Text by Fadhly Muhammad, Photography by Dilla Awaluddin

On a sweltry afternoon, I had a little conversation with a Jakarta based Art Event Initiator, Joko Ono. An eccentric man, constantly changed his name as he met new people. It's a delight to actually meet Joko Ono in person. He has been very much participating in lots of Jakarta's Art Scene. Art Event Initiator is practically an enterprise that create art exhibition. As we lightened our cigarettes, conversation started.

"What makes Art Event Initiator different than other medias?"
"We are people behind the curtain who support the artists to express and to get accepted by public. On most cases, media don't stay behind the curtain, they expect an exposure. Common people would easily misinterpret those overexposed media as a "community". And this creates unnecessary gap between the media and the viewers. That's why I choose to stay as an anonymous media called Art Event Initiator."

Way back then, Joko Ono had no intention to create Art Event Initiator. He used to teach art at university. His students showed unique and raw materials that inspire Mr. Ono to make an art exhibition. Their visions were mixed with art principles, and voila, a successful art exhibition on campus. At that moment he realized that art and society merged as one.

"It's like music, most people consume music, why it can't be applied on drawings. I try to expand the definition of drawings so it could be consumable for common people."

"Speaking of common people, how do you see art scene and Jakarta's public?"
"Too exclusive, the subject and the audience don't branch out."

According to Joko Ono, common people feel alienated on most art exhibition events. It's too easy for people to be labelled as an artist in Jakarta. With an effortless arrogance and connection most people could be an artist. Not to mention that art communities are very much separatist. It'd be better if we could abolish the gap in art society and create a fusing-art-community that could be consumed for all types of viewers. Joko Ono believed that the artists idealism and public's curiosity are two important variables that should conjoin. When an artwork could hatched an empowerment or inspiration, that automatically gives a value to that artwork. That's how art plays its part.

"What's the biggest obstruction that you face as media?"
"It's hard to be media, we have to promote the essence of the artists' visions and make it consumable for common people. And fund has an important role on an exhibition. On most cases, sponsors could distort an event's message so the communication isn't pure as it was planned."

Joko Ono notice that the urban society had been very opened and enthusiast towards the growth of the artists and their idealism, "They call it lifestyle."

"But common people aren't opened yet, they have rights to consume art just as much as the urban society. So I really want to tell that art doesn't have to be exclusive."
"Art exhibition could trigger public's awareness and understanding to life. It'd be orgasmic if public could participate on the growth of Indonesia's culture."

Joko Ono and I realized that if public's awareness is still minimum, the artists won't have enough feedback to be productive. This kind of paradigm shifts our artists to play saved and be a mediocre, in order to get public's acceptance. However the artists still need to be aware that they have to make their works applicable for public. There's mutualism energy between public and the artists in order to expand the definition of culture in Indonesia.

"Last question, how do you see Jakarta's Art Scene in 10 years?"
"The execution would be very much advanced. Unfortunately public's appreciation is very dry. Let's just say that internet came to Indonesia in the 90's, there are so many internet companies. But until this point, people don't maximize the potential of the internet. Most people use it for games, chats, and other light activities. So it's very clear that public don't understand the core of advancement, yet. Fingers crossed, I am hoping that 10 years from now public and art would blend and make a mutualism connection as a part of our culture.