Sculpture comes to Yogyakarta's streets
THE SPIDERMAN FIGURE at the Tugu Monument is the work of artist Amboro Liring and reflects the habits of Yogyakartans, who love hanging out around the city’s iconic monument.
The statue has become a favourite spot among selfie-lovers – from policemen, food sellers and tourists to students, who stand in line for their picture with the Javanese Spiderman.
Spiderman is one of 32 statues on display on the streets around the monument as part of the Jogja Street Sculpture exhibition, organised by the Indonesian Sculptors Association and running until December 31.
On the monument’s other side, an old door has been installed in the red brick walls. The installation forms a frame to make people feel like they are standing inside a home against the background of Tugu Yogyakarta.
The piece’s creator, Ali Umar, says that if people stand at the door and take a selfie, they will appear to be at their virtual home, with the monument seen nearby.
According to the exhibition’s organiser, Panji Bagus Kurniawan, the event highlights how identity differences within society can create space for creative and dynamic dialogue rather than limitations.
Yogyakarta’s cosmopolitan potential is reflected through public spaces, where various languages, cultures and nations meet, |he adds.
“The works presented in the city centre can serve as a medium to revitalise public spaces as meeting places. This use of space takes account of ethical and artistic aspects of the local environment instead of just moving art objects out of galleries,” Panji says.
He adds that to reconcile art and public activities, the organisers researched and observed public space realities in social, cultural, historical and political contexts.
“The presence of sculptures should take heed of public space users in the sense of being public-friendly, interactive and supportive of public access, cyclists and pedestrians.”
The works of the 32 sculptors indeed refresh public places in the hub of Yogyakarta, now packed with hotels and restaurants.
The objects respond to the issue of public places humorously, although they may be a form of criticism directed at city policymakers.
Apart from Spiderman and the Tugu door, there’s also a car leaning against the wall of a restaurant offering no parking space, created by Awan P Simatupang, and a red scooter plunging on the sidewalk, fashioned by Teguh S Priyono.
Nearby, artist Suparman showcases a piece titled “Rainbow”, showing a red hydrant seemingly spurting two streams of multi-coloured water. His concept depicts Yogyakarta’s cultural diversity, with people from different regions converging in a dynamic and artistic way.
Rudi Mantofani with his installation called Becak E-mas features the becak (pedicab) as one of Yogyakarta’s typical faces. The becak has held its ground in Yogyakarta despite the city’s rapid transformation. Rudi’s golden-coloured becak appeals for the government’s attention through human touch and modernisation to boost pedicab drivers’ dedication and pride.