EXPLORING FARMER GROUPS JOGJA X FUKUDA
Project by PANEN APA HARI INI as a part of Communal Spirits, group exhibitionof Fukutake House-Asia Art Platform
– Virtual Trip to Farmer Groups
– Food Source Mapping Workshop
– Manual Photo Collage Workshop
– Parallel Exhibition (Jogja & Fukuda)
Cemeti has been part of the Asia Art Platform Fukutake House – Setouchi Triennale since 2013 through a number of activities in the form of exhibitions, performances, culinary exchanges, and symposiums. Asia Art Platform Fukutake House – Setouchi Triennale 2022 again held a joint project, a Communal Spirit exhibition by @vuthlyno, involving five art organizations collaborating with artists from their countries. This year, Cemeti-Institute for Arts and Society works with Anang Saptoto with his platform, Panen Apa Hari Ini (PARI).
In this exhibition, Anang with his platform PARI initiated a project entitled EXPLORING FARMER GROUPS – JOGJA X FUKUDA to converses food sources and agricultural practices between Yogyakarta City, Indonesia, and Fukuda in Shozu-gun city, Shodoshima-cho in Kagawa province, Japan. This conversation will apply methods that are processed through an artistic approach, such as design practice, photography, video, and events. These various media serves to promote as well as discuss the entire process of interaction between the two community groups.
Artists Participant and Fukutake House Asia Art Platform partners :
Anang Saptoto (Cemeti – Institute for Art and Society)
Khvay Samnang (Sa Sa Art Projects)
Korakrit Arunanondchai (Jim Thompson Art Center)
Fiona Wong Lai Ching and collaborators (Hong Kong Arts Centre)
Summer Huang & Tsai, JiaYin (Historical Resource Management Institute)
The exhibition grounds the spiritual and the invisible as a means to explore and address our lived realities. On the one hand, it considers spirits, ghosts, and divines, through indigenous practices and rooted traditions. On the other hand, it embraces the essence, quality, and value, or what we call the spirit, of communities and places.
How can the practice of spirits, ghosts, and divines help build a more comprehensive understanding of our social, political, cultural, and environmental realities? How can we understand the core of what it means to be a community or a place? How can different notions of spirits be understood as vital forces to help sustain and harmonise our planetary co-existence between humans and non-humans, the visible and the invisible? How can such localised and practice-based knowledge be a powerful passage to reimagine our worlds and possibly address issues that arose from globalization?
The artists in this exhibition turn to soil, nature, animals, folklore, shamans, rituals, and communal practices, to confront our contemporary conditions and rebuild our senses of connectedness. By locating and attuning to the traditions, they look at what holds and animates us, facilitating empathy and the potency of groundedness. They also make us aware of what is at stake for humanity and beyond. Through visualising and transforming the invisible and the non-humans, the artists critically and creatively offer some pathways to rethink our practice of sustainability and co-existence.
The exhibition brings five perspectives from different localities in Asia and converses with Shodoshima island and its community, hoping to build a dialog of solidarity in the spirit of a collective resilient community. It is composed of a constellation of five sites, each activated by one artist or collective.
Communal Spirits’s Curator
In the afternoon on different days, two Yogyakarta farmer groups rolled out floor mats. Ingkung ayam (stewed a whole chicken with spices and coconut milk, a Javanese traditional dish that is served for ritual or ceremonies), stewed vegetables, and special homemade chili paste were ready in the Shinta Mina’s serving hood. Fried catfish, stewed vegetables with peanut sauce, salted eggs, and spice-flavored fruit salad were served at Melati Green. Everyone sat on the mats, enjoying the food from the earth gratefully. The event was not an usual ceremony. It was a special ceremony to welcome guests from afar, they were farmers and fishermen from Fukuda, Shodoshima, Japan, who visited the two Yogyakarta farmer groups virtually. Even though it was mediated by the zoom from the smartphone and the language interpretation by our friend Tomomi Yokosuka, the meeting was warm and fun. They were talking about foodstuffs, spices, dishes, types of fruit and vegetables that grow in their respective villages, while enjoying the food and drink. The event occurred during virtual tours that brought together Shinta Mina and Melati Green farmer groups from Yogyakarta with farmers and fishers from Fukuda, Shodoshima, on July 4 and 5, 2022. Just like a ritual of “wiwitan tandur” (seed planting ritual in Java), this event became “wiwitan” (the beginning) of the art project “Exploring the Group Tani Jogja x Fukuda” initiated by Anang Saptoto with his platform Pari, for Fukutake House Asia Art Platform, Setouchi Triennale 2022.
Anang and Pari often connect the disconnected -at least for things generally considered disconnected in our art scene today- such as contemporary art and agriculture.This time, Anang connects many things, including farmer groups from Yogyakarta and Fukuda, food source maps of Yogyakarta and Fukuda, artist-style photography and Fukuda citizen photography, Cemeti’s gallery in Yogyakarta and Matsumoto House in Fukuda, Shodoshima. The entire process of meeting between Yogyakarta and Fukuda farmer groups is woven with artistic approaches, such as design practices, photography, videos, and events.
In this process, Anang harvested surprises and challenges, especially from a series of virtual food source photography and collage workshops with Fukuda residents. The photos taken by the workshop participants depicted not only Fukuda’s food sources but feelings about the Fukuda people’s relationship with the land and the sea. In addition, the manual photographic collages made by the workshop participants are very explorative and serve imaginative visual stories about the relationship between humans, plants, fish, land, and the sea. Anang was also challenged to get out of his practice of making photographic collages digitally. Anang and the residents of Fukuda created collages by cutting and pasting pictures from prints of agriculture photos they took in their respective hometown. These collages, photography, and video recordings of events from the Yogyakarta and Fukuda farmer group meetings were framed into parallel exhibitions at the Cemeti-Institute for Arts and Society in Yogyakarta and Matsumoto House in Fukuda, Shodoshima. Experiencing this project presentation both in Yogyakarta and Fukuda, we will get the energy of the “Communal Spirits” to rebuild our sense of connectedness, rethink our practice of sustainability, and co-existence with everything in the surrounding environment in a more grounded way.
Anang Saptoto is an artist, designer, and activist living in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He completed his education at the Visual Communication Design Department, Yogyakarta Vision Design Academy (2000-2005), and at the Television Department, Faculty of Record Media Arts, Yogyakarta Indonesian Art Institute (2002-2009). His collaborative practice focuses on ecology and social change, using art as a tool to question and open new possibilities. He often supports environmental, human rights movements and collaborates with children, schools, disabled communities, and social organizations. Interaction, building solidarity, and collaboration are methods he considers to be very important for his work. Starting in 2020, he became a collective director of MES 56. At the end of 2020, Anang received support from UN-HABITAT to develop an art and agriculture project (Panen apa hari ini) as an effort for the food movement in the pandemic era. At the end of 2021, Anang received SEED AWARDS The Prince Claus Fund, Amsterdam for 100 world artists.