POST C: The involvement of tobacco within the subcultures of Jogja

During my visit to Jogja, I had crossed paths with youths at the local events I had attended. Having already known that Indonesia is recognised as the fastest growing cigarette consumer worldwide (Joy de Beyer and Ayda A. Yurekli, 2000), I was interested in the hierarchal value that tobacco had within these environments. I decided to follow up on two individuals whom I had met at these events after to gain a more in-depth understanding of how smoking is affecting youths behind these culture as a whole.

The first individual, is 20-year-old Zulfian. Zulfian has been smoking since high school which started at the first punk show he had attended and blamed both the high prevalence of smoking at these shows and also the social stigma that smoking is associated with amongst men. He considers himself a regretful smoker as he is aware of the dangers of smoking and thus, hopes for a future where tobacco is more considered in education. Although Zulfian is amongst the 70.5% of men who are current smokers (WHO, 2017), he does not completely blame punk for his tobacco consumerism but wishes there were other alternatives other than smoking when attending these shows.

Photographs I took of smoke clouds from smokers and attendees smoking at the punk show, 2019.

My other candidate Za however, is a member of a sculpture making society that do not condone smoking at their events. Being a foreign student from Portugal, she was aware of the Indonesian tobacco industry prior to her move. Initially, this did not phase her as she was originally a social smoker but her views on smoking shifted after joining the sculpture society through her Jogja university. Before her involvement within the society, Z stated that she continued to smoke socially despite fellow classmates advising her that female smokers are frowned upon in Indonesian society. This is no surprise as a study in 2007 showed that only as little as 3% of women smoked (Mimi Nitchter, 2007). The events organised by her society promotes sustainability through showcasing works made from organic and natural resources. She felt the need to quit as a whole because smoking did not align with her society’s motif for advocating a greener society as it causes pollution.

Photo of Za’s works at a event her society had which promotes sculptures and fabrics made from reusable and organic materials.

Ultimately, although the relationship that tobacco has within these two groups differ, I understand that this could be bias perspectives as these opinions derive from two minority sub cultures in which are highly niche.

Joy de Beyer, Ayda A. Yurekli, 2006, ‘Curbing the Tobacco Epidemic in
Indonesia’, viewed 20 December 2019, <>.

Mimi Nichter, S Padmawati, M Danardono, N Ng, Y Prabandari, Mark Nichter, 2009, tobaccocontrol, viewed 19 December 2019, <>.

Nawi Ng, L. Weinehall, A. Öhman, 2007, ‘‘If I don’t smoke, I’m not a real man’—Indonesian teenage boys’ views about smoking ‘ pages 794-804, academic, viewed 19 December 2019, <>.

World health organisation, 2019, ‘‘WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2019 ‘, WHO, viewed 19 December 2019, <>

POST D: Batik In Indonesia

Batik is an Indonesian heritage from the 19th Century, derived from Javanese words amba, which means “to write” (Daszak, P. & Howard, S.E. 2011), and titik, “to dot.” (Daszak, P. & Howard, S.E.) It is a fabric that has been decorated using a “wax resist dyeing method” (Daszak, P. & Howard, S.E.), where the batik maker applies a pattern of hot wax to a cloth. Once the wax dries, the fabric is either brushed with or dipped into a series of dyes. When the wax is later removed, it preserves the intricate patterns of unstained cloth. (Murinto, P. & Aribowo, E. 2016). As I naively thought, batik is not just a combination of colour and pattern, but are symbolic, with each image and every colour determined by traditions and in turn, imply unique meaning. Each batik is different due to influences by local cultures due to “colonial rule, wartime occupation, trade and other geographical factors.” (Henn, C. 2004). Just like my family has a different patterned Scottish tartan to another, throughout all parts of Asia (not just Indonesia), batik can be defined according to “pattern, colour, or fabric” (UNESCO 2009) and carries great social, cultural and political significance.

