Body, Community, and Society: She is House

Curated by Loredana Pazzini-Paracciani

As the title implies, the exhibition explores the different insights into the word ‘body’ – both physical and architectural, as form and habitat – to illustrate the relation between the body and vernacular cultures and traditions in Indonesia. In particular, but not exclusively, the exhibition focuses on gendered bodies, bodies that are oftentimes excluded or accorded minor narratives but that are part of the same cycle of life. Situated along this line of thought is the proposition She is House, a prompt to consider the house as a site of birth and return, a ritualistic space of existence. 

Departing from this premise, the exhibition functions as a platform for the works of four artists, Mella Jaarsma, Maharani Mancanagara, Citra Sasmita, and Natasha Tontey, to examine the intersections between body, gender and power in Indonesian societies, and to observe how traditional cultures are preserved, challenged or, ultimately, changed. Of utmost relevance, in fact, are the places of birth or cultural reference of the four artists: Java, West Sumatra, Bali, and North Sulawesi. Known for their historical importance, each of these islands and local cultures foregrounds diverse belief systems and community-based practices in which matrilineal narratives run in parallel to patriarchal ideology. 

From mixed-media and video installations to painting and performance, the works presented in She is House engage with the ways in which cultural behaviours are formed in local traditions and examine the significance of rituals and communal practices in reinforcing or dismantling those same behaviours. By expanding the notion of the body to that of a home, a body of people or a body of knowledge, the works question the formation of social hierarchies, the transformation of cultural knowledge and the possibility of new knowledge that evolves from the embracement of otherness. #Indonesian perspectives 

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