After two years, the pandemic has taken a turn for the better on a global scale. While different corners of the world cope in their own separate ways, commonalities that are universally felt reveal themselves by virtue of art as a unifying form it has always been. The annual Jakarta International Photo Festival (JIPFest) manifests this notion in its third curatorial theme, ‘Revival’, highlighting how photographers across the world make meaning of the spirit to get back up on one’s feet, with Asep Topan, Ayos Purwoaji, and Ng Swan Ti filling the curatorial seats.
As a festival that has always been on the move, this year, JIPFest takes over six different walkable spots within the lively Blok M as its makeshift gallery following successful stints at Taman Ismail Marzuki in 2019 and Kota Tua in 2021. Amongst the selected spots are the now-restored Taman Langsat, the Peruri-owned housing-turned-modern-compound Kala Karya and Kala di Kalijaga, and an abandoned shopping mall which is now home to Soup N Film.
Across the 17-day programme, JIPFest is host to 55 events and 59 guest stars from nine countries from Indonesia, Singapore, India, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands, Norway, and Belgium for workshops, public lectures, and discussions. While the photo exhibition features 26 photo stories from 19 countries through an open-call curation process.
To start, visitors are encouraged to start their artful affair from Taman Langsat when the day’s still early. Here, gallery walls where photographs are often displayed are swapped for the surrounding grass and lotus-filled swamp instead, dotted with a curation of frames that call attention to pressing social matters.
Expect to encounter ‘Shred the Patriarchy’ (2022) by Germany-based Chantal Pinzi which captures the stories of Moroccan women breaking the unsaid stigma through skateboarding; ‘Chaldoran’ (2022) by Younes Mohammad gives a glimpse into the marginalized Kurdish families’ exodus in Iran; while ‘Lensa Anak Terminal’ (2021-2022) by Setyo Manggala Utama from Indonesia offsets this with a more lighthearted photography-slash-free drawing work of children residing near Depok Bus Station.
After one’s amble along the jogging track in Taman Langsat, carry on to JIPFest’s special presentation at Kala Karya and Kala di Kalijaga, where works by journalist photographer Riska Munawarah and documentary shots from Irene Barlian are exhibited alongside a photo book exhibition. At Soup N Film, a more contemplative selection is set against the building’s semi-outdoor rooftop. Meanwhile, in the basement, a new addition to this year’s lineup takes place: the photo fair. With a focus on exhibiting prints by Indonesian photographers, the new programme enables higher exposure for them as well as photo book publishers to meet potential buyers and expand their market.
To borrow the words of curator Asep Topan, just like the word ‘revival’ is closely associated with spiritual practices, relishing the whole JIPFest experience mimics the act of a pilgrimage walk. “After all, isn’t encountering art a spiritual experience too?”
Revival became flesh in the exhibiting artwork—not just through the visuals but also in the process and drive to create, an interesting interpretation that is made possible by the open-call curation process. While the theme itself might symbolise different things depending on where you are looking, JIPFest is making room for it to be expressed through varying viewpoints, giving a better understanding of the world we live in.
JIPFest will run from 9 to 25 September 2022 at Taman Langsat, Kala Karya, Kala di Kalijaga, Soup N Film, Lamandau House, and Teater Bulungan. For more details and booking information, click here.