Today there are “over 2500 batik motifs patented” (Marini, T. 2016) and the development of batik across Indonesia is still happening along modern and traditional influences, so I will only describe a few. Based on the general pattern and colours, “batik in Java is usually divided into inland, also known as pedalaman batik and coastal, pesisir batik.” (Emeralda, E. 2016). Pedalaman batik, especially from places like Yogyakarta and Surakarta as mapped, it is regarded as the oldest form in Java. The absence of external influences such as religion or culture is demonstrated through the “earthy colours used such as black, indigo, brown and yellow” (Emeralda, E.). Another colour was a brown-yellow known as “sogan” (Emeralda, E.) made from a “native tree dye.” (Emeralda, E.)

Yogyakarta batik. (Photo: Emeralda, E. 2016)

Surakarta batik. (Photo: Marini, T. 2016)

Conversely, in the northern areas of Java, Cirebon and Madura where trading was historically more prevalent, the batik reflects outside influences with foreign patterns and brighter colours such as light blues and pinks. Furthermore, evidence of trading with China is demonstrated in the patterns of Cirebon batik through the phoenix and dragon. (Emeralda, E.)

Cirebon batik. (Photo: Emeralda, E. 2016)

Madura batik. (Photo: Marini, T. 2016)

Batik was introduced to Sumatra, Bali and Kalimantan from Javanese influences as demand only increased with local development. (Ernawati, K. 2012). Here, batik known as “benang bintik from central Kalimantan”, (Ernawati, K.) was traditionally only used for weddings or ceremonies, but today is starting to pop up in local designers’ works. Batik from these areas are characterised by “bright vibrant colours,” (Ernawati, K.), usually done by hand as oppose to block printing. Today, flowers are particularly prominent in areas of Sumatra and Bali to support modern day tourism needs.

Sumatra batik. (Photo: Marini, T. 2016)

Bali batik. (Photo: Marini, T. 2016)

Kalimantan batik. (Photo: Emeralda, E. 2016)

Batik in Indonesia is not just a combination of pattern and colour but a representation of the land in which it originates due to trade relations across Asia. Batik is so unique it is possible to identify its derivation through pattern and colours. I am looking forward to seeing this in different parts of Indonesia, particularly Kalimantan when I visit in January.

Batik Map.jpg
This map visually represents the batik across Indonesia I have discussed, making it easier for you to identify where these places are on a map. (Illustration: Nicholl, A. 2017)

Reference List:

Daszak, P. & Howard, S.E. 2011, ‘Punctuated Equilibria and Indonesian Art’, EcoHealth, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 134-5, viewed 04 December 2017

Emeralda, E. 2016, ‘3 Distinct Types of batik That You Should Know’, Arts and Culture, Indonesia Tatler, viewed 04 December 2017 <;

Ernawati, K. 2012, ‘Types and Variations of Batik Indonesia’, Just You Fashion, viewed 05 December 2017 <;

Google Maps 2017. Indonesia, viewed 06 December 2017 <,105.1698715,6z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x2c4c07d7496404b7:0xe37b4de71badf485!8m2!3d-0.789275!4d113.921327?dcr=0&gt;

Henn, C. 2004, ‘Batik Designs’, School Arts: The Art Education Magazine for Teachers, vol. 103, no. 6, pp. 48, viewed 04 December 2017

Marini, T. 2016, ‘Know Various Types of Traditional Indonesian Batik Patterns’, Tinuku, viewed 05 December 2017 <;

Murinto, P. & Aribowo, E. 2016, ‘Image Segmentation Using Hidden Markov Tree Methods in Recognising Motif of Batik’, Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology, vol. 85, no. 1, pp. 27-33, viewed 04 December 2017

Nicholl, A. 2017, ‘Map of batik across Indonesia.’

UNESCO. 2009, Indonesian Batik, Youtube, viewed 04 December 2017 <;

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, <;

Post D: Eko Nugroho’s Indonesia

Negeri Kaya Fatwa, Nugroho 2013

One way to experience the culture of a nation is by exploring it’s contemporary art scene. Based in Yogyakarta Central Java, highly-acclaimed Indonesian artist Eko Nugroho explores  the spirit and modern history of Indonesia in his imaginative, and often dark, works.

Having experienced Indonesia’s period of Reformasi (reformation) and the country’s shift toward democracy, Nugroho belongs to a generation of artists known as ‘2000 Generation.’ Nugroho’s roots in Yogyakarta’s vibrant street art scene is evident in his ecclectic and energetic style that is peppered with socio-political commentary, pop culture, and traditional Indonesian art and craft.

