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Borderless: An Introduction of the Visual Art Scene in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

March 25, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Borderless: An Introduction of the Visual Art Scene in Yogyakarta, Indonesia
A virtual film screening and conversation with artist Maryanto Beb, artist Elia Nurvista, curator Alia Swastika, artist Mella Jaarsma, and 18th Street Art Center’s Sue Bell Yank
Thursday, March 25th, 2021 | 7 PM* PST

*This event is exclusive for Borderless members only. Join by making a donation of any amount today and we will send you an access code to the exclusive Borderless portal.

For our first iteration of Borderless, a special membership program featuring quarterly introduction to artist communities around the world, we focus on Yogyakarta, Indonesia (colloquially called “Yogya” or “Jogja”). Though all places have their challenges, Jogja is known for an unusually high concentration of artists and intergenerational self-organized artist communities. Through intercultural dialogue and exchange, we explore the organizational methods employed in this unique city of artist communities and how we might learn from them. 

This introduction comes in two parts:

The Film. First, enjoy a 17-minute documentary film directed by artist Mella Jaarsma, founder of Cemeti Institute, that explores multiple different artist communities in Jogja, including Cemeti, Bakudapan Food Study group, Mes56, Gegerboyo, and Lir. Explore the streets of the city, pop in on artisanal shops and artist studios, and learn about site-specific projects on the slopes of the Merapi Volcano. This film was commissioned by 18th Street Arts Center exclusively for Borderless and was created in January 2021. 

The Virtual Dinner/Brunch Gathering. Once you have gotten a taste of the Yogyakarta arts community through Mella’s film, join artist Maryanto Beb, artist Elia Nurvista, curator Alia Swastika, artist Mella Jaarsma, and 18th Street’s Sue Bell Yank on March 25 at 7pm* (LA Time)/March 26 at 9am (Jogja Time) as we have a meal together and talk freely about artists communities in Jogja and the cultural strategies of co-organization and co-development that help them thrive. Join us with a dinner/breakfast that feels relevant to your creative community! This event will be held virtually on Zoom. (*Please note new time.)

Image Caption: Maryanto, Rukun Tresna (Harmonious and Affectionate), 2019. Digital prints on flags of Kaliurang communities. Detail of installation at 900mdpl: Hantu-hantu Seribu Percakapan (Ghost of a Thousand Conversation) in Kaliurang, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Courtesy of Mella Jaarsma.


Maryanto creates evocative, black and white paintings, drawings, and installations that undermine the romantic language of traditional landscape painting to examine socio-political structures in the physical spaces that he depicts. Through fable-like and theatrical settings, these landscapes are subjected to the whims of colonisers and capitalists through technological development, industrialisation, pollution of the land and exploitation of its natural resources. Maryanto graduated from the Faculty of Fine Art, Indonesia Institute of the Art, Yogyakarta in 2005. Maryanto lives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Elia Nurvista is interested in exploring a wide range of art mediums with an interdisciplinary approach and focus on the discourse of food. Through food, she intends to scrutinize power, social and economic inequality in this world. In 2015, she initiated Bakudapan, a food study group with colleagues from different disciplines such as anthropology and philosophy. Bakudapan runs with the principle of complementarity and camaraderie between the members. With Bakudapan, she has conducted research on food within the socio-political and cultural context. She obtained her BFA from Indonesia Institute of Fine-Art in 2010. She lives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where she was born.

Alia Swastika is a curator and researcher based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She is the Director of Jogja Biennale Foundation where she was the curator for Jogja Biennale Equator Series #1 Shadow Lines: Indonesia Meets India (2011) and became the Biennale Director in 2015. Previously she was Artistic Manager of Cemeti Art House then Program Director of Ark Galerie in Jakarta. Alia was also co-artistic Director of The 9th Gwangju Biennale: ROUNDTABLE (2012). She has curated major international exhibitions including: The Past The Forgotten Time (Amsterdam, Jakarta, Semarang, Shanghai, Singapore, 2007-2008), Manifesto: The New Aesthetic of Seven Indonesian Artists (Singapore, 2010), Indonesian in Marker, Art Dubai (2012), and the latest was curator for Europalia Festival focus on Indonesia: Contemporary Art Projects. She is the founder of SOAP: Study of Art Practices, a publication and research laboratory for visual arts in Yogyakarta.

Mella Jaarsma has become known for her complex costume installations and her focus on forms of cultural and racial diversity embedded within clothing, the body and food. She was born in the Netherlands in 1960 and studied visual art at Minerva Academy in Groningen (1978-1984), after which she left the Netherlands to study at the Art Institute of Jakarta (1984) and at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta (1985-1986). She has lived and worked in Indonesia ever since. In 1988, she co-founded Cemeti Art House (with Nindityo Adipurnomo), the first space for contemporary art in Indonesia, which to this day remains an important platform for young artists and art workers in the country and region.


Borderless is a membership program for those who are committed to supporting the work of American and international contemporary artists, and who believe that a thriving international arts community is key to addressing the major challenges of our time. Your contribution underwrites the development of new works-in-progress by notable rising and established international artists during their residencies at 18th Street Arts Center, who are global ambassadors to artist communities around the world.

Through Borderless, you will have exclusive access to programs that unveil the depth and importance of artist communities around the world through the eyes of influential international artists. Each quarter, we will focus on a different region, with artist-designed cultural experiences including live virtual discussions with international artists, artist tours of their studios and communities on-the-ground, and cultural exchange programs.

Though the suggested donation for a Borderless annual membership starts at $1000, from January – December 2021 we will be offering one year trial memberships to ALL of our donors, in any amount. Be sure to donate today.

For questions about membership and benefits including setting-up a pledge agreement please email the Membership Manager at borderless@18thstreet.org.



March 25, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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18th Street Arts Center
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