ara(1) Performance by Arahmaiani

(2) Screening of Erika Baglyas’s film Honestly featuring CM Rien Kuntari

(3) Conversation with Arahmaiani & CM Rien Kuntari

Saturday, January 11 6-9PM // Project Reach NYC. 39 Eldridge Street, 4FL. New York NY, 10002 // Co-presented by the Queens Museum & freeDimensional

1998, in the wake of the Asian financial crisis and the resignation of General Suharto after 32 years in power, was a tumultuous year for Indonesia. Promises of long-overdue democratic reform were quickly overshadowed by persistent political and economic instability, rampant corruption, civil unrest and terrorism. Performance artist Arahmaiani and war journalist Cordula Maria Rien Kuntari were witness to this important historical moment and its aftermath, both as insiders and outsiders. In addition to a shared national identity, both women share the common experience of being forced to leave their countries of origin as a result of their professional practice as it served to interrogate abuses of power and the hypocrisy of politics in their country.

‘Public Secrets’: Arts, Culture and Contemporary Indonesian Politics after the Fall of Suharto brings these two powerful ‘witnesses’ together to discuss the evolution of Indonesian politics over the past 15 years and the role of arts and culture both as a form of critique and a catalyst for positive social change.

Arahmaiani is one of Indonesia’s most respected and iconic contemporary artists, and her work is internationally recognized for its powerful and provocative commentaries on social and cultural issues. In the 1980s and ’90s, she established herself as a pioneer in the field of performance art in Southeast Asia, although her practice also incorporates a wide variety of media, including video, installation, painting, drawing, and sculpture. Since her first exhibition in 1980, her work has been included in over one hundred solo and group exhibitions around the world, including: the Venice Biennale (2003); Biennale of the Moving Image, Geneva (2003); Gwangju Biennale (2002); Bienal de São Paulo (2002), Performance Biennale, Israel (2001); Biennale de Lyon (2000); Werkleitz Biennale (2000); Bienal de la Habana (1997); Asia Pacific Triennial (1996); Yogya Biennial, (1994).

CM Rien Kuntari is an Indonesian born freelance journalist. She spent most of her career withKompas Daily in Jakarta. During her tenure at Kompas Daily she made journalistic visits in more than 50 countries in Asia, Europe, America, Africa, and the Middle East. Kuntari was also a war correspondent covering the Gulf War (Iraq 1991), the Rwanda Genocide (1994), the Iraq Referendum (1995 and 2002), Cambodia (1996) and East Timor until its independence (1992-2002). She was a presidential correspondent from Soeharto to Abdurrahman Wahid. In 2009, just one month after she published her book about East Timor’s bloody independence and after almost twenty years of service, she was fired by Kompas Daily due to the “controversy” surrounding her truthful reporting. East Timor, The Final Hour: a Journalist’s Notes is the first book about the painful birth of the Republic Democratic of Timor Leste written by an Indonesian civilian author that has been resulting to her travelling to the United States without any chance to go back to her homeland.  She is currently living in the New York City as an independent writer.

Also, check out Arahmaiani’s solo exhibition ‘Fertility of the Mind’ at Tyler Rollins Fine Art on view till February 22.

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