Although he is not directly political, Nugroho explains, “Daily life in Indonesia is consistently coloured by the issues of poverty, social injustice, corruption, violence and religion. Actually, I do not intentionally imbue my works with socio-political messages. However; it is all but impossible to free myself completely from the events happening around me.” This almost unconscious social and political commentary is evident throughout his work and paints a fascinating and dimensional picture of contemporary Indonesia.

Global Identity #2, Nugroho 2011 

Independent curator Supriyananto who Curated Nugroho’s 2009 New York exhibition ‘Tales from Wounded Land,’ commented that Nugroho’s works “make a pointed commentary about the current state of politics and society in contemporary Indonesia, a period in which the newly democratic country is going through great transformation” (Supriyanto 2009).

Nugroho’s medium varies dramatically with each work, his chosen mediums include Print Making, Embroidery, Animation, Sculpture, Painting, Design, Graffiti, Drawing, Batik, Film/Video and Installation. This dynamic mix of traditional and contemporary mediums gives his work originality and flexibility with the soul and craftsmanship of traditional Javanese arts.

Nugroho stated that, “In Indonesia the political situation is getting better, but there’s still a lot of narrow-mindedness and social pressure, and that’s exactly what I’m critical of in my work.”(Nugroho 2015). Nugroho is just one example from a wealth of fascinating contemporary artists working in Yogyakarta, through his work we gain deep insights into the character and landscape of modern Indonesia. In her thesis on contemporary art, Feehan illuminates how, “When contemporary art establishes a meaningful relationship between the viewer and the art, the results can create an insightful awareness of societal issues.” (Feehan 2010)

Artsy, 2017. ‘Biography,’, viewed 14 February 2017 <;

Asia Society, 2016. ‘Video Spotlight: Eko Nugroho,’, viewed 14 February 2017 <;

Supriyanto, E. 2002, ‘eko nugroho + wedhar riyadi: tales from wounded-land,’, viewed 14 February 2017, <;

James, B. 2012, ‘Shadows of meaning: in the Elko Chamber,’ Artlink, Vol. 32, No. 01, Pp. 82-86

Feehan, C. 2010, ‘A study on contemporary art museums as activist agents for social change,’ ProQuest Dissertations and Theses.


Nugroho, E. 2011, Global Identity #2, Artsy, viewed 15 February 2017, <;

Nugroho, E. 2013, Negari Kaya Fatwa, Art Gallery of New South Wales, viewed 15 February 2017, <;

POST D: The Art of Painting in Indonesia

Painting is one of the world’s oldest forms of art and is prevalent all over the world. Indonesia is an artistically diverse archipelago that has held art at its soul for thousands of years. In fact, the oldest, pre-historic cave paintings in the world were discovered in the caves near Maros in the southern island of Sulawesi around 50 years ago and have now been dated using uranium decay levels to be over 39,900 years old (Thomson 2014).

The island of Bali is where painting has been highly developed over the years and artists from here are famous for their paintings. Balinese paintings have been rooted in Balinese culture but have also been heavily influenced by the various countries that have been affiliated with Indonesia over time. Such as India, before the 19th Century, from where, “artistic and religious traditions were introduced… over a thousand years ago through the prism of ancient Javanese culture (Vickers 2012).” This is why many Balinese paintings are a combination of Hindu-Javanese folklore, mythology and, religious and communal life. Traditional Balinese paintings are noteworthy for their, “highly vigorous yet refined intricate art which [resemble] baroque folk art with tropical themes (Antique Java, Indonesian painted wood temple n.d.).”

Further, into the 19th Century, the Dutch colonised Indonesia. At this time, more Western influences came into Indonesian art. Raden Saleh, an Arab-Javanese painter was the pioneer of modernist Indonesian art. He was heavily influenced by the Romanticism art movement and also expressed his cultural origins through his paintings. He created one of Indonesia’s most famous paintings, Penangkapan Pangeran Diponegoro (The Arrest of Pangeran Diponegoro) as a response to Dutch artist Nicolaas Pieneman’s The Submission of Prince Dipo Negoro to General De Kock, which, in his belief, inaccurately depicted the true events of the scene (Effendy n.d.).

