The exhibition project Arus Balik was initiated from a conversation between Jakarta-based artist Ade Darmawan and curator Philippe Pirotte, and reconsiders Indonesian author Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s epic book Arus Balik (1995). The book’s title could be translated into English as a “turning of the tide,” elaborating on the weakening of maritime culture of Javanese kingdoms in the early 16th century, the progressive Islamisation, and the beginning of Portuguese penetration on parts of the now Malayan and Indonesian peninsula and archipelago. The novel is a starting point for reflection on shifts in perspective, induced by geopolitical, cultural, social, and religious impulses, as well as natural forces.
Participating in the exhibition is a group of artists and scholars hailing from diverse disciplines, including, amongst others, Ade Darmawan (Indonesia), ila (Singapore), Zac Langdon-Pole (New Zealand/Germany), Shubigi Rao (India/Singapore), Lucy Raven (United States), and Melati Suryodarmo (Indonesia), who will contribute sculptures, photographs, films, documents, and texts. The exhibition Arus Balik, furthermore, juxtaposes a laboratory setting, water from the straits, soil and volcanic sediments, with reworked historical maps and material from popular culture. It aims to imagine the implication of histories and politics in processes of transition such as colonisation and decolonisation, for people and countries below and above the wind.
Curated by Philippe Pirotte, Director, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste – Städelschule, and Portikus, Frankfurt, and Visiting Professor (2018/2019), School of Art, Design and Media, NTU
Venue: NTU CCA Singapore, The Exhibition Hall, Block 43 Malan Road
Hours: Tue-Sun 12 — 7pm
Open on Public Holidays, Closed on Mondays
When: 22 Mar - 23 Jun 2019,