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Projects > Sama-sama/Together

Carolyn Ryder Cooley Captive
Hearts Fly Free
Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Andrew Schoultz untitled (2003),
Yogyakarta, Indonesia (detail)

Aaron Noble Mata Hari (2003),
Yogyakarta, Indonesia (detail)

Alicia McCarthy
Nobodys Home?
(2003), Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Megan Wilson Bungas (2003),
Yogyakarta, Indonesia (detail)

Carolyn Castaño Gadis-Gadis
(2003), Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Arie Dyanto and Samuel Indratama (2003), Southern Exposure/Project Artaud, San Francisco, CA (detail)

Arie Dyanto and Samuel Indratama (2003), Southern Exposure/Project Artaud, San Francisco, CA (detail)

Arya Panjalu and Nano Warsono, (2003), LeBeau Nob Hill Market, San Francisco, CA (detail)

Arya Panjalu and Nano Warsono, (2003), LeBeau Nob Hill Market, San Francisco, CA (detail)

Terima Kasih to Samuel, Arie, Nano, Arya, Farhan, Rohman, Bambang, Mie, Ingville, Codit, Nunuk, Sigit, Roni, Sulis, Tejo, Nawang, Wali Kota Jogya, Purawisata, Permata, LIP, Via Via Café, Cemeti, Agung Guest House, and Spartan Paints.

Many thanks to the following for their support and assistance in helping to make Sama-sama/Together a reality: Sarita Ahuja, Kathy Aoki, Project Artaud, Conrad Atkinson, Amy Berk, Rena Bransten, Elaine Buckholtz, Sarah Cain, Victor Cartagena, Hui Chen, Kevin Chen, Deborah Clearwaters, Margaret Cogswell, Erin Cosgrove, Diane Coward, Deborah Cullinan, Curve, Sujud Dartanto, Sergio de la Torre, Geoff Dorn, Felipe Dulzaides, Ala Ebtekar, Dennis and the Elbo Room, Southern Exposure, Courtney Fink, Joseph and Claire Fischer, Beth Gates, Brian Goggin, Jim Goldberg, Jim Goldberg, Cliff Hengst, Scott Hewicker, Ben Hirschkoff, Annice Jacoby, John Killacky, Keith Knight, Charles La Belle, Trisha Lagaso, Stella Lai, David Lawrence, Laurie Lazer, LeBeau Nob Hill Market, Mars, Mats!?, Barry McGee, John McGlynn, Julio Morales, Sarah Murray, Hello Noisy, and Aislers Set, Sirron Norris, John Patrick MacKenzie, Jesus Angel "Txutxo" Perez, Eduardo Pineda, Ben Prince, Jose Ramon Lerma, Kyle Ranson, Margaret Rea, Ricardo Richey, Clare Rojas, Oliver Halsman Rosenberg, Jeff Roysdon, Alena Rudolph, Christine Shields, Darryl Smith, Miriam Stahl, Widya Suharnoko, Deth Sun, Bill Swanson, Ade Tanesia, the Asian Art Museum , The staff and board at Intersection for the Arts, Tom & John, Community Thrift, Carlos Villa, Brad Wilson, Gordon Winiemko, Rhonda Winter, Lena Wolfe, Jenifer K. Wofford, Allison Wyckoff, Philip Yampolsky, Erick Zoe

Thank you also to the Asian Cultural Council, the Ford Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation for their support!

Sama-sama/Together exhibition at Intersection for the Arts (2003)

In the summer of 2001, I traveled to Indonesia to learn about the country's contemporary arts scene. I was curious to find alternative art communities and learn how national and international politics and global consumer culture had affected the region.

Indonesia was particularly appealing for this reason. I couldn’t recall having ever heard anything about the country’s contemporary art scene. I also knew that the political climate had been incredibly tense over the past several years with the forced resignation of Mohamed Soeharto in 1998. In addition, Bali is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, making it fertile ground for seeing the effects of global consumerism on a third-world nation.