R Saleh, Penangkapan P Diponegoro 1957.jpgPenangkapan Pangeran Diponegoro by Raden Saleh (Effendy n.d.)

In the 20th Century, around the 1920s and 1930s, Indonesia started displaying more patriotism. Since the Romanticism movement was inherently Western, Indonesians believed they should not continue to develop it into their painting practice. Artists like Ida Bagus Made and Basuki Abdullah emerged during this time and drew their inspiration from the natural world. Further into the 1940s, Indonesian artists started combining Western techniques with Southeast Asian imagery. Later in the 1960s, artists started to embrace abstract expressionism and weaved Islamic themes and content into their paintings. This was also a time where art started to become political, but the political inclinations soon faded out as they were assumed to harbour communist affinities (Wright 1994).

3329ee1c910dc02e706b914cb967e919_w522.jpgJelekong’s painters can handle a range of subjects that find favour with buyers around Indonesia (Adriansyah 2013)

In 1965, Odin Rohidin, painter and former dramatic actor, pioneered painting in Jelekong, a sub-district of Baleendah in Bandung. Since its beginning, Jelekong has become a painting village whose residents, ranging from 10 to 55 years of age, utilise a multitude of techniques to visualise their ideas. The many paintings created here are marketed domestically and also exported overseas. Further, “Quite a few Jelekong painters have participated in exhibitions in Berlin, Germany, the Netherlands, Dubai and other countries in the Middle East (Adriansyah 2013).”

It can be garnered that Indonesia has had a long and diverse history of paintings, evolving from pre-historic times through to contemporary representations that find favour all over the world, and that art is still held in high regard by many Indonesians today.



Adriansyah, A.2013, ‘West Java’s village of painting’, viewed 15 February 2017, <>.

Antique Java, Indonesian painted wood temple n.d., viewed 16 February 2017, <>.

Effendy,R. n.d., ‘On Appropriation’, viewed 16 February 2017, <>.

Thomson, H. 2014, ‘Rock (Art) of Ages: Indonesian Cave Paintings Are 40,000 Years Old’, viewed 14 February 2017, <>.

Vickers, A. 2012, Balinese Art, Tuttle Publishing, North Clarendon, VT, USA.

Wright, A. 1994, Soul, Spirit, and Mountain: Preoccupations of Contemporary Indonesian Painters, Oxford University Press.

Post D: Uji Handoko Eko Saputro


Indonesia young artists favour wit and parody over straightforward critique of the government and the socio-political landscape of Indonesia and they draw on urban and popular culture. According to curator, Asmudjo Jono Irianto, ‘One of the post‑Reformation young artists’ greatest influences is the industry of popular culture. Low‑brow tendencies in the form of comics, illustrations, graffiti and advertising are quite ‘fashionable’ with young artists now.’

Uji Handbook Eko Saputro (aka Hahan) who is young artist in Indonesia and graduated with a major in printmaking from the Indonesia Institute of the Arts, although he now works in several media including painting, ink drawing and sculpture. His work is influenced by youth culture and he is closely involved with the graffiti and comic-book scene in Yogyakarta. Hahan uses satire and exaggerated characters to make commentaries on contemporary culture.

According to his interview, he said ‘I always start brainstorming from my personal perspective. There is this tendency of mine to view issues from the “black joke” point of view. I think it is brilliant to criticize someone in a subtle way. It’s like you cuddle that person, but they realize that they are being criticized. For me, art is interesting. It enables me to deliver my thought in a different way.’


In his work The Journey Hahan focuses on the art industry, highlighting how difficult it can be for young Indonesian artists to make it in the international art world, in spite of the Indonesian art market boom. He interrogates stereotypes in the art world, such as the revolutionary artists, gallery artists, innovators and a hard-working artist, and sets them within an apocalyptic scene.

Indonesia contemporary arts address a changing Indonesia as a “post-boom, democratic, multi-ethic and globalised consumer society.”



Art Radar, 2016, Indo pop: Indonesian art from APT7: a new generation of Indonesian artists, Art Radar, viewed on 16th February 2017, <;.

