studied at the Indonesian Art Institute and had a two year residency at the Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam. He is the director and co-founder of Ruangrupa artists’ initiative in Jakarta, founded in 2000. Darmawan was artistic director of the Jakarta Biennale-Arena 2009 and festival director as well as artistic director of OK Video Jakarta, International Video Festival from 2003 to 2009. With Ruangrupa, he participated in the Gwangju, Istanbul, and Singapore Biennales. Darmawan was also co-curator of Fixer, an exhibition of alternative spaces and artists’ collectives in Indonesia, in 2010, and a member of the Jakarta Arts Council from 2006 to 2009.
Many rivers in Indonesia, especially in Java, have become ecologically and culturally marginalized. We torture them with garbage and waste; in many parts these rivers have also become home to people who are economically disadvantaged and have thus, with all the complexities surrounding them, turned into shantytowns themselves. Due to general mismanagement, these regions have become an urban disaster, facing a social as well as an economic gap, a disoriented infrastructure, a lack of public spaces and overall ecological calamity. We also rarely find cultural production that comes from the creative process of the relationship between humans and the river as an inspiring collaboration. It is becoming increasingly important to re-identify and redefine our relationship with nature. We need to view it as a source of life and livelihood. This project challenges young artists to observe and address the environmental and social elements related to the river that have been marginalized. It will also portray the way people organically and systematically react and deal with the innovation strategies of survival, and further demonstrate the role of the artist as well as his strategies in regards to his artistic practices.