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
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.
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.