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Taring Padi Radical Indonesian Art @ RPS Gallery Oakland

Friday, October 03, 2008
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Event Type:
Location Details:
Rock Paper Scissors Collective
2278 telegraph ave., oakland, ca 94612

Rock Paper Scissors Collective presents "Lembaga Budaya Karakytan Taring Padi" or the "Organization of People's Culture Fangs of Rice," a collective of art activists from Java, Indonesia. Featuring woodcut prints from the group, the exhibition will open October 3 as part of Oakland Art Murmur.

Known as Taring Padi, the group is self-described as an "independent non-profit cultural community based on the concept of people's culture." They arose in 1998 in the midst of major social uprising and political reformation when the corrupt Indonesian dictator President Surharto was forced out of office by a popular people's movement.

The men and women of Taring Padi have survived slanderous accusations, government repression, and fundamentalist violence in order to stand up against capitalist and imperialist oppression. In an effort to educate and inspire fellow Indonesians and the world, they use the power of art as a cultural tool. Their art communicates directly to their local community, but their message speaks to us all, tackling issues of human rights, corruption, global warming, women's liberation, land use and food security. Though their artistic tactics are varied, including music, performance, writing, and visual art, their most recognizable works are woodcut posters pasted up around their home-city of Jogjakarta as counterpropaganda. Twenty-eight of these iconic and powerful posters are currently held in the International Archive of Social History in the Netherlands.

Taring Padi are widely known in their own community, but are also the subject of academic research and documentary films, as well as the focus of international journalistic attention. In February 2008, Time Magazine ran "War Paint," a feature by Jason Tedjasukmana that addresses Taring Padi's international reception. In the article, Tedjasukmana points out that though Taring Padi's work is not intended as a means of financial gain through the gallery system and art market, the group "now finds itself enjoying a modicum of celebrity." Their works have been exhibited internationally in Asia, Europe, and Australia.

The exhibition at RPS will run from September 30th to October 24, with artwork from over the last 10 years consisting of over 40 woodcut prints on paper and fabric, ranging in size from large banners to small postcards and patches. The opening night reception will include a documentary about Taring Padi entitled "Indonesia: Art Activism, and Rock 'n' Roll" and a live video-conference with the artists in Indonesia.

Though the collective pieces are not numbered or signed the number in existence is scarce especially outside of Indonesia. Some of the original woodblocks that the archival prints were cut from are on their last leg.

This show is a benefit for Taring Padi and all proceeds from the sale of art and donations go directly to support collective projects. All funds raised will go to help bring members of Taring Padi to Mexico to be part of the First Global Festival of Dignified Rage organized by the EZLN in Mexico City and Chiapas as well as collaborate with Mexican artists and activists including ASARO (Assembly of Revolutionary Artists of Oaxaca).

Although this exhibition was scheduled as part of an art and speaking tour in the US for members of Taring Padi, they will not be present at this event, and a majority of the tour was cancelled, due to the inability to obtain US visas. The show will be curated by an American artist friend of Taring Padi who spent time living with the group in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Added to the calendar on Wed, Oct 1, 2008 7:06PM
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