on women, power and traditions #1

13 April - 30 May 2022
Mangku Muriati and Empu Ika Arista

Pepunden is a modest attempt to propose a new imagination of contemporary art practice that goes beyond being based on tradition by making that very tradition, belief, and local ideology the narrative and the starting point. The two artists featured in this exhibition, Mangku Muriati and Ika Arista, perform the practices of creation passed down through generations. Not merely crafting the work, they constantly delve into the narrative and the method to keep them relevant to the present day. They came from different cultures and belong to different generations. Mangku Muriati who came from Klungkung, Bali lives through the New Order regime. Meanwhile, Ika Arista is a Madurese artist who belongs to the generation living in the reform era with a more democratic post-1998 political climate. Both present substantial approaches and intersections between the traditional and contemporary art practices in recent days.

Pepunden is a word originating from the Old Javanese language. The Great Dictionary of Indonesian Language defines the word as something sacred or highly respected. The term is sometimes associated with the magical power of a sacred object or amulet. In this exhibition, Pepunden is employed to be the platform for discussing the power of women and how tradition
enables these female artists to adapt themselves to a new situation and transform their practices into something relevant to the present time. The power of women does not only revolve around their ability to create. It also includes their endurance to stay on the less-traveled path, their faith in preserving collective knowledge and memories, and their courage to create rooms for negotiation amid the power contestation.

writer: Alia Swastika

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