Commissioned Artist

ARTJOG 2023 specifically invites Mella Jaarsma as a Commissioned Artist. Mella was chosen with various considerations, especially on her artistic developments over the last four decades, namely on shadow, veil, and the relationship between body and space in architecture. The three of them mark Mella's exploration of fine arts after setting foot in Indonesia in 1984. Shadow motifs bring Mella closer to the experience between the real and the virtual, between the material and the spiritual, exist and non-exist in the cultural expressions of the people she observes.

The motif of veil can be interpreted as an exploration of the theme of identity in Mella's subsequent works. Mella increasingly feels that she is no longer an observer, an outsider or a distant other, but an artist who wants to be involved in the socio-political dynamics of the society in which she lives. Along with her travels to various farther places, Mella has created a lot of installation and performance works. These works represent problems of political and cultural identity, gender relations, themes regarding facade/outside and content/inside, the visible and the hidden, as well as various identity veils as second skins. Mella calls it practices with a critical view of an artist through the lens of "anthropology, history and colonialism". Thanks to her artistic consistency, Mella was awarded The John D. Rockefeller 3rd Award, in 2006 in New York, United States of America. Last year, Mella was named Visual Artist 2022 by Tempo magazine.

Apart from her works, Mella Jaarsma has also contributed significantly to the world of Indonesian art. In 1988, together with Nindityo Adipurnomo, she founded Cemeti Art Gallery in Yogyakarta which developed into Cemeti Art House and now Cemeti-Institute for Art and Society. Mella Jaarsma also initiated Cemeti Art Foundation which was the forerunner to the establishment of Indonesian Visual Art Archive (IVAA) in Yogyakarta in 1995. These platforms have made an extraordinary contribution to the development of contemporary art in Indonesia.