Uji Handoko Eko SAPUTRO (aka Hahan), 
The Journey, 2011,
 synthetic polymer paint on canvas. Purchased 2011. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation, collection: QAGOMA.

Post A :Space Design in Spa


b8xascocmaegf9wRashima Karrani Cept, Greenhost hotel ,2017

Eco friendly design that remains with nature …

Pesonally, I was really lucky that we stayed in Greenhost hotel in Yogyakarta. Before, leaving for Indonesia, I researched on Yogyakarta design and had a chance to read review and article on Greenhost hotel built of Eco friendly environment.  All hubs and natural ingredients that used in art kitchen of Greenhost hotel are grown in their own organic farm located in rooftop.  The hotel interior is combination with industrial and eco friendly  design that has lead the trend  steadily to this day.  I was very impressed the poor as well, there is no roof in that space where the poor is located in. For that reason, out side of temperature and sunlight are transmitted in the hotel through open roof. There was really raining day, while staying and I could see the rain dropped from sky.


screen-shot-2017-02-18-at-2-18-39-amw_jalanjalan, Tea Spa in Greenhost hotel ,2017

The hotel installs pipes every floors for hydroponics. These plants plays a role that makes temperature down or up naturally . The tea spa is located in at the end of the poor. I have strong interest especially on space design included with sap. In my opinion, it is strongly minimalized space that dosent need any special puncture or  props. This being so, more and more the design factor are emphasized. The factors can be texture of the ground, the consideration of the flow of human traffic in mind, the quality of service offered, selecting of music, sorts of hub used in massage, fragrance of aroma oils and even tea that drinks after spa. I suppose that every single factor is integrated and interdisciplinary design and we want to find our healing and composure in relaxation. It is a design that remains with human and nature together. In modern society, spa space has become one of the important and essential healing medium. In busy urban life, healing space makes us to refresh and energetic .

01Spa with a nature, Rio de Janeiro, 2017

Some people visit the spa of the reason that they want to get medical treatment, and some one find that space for refreshment or leisure or some others want to make social gatherings. For that mixed and complicated reason, the needs are demanded more luxury and careful design for users.  In the past, People tended to that spa is just for bath and relax. Because of that reason that there was limitation of space and unified design which doesn’t have any unique design factors. But nowadays, These kinds of facilities have brought big changes. The designers have to consider more various factors in order to meet demand of visitors. Not only for that reason that healing through spa, but also we want to approach new culture of different countries, further more we want to communicate diverse people and it is our purpose that we remain and  meet space.



Spa in camping place, CEDAR HOT TUBS UK, 2017

While selecting one of their spa menu, i asked simple questions. They tolled me that they use aroma oil from Bogor and JABA natural  hubs for body scrub. Single room has quite big and there is natural light through open roof and some part of room has open roof as well. Floor and door are made by natural wood and amenities are prepared well for spa. The atmosphere was exotic and their all place that our eyes tune on are green .040503

w_jalanjalan, Tea Spa in Greenhost hotel ,2017



Sessa, A. 2012, The Most Beautifully Designed Spas Around the World,, viewed 15 February 2017 < >

Graham, .d 2015, How Green is my valet ? , The Jakarta Post, viewed 15 February 2017, < http:// >









The Porch Light Program


All works of art are used by the artist to non-verbally communicate with their audience and street art is no different. A number of organisations use murals to encourage social change in certain environments. The Porch Light Program, run by the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, in Philadelphia does exactly this by using murals to open up topics such as mental health and substance abuse for discussion (Mural Arts Philadelphia, 2016). They believe “hands-on-art-making provides a strong pathway for individual and community healing” (Mural Arts Philadelphia, 2016) and a study by the Yale University School of Medicine proves exactly this.

What is Porch Light? Video

Mural Arts Philadelphia, 2016.

The project within the Porch Light Program that links most to Australian culture is The North Philadelphia Beacon Project which tried to tackle alcohol abuse in the North Philadelphian neighbourhood. It consists of two murals with the words RISE, standing 40 feet high, and SHINE, standing 80 feet high, painted over a colour grid of volunteers’ portraits at 2710 North Broad Street. Artist James Burns worked in conjunction with community volunteers and the Sobriety Through Out-Patient (STOP) organisation to create a work that positively addressed addiction and recovery. Burns hoped that this would act as “a reminder to value each day, and remind us that we are a community of individuals, each with a voice and power” (Burns, J. 2013).

