Taring Padi Main Poster 1920x1080

Taring Padi Exhibition in Space 2435

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Through art, they began building an understanding amongst the people to fight against injustice, helping to forge a community aware of environmental, social, political, and cultural issues, inviting the community to be active and courageous in voicing their real life experiences and their opinions on the performance of government. (Sinaga)

The year 1998 is a period of Indonesian history marked by political unrest, ethnic conflict, and general disorder following the end of Suharto’s New Order regime. It is also, however, a period marked by student activism and the fight of the Indonesian people to rise above such chaos. It was in this context that the group Taring Padi (translated as “the fang of the rice plant”) emerged in the city of Yogyakarta, a city that is known for its vibrant and long tradition of both arts and activism.

Taring Padi, commonly referred to as TP, was first formed by students from Yogyakarta’s institute of art known as ISI (Institut Kesenian Yogyakarta). Influenced by an ideology of budaya kerakyatan or people oriented culture, these individuals had a desire to pick up where student activists had left off following the beginning of the reformation period in early 1998. As Toni Volunteero, one of Taring Padi’s initial founders states, there were still many social, political, and economic concerns faced by the Indonesian populace at this time. With a desire to represent those whose voices were rarely heard, Taring Padi set forth with a goal to create art that would both help to educate and give a voice to marginalized communities.

While Taring Padi was initially formed by art students from ISI, it did not take long for individuals with no background in the arts to join in the collective action of this group. An important characteristic of Taring Padi is the democratic collectivism that underlies all artistic production and activity. While in the last decade Taring Padi has been recognized as a part of Yogyakarta and Indonesia’s art history, at its core, Taring Padi is first and foremost a collective of social activists.

Nearly fifteen years after its inception, Taring Padi’s message has not only reached various communities in Indonesia but has also travelled abroad creating a network that is truly global. Taring Padi has participated in workshops in countries including Australia, East-Timor, and Thailand. The relaxed nature of this group and the desire of the second generation of Taring Padi members, who are now carrying on the activities of their predecessors, reinforce the significance that continues to be placed on the necessity of drawing attention to issues faced by marginalized populations in Indonesia as well as abroad.

Since the inception of Taring Padi in December 1998, the work of this group has focused on themes related to the social and political concerns of the Indonesian people. Resembling the style of propaganda posters, the imposing realism of Taring Padi’s work leaves a strong impression on the viewer. While themes present in Taring Padi’s work such as anti-violence, humans rights, and equality are universal, a particular emphasis is placed on the struggles of laborers and farmers. In order to examine in more depth the ideology of Taring Padi expressed through their art and activism, this exhibition divides the twenty prints on display into four categories including: anti-violence, anti-corruption, empowerment and activism, and politics. Working through these larger themes, the context in which each print was created and the message it portrays demonstrates the universality and density of meaning present in each print. As one views these images it cannot be ignored how the concerns of artists and activists in Indonesia reflect the issues faced by marginalized populations throughout the world.

Sinaga, D. (2011). “Taring Padi: Not for the sake of a fine arts discourse.” Taring Padi: Seni membongkar tirani. Yogyakarta, Indonesia: Lumbung Press.

EXHIBITION DATES: February 22 – March 16, 2013
Space 2435, North Quad (located on the corner of S. State & E.
Washington St. in the North Quad building)


  • Friday, February 22, 1-6pm:
    Opening Event: T-shirt printing workshop with visiting Taring Padi member Sudandyo Aprilianto. Space limited- RSVP at Refreshments will be served.
  • Monday, February 25, 7-9pm:
    Screening: In the Eye of the Day by Leonard Retel Helmrich (Trilogy #1)
  • Thursday, February 28, 7-9pm:
    Screening: Shape of the Moon by Leonard Retel Helmrich (Trilogy #2)
  • Friday, March 1, 3:30-5pm:
    Gamelan music demonstration by Anon Suneka.
  • Saturday, March 16, 2-6pm:
    Closing Event: Indonesian Dance Workshop & Performance with Sanggar Bhineka Tunggal Ika. Refreshments will be served.

