events and activities and utilised art in order to express and explore these. This is evident through the large amount of motorboats are decorated for the Tanglong Jukung Competitors. The highly decorative embellishments bring a cultural significance to the event, as they create a sense of wonder within the Banjarmasin neighbourhood. Colour symbolism is used as the boats contain ornamental lights that reflect the Tanlong dipanjali colours. The practice of creating specific culturally aware art is also explored through the practice of Sasirangan, which is a traditional fabric colouring art form, that results in range of unique and abstract patterns. The colourful and vibrant designs that are created are reflective of Banjarmasin culture. With advances in textiles technologies, the designs are now produced on advanced textiles with over 30 patterns. These are sold within the Banjarmasin regions, however are also sold externally. There are a range of motifs that are created on the designs, that emphasise their cultural significance and help communicate to the people that aren’t familiar with their culture.

This illustration is a visually representation of Indonesian art practices. Each row embodies a different geographical area e.g. international, national, Regional and Local art practices.

Cultural art practices in the region of Kalimantan begin to be more focused on a tourism based mind set, as their creation are often what makes people travel there. The relationship between tourism and art production in Kalimantan relies on the continual developments of both aspects of the culture. By creating art or souvenirs that reflect key aspects of Indonesian culture, often with a spiritual meaning, tourist are able to take a piece of culture home with them. However, these are often very inexpensive for these tourist, which creates an uneven exchange for the handcrafted wood carvings, masks or clothing. When tourist coming to Kalimantan have respect for the art practices of the locals, their creations can be better valued. This means that the relationship and economics within the cultural exchange can be strengthened.

On a holistic level art in Indonesia is known for its diversity, due to the different regions and ethics within the national that shape the visual styles that each artisan creates. This is evident in the stone sculptures that capture the Hindu believes in Java. The same can be said for villages in Java that create ceramic with reference to the Majapahit kingdom. This results in Indonesia being a country that embodies the cultural diversities within the vast archipelago. Religion has a strong influence on Indonesian art, approximately 82% of the Indonesian population is Islamic, which means that a vast majority of traditional art practices are created with spiritual intend. This is represented through Islamic- style geometric forms and Arabic calligraphy. This enables people to reflect upon Indonesian art with interested and investments, as they values its cultural significance.

Artisans are now practiced all across the world and and combine their traditional culture and understandings with key influences of their current surroundings. In 2017 a number of Indonesian artists such as Putu Edy Asmara and Erizal AS. participated in the Beijing International Art Biennale, where they got to communicate their art practice with those that might be unfamiliar with Indonesian culture and express how geographical context shapes an individual’s art practice.

This map shows the relationship between Indonesian art practices with geographical context. The key communicates the diverse art practices within these areas.

Reference List:

Taylor, P.M. 1994, Fragile Traditions: Indonesian Art In Jeopardy, University of Hawaii Pr, Hawaii.

Clark, J. 2010, Modern And Contemporary Asian Art, Department of Art History & Film Studies, R.C. Mills A26, University of Sydney, Sydney.

Patt, J.A. 1979, ‘The Use And Symbolism Of Water In Ancient Indonesian Art And Architecture’ Science Index, 0729 – Architecture, viewed 4 December 2017, <;

Setianingsih, P., ‘The Voice of Muted People in modern Indonesian Art’ Modern Indonesian Art Pre 1996, Thesis, viewed December 4 2017 <>

Indonesian Arts and Crafts 2017, Arts and HandiCrafts, Viewed 4 December 2017, <>

Facts and Details 2017, Indonesian Art, Arts, Culture, Media, Sports, viewed December 4 2017, <;

2 thoughts on “Post D: Indonesian Art Practices and their Geographical Context

  1. The comment you made about the ‘uneven exchange rate’ about buying pieces of art and souvenirs is really interesting! I wonder in what other ways, other than respect and value, the relationship and exchange can be changed so it isn’t uneven. Also, amazing illustrations Hannah! The drawing style communicates the different subjects in a really interesting and visually appealing way!

  2. Beautiful illustrations Hannah! I think it is sad that most art forms today, like in Kalimantan and particularly Bali I found when researching Batik are influenced a lot by tourism. I suppose there is a market for it now but I also hope that in the future, local artists can begin to produce work like when it first originated in Indonesia. Like you said people do value arts original cultural significance.

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