Weinike, S. 2013.

The study by Yale University School of Medicine proved that this type of community mural can have a positive effect on a neighbour when asking “can public art promote public health?” (Kraemer Tebes, J. 2015). A group of researchers lead by Jacob Kraemer Tebes, PHD, and Samantha L. Matlin, PHD, looked at the effectiveness of the Porch Light Program on individuals and communities throughout Philadelphian neighbourhoods that exhibited these murals. Their research showed that while there was limited change for some individuals, there was certainly a clear change in the community as a whole making a design initiative such as this highly successful (Kraemer Tebes, 2015).  While they specified that “the mechanism that explains how public murals lead to these outcomes remains unclear” they strongly acknowledges that “the defining impact of the public murals may be that they serve as a catalyst for social change” as explained in the diagram below (Kraemer Tebes, J. 2015).

Kraemer Tebes, J. 2015

A design initiative such as the Porch Light Program in Philadelphia is used to address issues within a community and open up taboo subjects such as mental health and substance abuse for discussion in the hopes of “mobilizing residents for community change”(Kraemer Tebes, J. 2015). The project has been very successful as verified by a Yale University School of Medicine study.

Weinike, S. 2013.


Burns, J. 2013, The North Philadelphia Beacon Project, Philadelphia, viewed 16 February 2017, <>.

Kramer Tebes, J. Matlin, S. Hunter, B. Thompson, A. Prince, D. Mohatt, N. 2015, ‘Porch Light Program: Final Evaluation Report’, Report, Yale University School of Medicine, CT.

Mural Arts Philadelphia. 2016, Porch Light, Philadelphia, viewed 16 February 2017, <>.

Weinike, S. 2013, The North Philadelphia Beacon Project Images, Mural Arts Philadelphia, viewed 16 February 2017, <

Design in a Political Climate

Often, design initiatives are not necessarily linked to designers, artists or organisations in an official capacity. There are many contexts where people create art but instead of calling themselves designers or artists, they more closely identify with activists. This is most often the case in places that are somewhat politically unstable. Countries like Indonesia and Italy share this sense of disillusionment when thinking about their governments. Locals use graffiti and street art as a form of expression to fight the political climate of their countries. While these people are inspired activists, they ultimately design every aspect of their work.


what kind of values are we going to inherit.jpg
Huffington Post. 2013, ‘What kind of values are we going to inherit?’.


During a recent trip to Indonesia, I discussed the national politics with a local artist and activist from Surakarta. Currently living in Yogyakarta, Benk Riyade shared his work with me, highlighting the power of art’s ability to question society norms and educate the masses in an informal environment. Riyade was working on a mural under the bridge in Kampung Kali Kode. He (Riyade, B. 2017, interview, 3 February) wanted his work to educate the working class about Indonesia’s current political climate.

Whilst Benk Riyade’s work is considered street art, a form of creativity that is often criticised by heavy weights in the fine arts world, it is ultimately an expression of skill and imagination. When asked he (Riyade, B. 2017, interview, 3 February) agreed that he was an artist, but only as a product of his real work which was education and, in my opinion, activism.


Qi, Y. 2017.


While on an overnight trip to Genova, the amount of politically fuelled illegal graffiti was astounding. At this time, Italy was struggling with the influx of refugees from Syria with 262,482 recorded refugees in 2015/16 (Clayton, J. 2016). Each of these street artworks was carefully curated and designed by anonymous activists to send a message in support of or in opposition to current governmental foreign policies. One of the most significant artworks was of a 23-year-old Italian boy, Carlo Giuliani, who, during a G8 protest in Genova, was shot by police (Boschi, F. 2016). The instability in the area which allowed for events such as this to occur left many outraged and distrustful, leading some, like the artist of this particular portrait, to channel their activism into street art by reminding officials of their past mistakes.

Clement-Couzner, M. 2012


The power of Riyade’s work and the anonymous street art is in the design, allowing these artists to communicate their ideas with the wider public through a non-verbal means. Each expression of activism is carefully designed to ensure that they affect their audience in the way that they were intended to.


