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Jakarta Visual Arts exchange leads to collaborative work for Darwin Festival

By Jane Hampson

Visual Arts lecturer Sarah Pirrie prepares to decorate a public bus stop as part of the Darwin Festival Visual Arts lecturer Sarah Pirrie prepares to decorate a public bus stop as part of the Darwin Festival

A two-week residency in Jakarta has deepened relationships between Charles Darwin University’s Visual Arts faculty and the renowned Jakarta artists’ collective, Ruangrupa.

VET Course Coordinator and Lecturer in Visual Arts Sarah Pirrie and Lecturer Visual Arts Simon Cooper travelled to Jakarta in early June for a residency at Ruangrupa, in Tembet.

The residency was part of a collaborative exchange program that will see a select group of Indonesia’s leading contemporary artists join forces with Ms Pirrie and Mr Cooper to create city-wide installations, entitled "Temporary Territory", for the Darwin Festival next month. Visual Arts students from CDU are also involved in this project.

Ruangrupa is a collective that supports the development of art through research, exhibitions, artist-in-residence programs, projects and workshops. For the past decade the collective has been intervening in public spaces, through collaboration they develop site-specific installations that respond to their environment.

Ms Pirrie and Mr Cooper worked with the Ruangrupa artists in their Tembet studio and on site-specific installations in their Jakarta neighbourhood. They also gave lectures at Ruangrupa and in the art faculties at the Institut Kesenian and the Universitas Negeri, Jakarta.

“The residency gave us the opportunity to build on existing relationships with artists at Ruangrupa,” Ms Pirrie said. “There are many commonalities between artists in Indonesia and artists in Darwin.

“Exchanges like this give us a fantastic opportunity to develop opportunities for collaboration, research and exchange for CDU Visual Arts students.”