There is beauty in imperfection. This is something we often miss, living in a world where perfection is the ultimate attainment, but the Japanese art of Kintsugi offers a philosophy that embraces imperfection.
Kintsugi is the theme adopted by four talented artists who take part in the incubation program of the Atreyu Moniaga Project this year. Kintsugi is a Japanese pottery repairing method using a special furnish mixed with gold. Using this theme, the artists aimed to show how their life process perfects everything.
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“This program aims to mentor the young artists to gain confidence to start a career in the illustration or art painting business by creating a collection of artworks,” said project iniatiator and mentor Atreyu Moniaga, who is himself an artist and art lecturer.
All the artists involved already have professional illustration experiences being either commercial or freelance artists. However, working as a group for Mixed Feelings 04: KINTSUGI was a new experience for them. In this incubation program, they were trained not only on the technicalities of art-creation, but also the non-technical parts of being artists. They learned about leadership, exhibition management and administration. They were also trained on how to build networks, and, most importantly, to work with other artists.
This year the project partnered with the Bryan Gunawan Project, which mentored the artists in communicating their messages.
The person who came up with Kintsugi as their theme was Dinan Hadyan, one of the artists who has made a name for herself in the K-Pop fandom under the alias of “abusedmember.” She explained that the background story resonates second chance to her.
“When I thought about second chances, it seems to me that during Mixed Feelings, we are going through a renewal, rejuvenation process…why does it remind me of Kintsugi?” she said.
Dinan described Kintsugi as a process of repairing broken ceramics with gold mixed in. When broken ceramics are repaired, people usually try to hide the cracks, but with Kintsugi, these artists wanted to showcase the cracks, which are now covered in gold, to show their own process of breaking down and building themselves back.
This exhibition is very personal for each artist. Dinan explained that her works for this exhibition is about acceptance, balancing her imperfections and her desire for perfection. By exploring collage and watercolor, she questions the concept of perfection that she has always pursued. She came to realization that perfection lies not in the end product, but also in the process of making it.
Sol Cai, a commercial illustrator, depicts on canvas the phases in her life battling bipolar: the pre-diagnosed phase, the post-diagnosed phase, the healing process, and the point where she finally made peace with her condition. Her series of self-portraits became a self-healing media for her.
“I can live with it; it’s okay,” she said.
Jessie Tjoe talks about anxiety through her works, using gouache and coffee as her medium to produce gothic and eccentric artworks. She created various monsters to represent what anxiety means to her.
“I show my anxiety in the form of monsters to help me understand it easier,” she said. To her anxiety can come from so many things in life, so it helps to transfer its essence into her works to lessen the suspense.
Elle Ditha, who is the “captain” of the batch, addresses the issues of loneliness and alienation that she experienced while living in the U.S. The digital artist who is strongly inspired by Disney and Japanese illustrations also explores watercolor in her works. Through her romantic artworks, she talks about the people she had met: family, friends, acquaintances, even strangers who came at the right time in her life.
There were instances in which she experienced times of need while living alone, but then strangers just showed up and helped her like guardian angels, whom she presents as imaginary animals in her works.
“I would like to say that loneliness is not always a bad thing. That’s why my artworks are colorful and I chose pastel colors.”
Sponsored by Tugu Kunstkring Paleis and Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), the exhibition will run until August 15 at the Art and Performance Hall of Tugu Kunstkring Paleis, Menteng, 2nd floor in Central Jakarta. Entrance is free for public.
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