Prior to my trip, I was able to find a great deal of information about Indonesia's traditional arts (shadow puppets, Ramayana ballet, and gamelan), yet discovered very little about the work being created now. Through my observations while traveling, I began to understand more clearly some of the reasons behind the lack of visibility for contemporary Indonesian art in the U.S. Tourism accounts for 1/3 of Indonesia's economy. The effect is striking - shop after shop filled with traditional hand-crafted works that once held cultural significance beyond a price tag and temples littered with candy wrappers and cigarettes. The foreign impact has also not been lost on the nation's cultural image. Tourist demands and currency for traditional arts such as the gamelan, batik, and Legong dance have helped to create an artistically stagnant identity for Indonesia.

While primarily unknown to the art world here in the U.S., I did find a thriving contemporary, alternative arts community in Yogyakarta on the island of Java. I visited the Cemeti Foundation and Gallery and was struck by how similar the art in Yogyakarta was to work being created in San Francisco, yet with a clear identity of its own. I was also introduced to Apotik Komik, an artists' collective that had begun creating public artworks in 1992, working much like artists from the Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP). Through the relationships that ensued, I knew that I had found a community of artists who could provide great inspiration to the arts (and greater) community in the Bay Area, and in particular artists from CAMP - and vise versa. I returned in August of 2001. One month later, life changed dramatically for everyone throughout the world. The 9/11 tragedy and the repercussions that have followed, including the bombing on Bali in October 2002, have made it even more critical for understanding and dialogue between Muslim and non-Muslim countries. Sama-sama/Together, in part, grew out of the recognition for this need and the possibility to provide a creative response to the divides that have deepened as a result of recent world events.

In selecting the artists from San Francisco, I was primarily interested in curating a group who worked with similar aesthetics and methodologies as Apotik Komik - producing work from a "do it yourself" approach, influenced by comics and imagery in the public sphere such as advertising, design, and graffiti, and who strongly hold community as a virtue. However, I was also interested in representing a broad range of visual styles within this slant. I believe the artists chosen (Aaron Noble, Alicia McCarthy, Carolyn Ryder Cooley, Andrew Schoultz, Carolyn Castaño, Rigo, and myself) reflect this vision.

I invited Intersection for the Arts to be a partner on the project based on Intersection's long history of presenting programming that approaches art and culture as a complex, multi-layered relationship that is constantly changing and evolving -- and for providing a platform for exploring this relationship through many different forms of dialogue and critique. Thank god they said "Yes" because Sama-sama/Together could not have been a reality without them. Intersection has been an amazing support for the project, and in particular Kevin Chen has been both my partner in organizing and administrating the project and an amazing visionary to help shape and see the project through. In addition, Sama-sama/Togethercould not have happened without the hard work of Apotik Komik in Yogyakarta, and especially Ade Tanesia, who has been the organizing and administrative backbone in Indonesia and also our partner in bringing the project to fruition.

