4 Questions with Jogja Art Fair Founder Heri Pemad

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The Jogja Art Fair—better known as Art Jog—has been the driving force in putting the central Java city of Yogyakarta on the art map of Asia. Ahead of its ninth edition this year (May 27–June 27), we talked to the show’s founder, Heri Pemad, about what’s in store.

By Gabrielle Lipton

How is Art Jog different from other art fairs?
It’s an artists’ fair, not a fair of galleries selling their art. We encourage artists to go crazy and express their ideas without limitations. The artists also host dinners for collectors and open their homes and studios for people to see. Really, it’s a celebration that brings people together.

Tell us about this year’s program.
Our theme is Universal Influence. For the first time, we didn’t use an open-application system, but rather invited artists who we consider to be the most important—who think universally—to exhibit their best recent works. The more we grow, the more selective we have to be. In Art Jog’s first year, we showed more than 1,000 artworks from nearly 500 artists; this year, we’re limiting the number of artists to 90.

What’s on the agenda this year?
There’s the main exhibition at the Jogja National Museum and talks and events throughout the month, though those are usually spontaneous. I’ve also created a sister event, Jogja Art Weeks, as a way to promote smaller exhibitions, gallery showings, and open studios of artists who weren’t selected to be in Art Jog.

What are the fair’s main goals?
First, to allow collectors and curators from around the world to discover and get to know new Indonesian artists. But it also exposes young Indonesians to great international art and artists that they may never otherwise see, like Marina Abramović and Stefan Sagmeister. Indonesia struggles with art education, and good exhibitions rarely come here. My goal is for Art Jog to help this.

This article originally appeared in the April/May print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Art on the Agenda”).

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