Indonesian fine and functional art are growing markets within the 21st-century global creative economy. Functional art, where new design ideas combine with the artist’s technical expertise, is an under-utilized economic sector offering an enormous upside that has been lacking in supportive infrastructure until recently.
ARTCanggu, a platform aimed at empowering artists through entrepreneurial start-ups, was held on Oct. 28 – Nov. 11 at Tugu Hotel, Bali, in Canggu. It merged Balinese cultural influences with contemporary art ideas and featured unique artworks and one-of-a-kind crafts, the first in a series of events designed to support Balinese artists during the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
The collaboration between Yayasan TiTian Bali (YTB), Tugu Hotel, Bali, and art collectives Sanggar Bares and Kelompok Seni Gotong Royong presented an array of art and craft items made by children and adults. Tugu Hotel, Bali, Canggu’s first five-star boutique hotel and Indonesia’s leading art and cultural resort brand, showcased the cultural riches of the past with contemporary creativity.
Featuring an array of two and three-dimensional arts and crafts, some of the items displayed at ARTCanggu included fashion pieces such as sneakers, clothing and luggage hand-painted by children. The adult artists presented decorative art pieces inspired by Balinese cultural icons given dynamic contemporary reinterpretations. The coconut fiber imaginings of the Barong and Balinese warrior performance costumes by Made Wahyu Senayadi and painted items by Made “Bijal” Suartama were highlights. Bijal adopts colorful flowing organic designs to women’s handbags and craft items, transforming each into highly attractive pieces.
ARTCanggu was the initial chapter of cooperation between YTB and Tugu Hotel, Bali for the ARTCanggu series, alongside the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry for the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The opening of ARTCanggu was highlighted by a special YTB presentation showcasing Kick-Start Artpreneur start-ups and representatives of the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry’. Recently prioritized by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, one of the ministry’s initiatives is to empower new entrepreneurial start-ups within the national creative economy.
“While not all Balinese fine artists have access to sell their works to the national and international markets, artists I refer to as second tier, nonetheless, they have extraordinary ideas and strong skills, and it is these that we wish to capitalize upon and create new markets for,” chairman of the advisory board of YTB Soemantri Widagdo said. Inaugurated in 2016, the first-of-its-kind art foundation in Indonesia, YTB is an artist incubator creating Balinese art entrepreneurs for the 21st-century global creative economy.
“Our vision, beginning with ARTCanggu, is to build a naturally sustainable and self-regenerative ecosystem based on Balinese cultural values and the abundance philosophy. The concept is a creative vehicle where artists from many fields, designers, art entrepreneurs and art enthusiasts unite to support each other,” Soemantri said.
During the opening of ARTCanggu, founding members of YTB presented awards and signed memorandums of understanding with the first recipients of the TiTian Artpreuneur Award. This unique YTB initiative is a kick-starter program to create start-ups for MSMEs or other entrepreneurial platforms. These projects enable artistic ideas to transform into saleable products for the Indonesian and global creative economies.
“The TiTian Artpreuneur Award promotes product innovations that show novel artistic design and the spirit of entrepreneurial collaboration. The award supports communities of artists and artisans with an initial angel investment or seed capital,” Soemantri said. “The funding begins at US$200 and monthly operational support to cover material expenses for six years, a total of $2,700 per community.”
“In addition, each community receives mentoring in all aspects of building a start-up company. This includes finance, accounting, legal, logistics, manufacturing and packaging,” said Soemantri. “Access to the markets through awareness and brand building will also be provided. The objective is to impart each venture with the know-how and skills to become successful entrepreneurs. We trust, with all that, the sustainability of each start-up is ensured.”
The recipient of the TiTian Artpreuneur Award for the children’s category was Sanggar Bares, founded in 2018 in Lodtunduh, Gianyar. Kelompok Seni Gotong Royong established during the pandemic in 2020 in Mambal, Gianyar, won the adult category. Throughout ARTCanggu, members of both collectives facilitated creative displays and workshops open to public participation. “As the concept of ARTCanggu spreads, clusters evolve based on skills and value proposition in the creative fields of fine and functional art, material-based [textile, wood, paper, etc.], performance art, music, and culinary arts. We then develop geographical clusters supporting one another as resilient entrepreneurial and start-up networks,” Soemantri explained.
“Many people come to Canggu, yet there are few places to be exposed to Balinese culture. Therefore, we are excited about collaborating with Yayasan TiTian Bali,” said Lucienne Anhar, managing director of Tugu Hotel, Bali.
“Our hotel’s mission is to preserve and tell the stories through art and culture of forgotten Indonesia to the global audience. As one of the world’s most culturally diverse nations, its stories are dynamic and ever-changing. We wish to become the vessel for the Canggu community to discover and learn about Balinese culture, the historical, and the new contemporary artistic expressions. The pandemic emphasizes the importance and value of culture to enrich our lives.”
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