Other Articles of similar Interest – The Porch Light Program



Boschi, F. 2016, ‘Pronte tredicimila firme per cancellare la vergogna della targa a Carlo Guiliani’, il Giornale Politica, 21 July 2016, viewed 15 February 2016, <;.

Clayton, J. 2016, ‘Over 300,00 refugees and migrants cross Med so far in 2016’, RefWorld UNHCR The UN Refugee Agency, 20 September 2016, viewed 15 February 2017, <,,UNHCR,,ITA,,57e143884,0.html>.

Clement-Couzner, M. 2012, Carlo Giuliani, fcollective, viewed 15 February 2017, <;.

Huffington Post. 2013, Yogyakarta Street Art, Huffington Post, viewed 15 February 2017, <;.

Riyade, B. 2017, Interviewed by Eliza Nugan, Indonesia, 3 February.

Qi, Y. 2017, Riyade in Kampung Kali Kode, 3 February.

(POST C) Wicked Corruption, Artistic Rage & Environmental Activism in Indonesia


I’ve always found the East, Asian cultures, and the way in which their societies operate fascinating because culturally, they appear to be on the other end of the spectrum from the West. Even more so, I am intrigued by expats from the West who choose to live and work in Asia and their experiences in doing so. After my own travels to Indonesia, I decided to interview my good friend James Kent, an Australian who has studied in Indonesia, is now living in Sumatra and is fluent in Bahasa. Like most Australians who choose to learn Bahasa, he had the opportunity to study the language in high school, and believed that learning the language of Australia’s closest neighbour was the most pragmatic option for his future career endeavours. He studied International relations and politics at university, in the past worked for the Australian Federal Government and is currently working as translator for a rainforest conservation group in Sumatra. He is very engaged with political scenes in both Indonesia and Australia. I started by asking him what he thinks the biggest issues Indonesia faces, which he states are corruption, poverty, minority rights and the environment. Furthermore he noted certain events such as the Sidoarjo mud flow problem, poaching, fires and deforestation, and pollution.SRI.jpg

A picture of a group working to preserve forested land, sourced from Sumatra Rainforest Institute’s website 

I proceeded to ask him about his work in politics and how people in Australia and Indonesia regard important issues like the environment and the government. According to him, Indonesians are politically engaged but do not like to admit it. Recently, James was tasked with interviewing villagers in Sumatra about their opinions and attitudes towards certain issues, but found it difficult to know what they really thought due to cultural notions around politeness. The preference for Indonesians not to rock the boat in conversation, is something that goes beyond interactions with friends. Both James and I discussed potential political ramifications as a result; governing bodies lack substance and integrity when it comes to addressing issues and that corruption goes largely unnoticed.



Above image is originally sourced while on a street art tour. Below is an image screen from Busrianto’s Instagram

Keeping in mind designerly solutions to issues such as these, I asked him whether he saw art or design having a role to play in social change. However, contrary to what I thought, using art and design as an outlet for cultural and political discourse is still very much taboo in Indonesia. Art is tangible, more flagrant and lingers around much longer than spoken word, proving to be more effective in triggering social changes. I imagined valiant street artists like Andres Busrianto. With complicit politicians and social restrictions in Indonesia, it is easy to see why many Indonesians just appear to accept their fate despite what they may think. Though it is this very fact when looking at the protests that occurred in the 1980’s in Jogyakarta that art is a powerful means of protest because in its very essence, it is freedom of expression (Inside Indonesia 2016). Both the medium and the content of what is on display is enough of a reason for a government to fear the messages of what it brings.



Inside Indonesia. (2016). Of pigs, puppets and protest – Inside Indonesia. [online] Available at: <; [Accessed 10 Apr. 2016].


Instagram. (2016). Anagard_stencil on Instagram: “Swear is fucking big corruption in this project. #streetartnews #streetartfiles #stencilrevolution #yogyakartastreetart #artmarket…”.  <; [Accessed 10 Apr. 2016].


Sumatra Rainforest Institute. (2016). Sumatra Rainforest Institute.  <; [Accessed 10 Apr. 2016].