Skip to main content

Distributed for National University of Singapore Press

Artists and the People

Ideologies of Art in Indonesia

Gets to the heart of what is unique about Indonesian art. 

Exploring the work of established and emerging artists in Indonesia’s vibrant art world, this book examines why so many artists in the world’s largest archipelagic nation choose to work directly with people in their art practices. While the social dimension of Indonesian art makes it distinctive in the globalized world of contemporary art, Elly Kent is the first to explore this engagement in Indonesian terms. What are the historical, political, and social conditions that lie beneath these polyvalent practices? How do formal and informal institutions, communities, and artist-run initiatives contribute to the practices and discourses behind socially engaged art in Indonesia? Drawing on interviews with artists, translations of archival material, visual analyses, and participation in artists’ projects, this book presents a unique, interdisciplinary examination of ideologies of art in Indonesia. 

272 pages | 46 halftones | 6 x 9

Art: Middle Eastern, African, and Asian Art

Asian Studies: Southeast Asia and Australia

Nus Press Pte Ltd image

View all books from Nus Press Pte Ltd


“[The book] proves to be a key instrument in understanding the Indonesian art scene’s rich collectivity.”


"Elly Kent’s new book Artists and the People: Ideologies of Art in Indonesia adopts a sociological approach to understanding the practice of art in, specifically, Indonesia and its history and tradition."

Asian Review of Books

Table of Contents

Author’s Introduction: Entanglement in the world
Part 1: History, identity and culture: the matrix for the artist’s soul
Si Kabayan Nyintreuk: eccentricity and activism
Local knowledge: Jiwa ketok
The unified eye: Where do the Quiet Ones Go?
Etching performance: reflections from praxis
Personal/social/interactive: a formula for the engaged artist
Drawing on the personal-social-interactive
Part 2: Turba, down to ‘the people’
People’s culture inside and outside institutions
Participation, pedagogy and politics: Made Bayak’s Plasticology
Adiboga Wonoasri – cosmopolitanism out of starvation
Jakarta Biennale and Trotoart: social tactics in the city
IBU at Cigondewah: turba as antagonism
Part 3: Kerakyatan: conscientisation for the people
The New Order and New Indonesian Art: Opportunity and Oppression
Conscientisation and the rakyat – global/local entanglement
Rayuan Pulau Kelapa – turba, conscientisation and negotiation
KuehSenyum: actions in social exchange
Tepuk Tangan Nuhun: interventions in gratitude
Back to the Bay: Tita Salina and conceptual conscientisation
Performing opposition: the burial of Made Bayak
Part 4: Ethics and Aesthetics
Local knowledge: gotong royong and rasa
Pirates and maids: gotong royong as horizontal knowledge-building
An ecosystem of production: institutional practices and contemporary art practice in Indonesia
Mamahkuaing: maternal feelings
Rasa: Feeling, Flavour, Taste and Touch
A conversation: true fiction, fictional truth
Impermanent conclusions
An artistic ideology
Originary discourses

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press