Housed in an old clay tile factory, the Jatiwangi Art Factory (JAF) is located in Jatisura village in West Java, Indonesia, eight hours away from Jakarta. Since 2007, it has hosted many types of artists from different parts of the world.
Jatisura is typical rural village. The JAF residency program is anchored to the community. Art for them is a tool for creating interventions and transformations, thus the artist residents are encouraged to have projects involving the people in the community.
One of my projects was a collaboration with talented wood painter Nana Sukarna, who paints intricately carved bird cages, a locally in-demand craft. During the day, he runs an internet shop to augment his income, but through JAF’s wide influence the local painter is able to explore and develop his craft via collaborations with visiting foreign artists.
A few of these collaborations include the wooden sculpture Swi Gunting, made with same intricate carving and paint detailing as the bird cages, with Australian artist Wanda Gillespie a few years back. While I was in JAF last year, Nana Sukarna was working on some kettles and wood relief panels for Dutch artist Mella Jaarsma’s installation A Blinkered View and video performance The Landscaper. For my series on artisan collaborations, he painted on hand-carved buckles of alba wood for the Auma belt. Mella and Wanda, like me, were previous artist residents in JAF. They too were lured by the beauty of the Indonesian countryside, the culture, the crafts and the stories. The experience of the collaboration along with the challenge of getting around the language barrier enriched and informed our respective practices.
The local painter has an elegant eye for color. In the works he used acrylics, sometimes even locally sourced car paint. Each successful collaboration has built his confidence and reputation, driving him to continue practicing his craft. The same is true for the Jatiwangi Art Factory that over the years has nursed such collaborations with the artists and artisans of Jatisura.
For more information about the programs of the JAF, visit www.jatiwangiartfactory.wordpress.com/. For more information about Mae’s artisan collaboration, visit www.wearmesa.blogspot.com/p/art-and-design-projects.html.