Indonesian artists paint in the dark during Earth Hour

Five Indonesian painters invited the public to watch them at work during Earth Hour on Saturday at The Ritz-Carlton Jakarta in Mega Kuningan, South Jakarta.

Dubbed Earth ‘ART’ Hour, the event encouraged the artists to produce works about the earth from scratch within one hour and under minimum lighting – around 70 to 80 percent of the lighting at the hotel was off.

Artist Joko Kisworo laid his canvas and five blank sheets of paper on the ground in the darkened room. Unlike many other artists, Joko does not use an easel when painting. His hands flowed across the canvas like the arms of an octopus, splashing colors, including white and blue.

“It’s just my expression,” Joko said to The Post. “That’s because I paint with my soul, so one canvas is not enough for me. I usually use more canvases instead of paper.”

Joko’s painting is about balance between the earth and sky. He expressed concern about the state of a planet suffering from global warming and natural disasters. “I think it’s human greed that disturbed the balance,” the abstract artist said, adding that this was not his first time working on the issue.

Painting in the dark was not difficult for the Semarang-born artist, as he was able to do it with his eyes closed. “It’s exciting to paint with eyes closed; I [only] rely on my motoric [capability] and my soul,” said Joko whose next exhibition will be held in Yogyakarta.

Similar to Joko, expressionist M. Ruslan decided to use his hands mostly in painting. “That is my habit, so that I can feel the texture of the canvas,” Ruslan said, adding that he was not trying to follow the late Affandi. “And there’s something unique about using hands: It’ll be hard to forge your painting, as it has your fingerprints on it.”

On that night, Ruslan made a painting depicting trees. He used two canvases, showing that the painting would be incomplete if they were separated from each other. When the two canvases unify, they would result in beautiful trees against a white background. But if one canvas is taken away, the trees would seem as if they had been cut and they would lose their beauty.

Despite the short time to prepare, Ruslan did not feel it was difficult to work with minimum lighting. “I’m already used to it,” he said.

Other painters involved in the event are realists Iwan Suhaya and Kinkin as well as La Ode Umar, who has a pop-art style. They were selected by Siji Art Management, a platform for the artist community, for their different styles and characters. Cut Nailil Muna, founder and director of the platform, said all the painting tools had been provided by the artists themselves.

The artworks will be displayed for a week at the hotel’s lobby. People are allowed to buy them, and the proceeds will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund. (mut)


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