Sama-sama/Together is an international collaboration and exchange project between community arts organizations and artists from San Francisco, California and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. This project, co-sponsored by the Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) and Intersection for the Arts, will feature the first murals to be created in San Francisco by Indonesian artists and the first major exhibition in the Bay Area to feature contemporary alternative work from Indonesia. Designed to foster understanding of contemporary art and culture between the two communities through the creation of new works, as well as through cross-cultural dialogue between participating artists and the public at large, this collaboration is especially timely given the great need for understanding and dialogue between Muslim and non-Muslim countries (Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world). Sama-sama/Together launched in July and August, 2003 as six Bay Area artists from the artists' collective CAMP (Carolyn Castaño, Carolyn Ryder Cooley, Alicia McCarthy, Aaron Noble, Andrew J. Schoultz, Megan Wilson) traveled to Indonesia, and then in September and October, 2003 as four Yogyakarta artists from the artists' collective Apotik Komik (Arie Dyanto, Samuel Indratma, Arya Panjalu, Nano Warsono) travel to the Bay Area. All of the participating artists in Sama-sama/Togehter work within similar aesthetics and methodologies - producing work influenced by comics and visual imagery found in the public sphere such as graffiti, advertising, and design. Whether individual artworks, large murals or public art projects, each of the artists individually and collectively make work responding to immediate social and political conditions. Sama-sama/Together provides the opportunity to learn how each culture has influenced and responded to the artwork being created - an experimental exchange that will generate fertile, cross-cultural dialogue amongst the communities of the Pacific Rim. The project encompasses the creation of public works (murals, performances, and installations), joint gallery exhibitions in each location, artists' talks, and an evening of film/video presentations from each community. In San Francisco, all of the artists will present a gallery exhibition at Intersection (September 10 - October 25, 2003), and the Apotik Komik collective will create new public murals on Clarion Alley, outside of Southern Exposure, on LeBeau Nob Hill Market, Rainbow Grocery, and Sycamore Street, participate in an auction at Intersection, and visit classrooms at Bay Area schools. In addition, a catalogue will be produced to accompany the project.

APOTIK KOMIK is an artists' collective based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Currently, Yogyakarta does not have an established public art program due to the socio-political climate that existed during the Suharto administration. However, as life has slowly been changing over the past five years, so too has the ability and desire to create public art. They work in public spaces such as empty walls and billboards - alternative spaces outside of the established gallery system. Working with humor and subversion, their work comments on the socio-political conditions of Indonesia. They often use cardboard and house paints, as traditional materials such as canvas and acrylic paints are prohibitively expensive. They also make comic books. Although Apotik Komik started in 1992, they became widely known in 1997 with a show that member Samuel Indratma organized called Apotik Komik that received a great deal of attention from the art community and the media. The overwhelmingly positive support reflected the needed voice that Apotik Komik has provided in Yogyakarta's arts and greater community.

CLARION ALLEY MURAL PROJECT (CAMP) was established in October 1992 by a volunteer collective of six Mission residents: Aaron Noble, Michael O'Connor, Sebastiana Pastor, Rigo 92, Mary Gail Snyder, and Aracely Soriano. CAMP was directly inspired by the mural cluster in Balmy Alley focused on Central American social struggles. CAMP did not choose a single theme, however, instead focusing on the two goals of social inclusiveness and aesthetic variety. As a result CAMP has produced more than 100 murals on and around Clarion Alley by artists of all ages and all levels of experience, with an emphasis on emerging artists and new styles. Clarion Alley was a key site for the development of the aesthetic that has become known as the Mission School. Many of the artists who CAMP has worked with in the past decade have gone on to become highly regarded locally, nationally, and internationally, including Chuy Jesús Campusano; GIANT; Susan Greene; Maya Hayuk; Heart 101; Cliff Hengst; Marisa Hernandez; Scott Hewicker; Xylor Jane; Chris Johansen; Barry McGee; Ruby Neri; Sirron Norris; Isis Rodriguez; Scott Williams.

INTERSECTION FOR THE ARTS is San Francisco's oldest alternative art space - turning 38 in June 2003 - and has a long history of presenting new, experimental work in the fields of literature, theater, music, and the visual arts and also in supporting the Bay Area's cultural community through service, technical support, and mentorship programs. Overall we are a rare organization. We do not have an artistic director because we believe that we can only continue to be a current, relevant, and strong community-based art space if we cultivate not one person's vision but the vision of all the people who make an investment in the organization. Our mission is vested in the notion that art can provide powerful opportunities for people to exchange ideas and perspectives, encourage us to respond more critically to the world - to begin to reach for a future that is more hopeful, more inclusive, and more tolerant. We currently support and present work in six different program fields: Visual Arts, Literary (the oldest independent reading series in California), Theater, Jazz, Hybrid Project, and Fiscal Sponsorship to over 100 Bay Area artists.