TATO TOLAK BALA : POWERFUL PROTECTION FOR LOCAL RESIDENTS
A Solo Exhibition by Edita Atmaja
Curator by LIR
In one corner of Jakarta, a luxury residential area offers 24-hour security facilities, CCTV surveillance at every corner, identity card checks, and additional safety systems for critical moments: a guaranteed flood-free environment, direct access to the airport 15 minutes away, even a direct access to the sea if needed. High fences with a one gate system make this kind of housing closed to outsiders while hiding anything that is happening inside. There is full control and supervision over the flow of guests—in and out. For local residents, this tight security provides a sense of secure and comfort. But at the same time, this tight security is also an expression of deep-rooted fear and collective trauma for generations in the local community inside the fence. Suspicion easily arises from two directions: those who are inside the fence against outsiders, and those who are outside the fence against activities that they cannot see inside the fence.
This extra security system did not just happen. Immediately after the May 1998 riots, residents in various residential areas began to build tall fences around the house and entrance with extra security system. The fear that was kept and used as a tool to maintain power for the New Order developed into a new business field for developers. The higher the price that is ready to be paid, the more sophisticated securities will be served for those with generational community trauma.
When we trace the roots of its memory, this ingrained trauma is not without a reason. Racist hatred of minority groups is one of the politically employed identity segregation actions carried out not only by Suharto but also by the Dutch hundreds years ago. Social construction that makes minority groups the target of community hatred makes it easy for various parties to clash. It is segregation that triggers prejudice. During the May 1998 riots, a multicultural environment actually became a reliable security structure. Stories spread; about neighbors, motorcycle taxi drivers at the intersection of the street, the lady who own stall near the house residence, and the head of RT who worked hand in hand to secure each other. The term ‘local residents’ then turns into a unified and integrated family system.
However, memory is contestation. Collective memory will continue to change when each power change. 21 years later, the high fences at the entrance and around the locals’ residence remained as monuments of fear that almost lost their roots. This memory space eventually forms the visual language of a place and makes it just a day-to-day view.
In her solo exhibition, Edita Atmaja tried to recover memories of the collective trauma in the surrounding environment and opened a new business: a tattoo studio to ward off danger. Guests who need extra protection will be welcomed to enter the safe room to get their tattoos with the freedom to choose a design as needed as the most personal form of security. In this tattoo studio there are several types of tattoo protection; ranging from protection of business premises, residences, security while traveling, security for families who are at home or left when traveling, and others. A guaranteed powerful extra security for the local residents!
(*) Curated by LIR is an exhibition series curated by LIR (Mira Asriningtyas & Dito Yuwono). In this LIR x KKF solo exhibition series, we invite three young artists to present their response to terror and collective trauma during the New Order. The narrative of this series goes backwards and presents fear in three variations of solo exhibition: Edita Atmaja who talks about the business of post-1998 fear; Arief Budiman, who talked about missing scenes from 1982 – 1985; and Adi Sundoro about the fear of eating fish around 1965.
About Edita Atmaja
Edita Atmaja, also known as Edita, is an artist who currently lives and works in Jakarta. Edita graduated from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) graphic design major in New Zealand. Edita had worked as a graphic designer in several media companies in Jakarta. Edita’s art practice initially focused on hand drawing and manual printing as a medium, but along the way she began to make installations and use a participatory approach to his work. Edita’s main interest has always been about the relationship between humans and nature, their interactions, ties, and history in certain places. Edita participated in collective exhibitions, some of them are Exi (s) t # 3: “Here, Together” (Jakarta, 2014); On the Table Exhibition Series: “(not a) Book (but a) Show” (Yogyakarta, 2016); Dia.Lo.Gue Exi (s) t 2017: “Tomorrow as We Know It” (Jakarta, 2017). Some of the solo exhibitions include “Anggrek Flower Shop” (Jakarta, 2015); “Botanica 1.1: Vanda Tricolor and Other Findings” (Yogyakarta, 2015); “Botanica 1.2: Good Wishes, Gratitude, and Calotropis Gigantea” (Bangkok, 2017). More about Edita’s works can be traced at www.editaatmaja.com
A Solo Exhibition “Tato Tolak Bala: Powerful Protection for Local Residents” by Edita Atmaja
Opening : Wednesday, October 2, 2019, 7 pm
in Gallery, Kedai Kebun Forum
The exhibition lasts until October 21, 2019
Open for public and free of charge
every day at 11:00 am to 9:00 pm
(KKF is closed every Tuesday)
Poster design by Fitro Dizianto