    For more information about Taring Padi, visit:
    For more information about the exhibition and events, Contact North Quad Programming

  • Lapindo

    Reflection in the Mud: a lunch-time presentation

    By | event, indonesia, lapindo mud disaster, north quad, space 2435, taring padi | No Comments

    From 2005-2009, I resided in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. I first went on a scholarship provided by the Indonesian government called the Darmasiswa Scholarship, to study traditional dance and music at the Yogyakarta Institute of Arts for one year. I was so fascinated by Indonesia that I stayed for three more years.

    During the majority of my time in Yogyakarta, I worked closely with the political arts collective Taring Padi. Translated to mean the “fang of the rice plant”, Taring Padi was started by a group of young artists in 1998 during the upheaval following the fall of former president Suharto. Best known for the amazing woodblock prints they create to address issues surrounding human rights, the environment, women & children, political corruption and other relevant topics, Taring Padi is recognized internationally for their continued commitment to bringing “art to the people”.

    We are very excited to announce that one of the Taring Padi members, Sergina, will be visiting North Quad during the week of October 15. Her visit is short, as she will be traveling from the Creative Time Summit in New York, to Ohio University in Athens. During her short stay in Ann Arbor, Sergina will give a talk in Space 2435 at North Quad on:

    Tuesday, October 16 from 12-1:30pm

    View calendar

    Don’t miss this great opportunity to hear first-hand about Taring Padi’s recent project with the victims of the Lapindo mudflow disaster in Porong, Sidoarjo in East Java, Indonesia:

    Commemoration of the Lapindo Mudflow Disaster

    A Project with the Community of Mudflow Victims in Porong, Sidoarjo, East Java, Indonesia

    The Lapindo mudflow disaster started on May 29, 2006 and since then has issued approximately 100,000 cubic meters of sludge material from the earth every day. This event became a tragedy when the hot mud flooded the rice fields, residential, and industrial areas. Thousands of houses were damaged, tens of thousands of villagers were displaced, and agricultural areas, plantations and over 20 factories were destroyed, leaving devastating environmental consequences. Thousands of people lost their jobs, leaving educational facilities not functioning. People left their houses, lands, villages, and stories behind.

    Forced displacement (forced migration) is an extraordinary cultural disaster; people leave their history and the ways they live and interact with each other behind. Because there is no longer a social or cultural common ground that unites them, the people affected by the mud lose cohesion. The loss of history, life capital and social interactions become a catalyst for social fragmentation.

    In the face of the Lapindo mudflow disaster, the political arts collective Taring Padi facilitated cultural activities focused on reviving the collective memory of the victims; addressing the events of culture, relationships, and social interaction that were left under the mud. “Reflection in the Mud” invited the entire Porong community to communicate their feelings about the loss and sorrow caused by the mud of Lapindo, encouraging them not to constantly be in pain, but to continue to fight for their rights. Taring Padi hoped that the rise of collective memory would reinforce the cultural ties; breaking the tension that had been prominent among the victims. The emergence of collective memory was expected not only as a reinforcement of public solidarity to the victims of the mud (which was beginning to be lost in the hustle and bustle of newly rising issues), but also as a marker to the public that similar incidents will not happen again in the future.

    About Sergina:

    My full name is Sergina. I was born 29 years ago in Makassar, South Sulawesi. I spent more less 21 years of my life there and 3 years in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi, before I moved to Yogyakarta 5 years ago to take my master program. During my thesis writing process in 2009, I met a friend who introduced me to Taring Padi. And since that time, I have been involved with Taring Padi Collective. My study background is not art, but I do really love the art. And I love the way that Taring Padi integrates “social realities” into their artwork. I have learned how to make art in Taring Padi, such as woodcut prints and drawing.

    I have been involved in some projects with friends in Taring Padi. I was the project secretary for the Commemoration of four-years of the Lapindo Mudflow Disaster Project in 2010; the project coordinator of “Taring Padi: Art Smashing the Tyranny” Book Launch Project in 2011; the project manager for Under, After, and In-Between II Project in September 2012, a collaborative project involving Indonesian, Thai, and Burmese artists. Within Taring Padi’s structure, I was elected as a secretary of our organization for July 2012 – July 2013 period.

    Currently I am working in Handicap International, an INGO who concerns to disabilities issues, based in Yogyakarta.

    We hope to see you there!!!!!!!!