Image and imagination in Jakarta: Interview with Indonesian artist Vidi Damayanti

Vidi DamayantiJakarta, Indonesia, is the city with the most active Twitter users, according to a Forbes magazine blog citing a French study. This may come a surprise if your news is centered on the US and Europe, but it highlights the new strength of the Global South. In fact, in a world population report from McKinsey, there are 27 megacities in the world right now, with Jakarta coming in at number 3 behind Tokyo and China’s Guangzhou. Only 4 of the 27 are in the “former first world” with New York and LA appearing in the top 15, but the faded glories of London and Paris coming in dead last.

Jakarta is a great example of the new generation of “leapfrogging” cities. They benefit from the latest technology without having to re-tool infrastructure or cycle through legacy systems. One of the most fascinating results is the application of advanced technology to traditional ways of life in Indonesia.

Vidi Damayanti is a artist/sculptor from Jakarta who has accumulated fans and followers on Facebook, Twitter and her own YouTube channel. I caught up with her via private message on Facebook.

Sasha: Thank you Vidi! You know I admire your work, especially your work around the female form. So tell me a little bit about your work, the mediums you use, and what your muses are.

Vidi: Since I’m a self taught artist, my artworks actually my expression about everything I feel at the moment. I try to keep digging into my feelings for anything that I could transform into something, either painting, sculpture or sketches.

The mediums I’m using are:

  • For drawing : papers, board, charcoal, pencil, crayon oil.
  • For painting : oil, acrylic, ink and any materials for collage paintings.
  • For sculpture : plasticine/play dough.

My muses are love, humanity and a white feather as symbol of purity.


Sasha: What is the scene in Jakarta like now? Are there a lot of artists?

Vidi: Jakarta is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, one of many in other parts of Indonesia. (Note: Forbes also pointed out that Bandung, Indonesia, made the top ten Twitter cities, ahead of LA and Paris) We have a multitude of different cultures that have influenced us, and we deal with real global diversities on a daily basis. I think it’s because of this rich cultural diversity that so many artists are attracted to Jakarta. Some have joined together in artist’s community and street artists are very popular.

Sasha: How are you using the Internet and social media as an artist?

Vidi: I’m using the Internet and social media to promote my artwork and meet with buyers without leaving my studio. I myself have seen how social media is an effective and efficient way of doing so.

Sasha: So many great artists are creating new images, and yet we still keep seeing the same stale stock photos circulating. What are the barriers keeping great new images from being more widely shared?

Vidi: The problem is with copyright. I think artists need simple software with features for posting, promoting and selling their works online, and yet they should still be able to protect the copyrights on the art itself. I’d like to cooperate with others online (writers, advertising, production house, etc.) in making images or illustrations based on their needs. This could be very interesting.

vidi on the streets of jakarta

Artists and musicians in Jakarta like Vidi are taking advantage of new technologies to connect and collaborate in truly unique ways that gives us a glimpse of things to come.

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