ASAH Lunchtime Lecture

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Wulan Dirgantoro (Melbourne) | After 1965: Historical Trauma and the ‘Limits of Representation’ in Indonesian Visual Arts

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Scholars have considered Indonesian visual arts as reflecting changes that happen within Indonesian society since its emergence in the later part of the 19th century. Indonesian artists have drawn their inspiration from historical, cultural and sociopolitical changes, both visually and conceptually. However, little scholarly attention has been paid about the aesthetic impact of these changes on the art works. The presentation will use the term ‘After 1965’ to describe the impact of historical violence on aesthetic practices of Indonesian contemporary artists.The presentation will reflect on the issues surrounding the representation of trauma and historical violence in the practices of artists such as Tintin Wulia (b. 1971), Yaya Sung (b. 1982), Dadang Christanto (b. 1957) and Rangga Purbaya (b. 1976). These artists have explored the difficult past as a subject matter in their body of works from the anti-communist killings of 1965-66 to the anti-Chinese violence of May 1998. The presentation will consider the strategies and challenges in the representation of historical violence and trauma through a discursive approach in the practices of these artists.

Wulan Dirgantoro is a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne, Australia. Her research interests are gender and feminism as well as trauma and memory in Indonesian modern and contemporary art. Her publications include Feminisms and Indonesian Contemporary Art: Defining Experiences (Amsterdam University Press, 2017) and 'Aesthetics of Silence: Exploring Trauma in Indonesian Painting 1970-1980' in Ambitious Alignment: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art (Power Publication and the National Gallery of Singapore, 2018). She has also contributed to various art publications in Asia, Australia and the UK on Indonesian modern and contemporary art.

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Organiser The University of Sydney

Organiser of ASAH Lunchtime Lecture

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