Dia.lo.gue artspace drew large crowds to its lofty green gallery in Kemang, South Jakarta, over the weekend for a local market with a garden backdrop.
At the SMart Art Market on Saturday, visitors strolled through the garden and browsed handbags, wallets, toys, ceramics, furniture and household goods from local vendors.
“We’re quite surprised — and happy, of course — about the big turnout,” said Windi Salomo, co-owner of Dia.lo.gue, which opened early last year and has held the event twice before.
“When we organized the first art market in May 2011, we still had to approach most of the vendors to ask if they would like to participate,” she said. “Now, it’s the other way around. We received so many e-mails from potential vendors and really had to select who we wanted to join this time.”
Held twice a year in May and November, SMart aims to present art and design as part of everyday life and to provide a sales platform for local artists and designers.
“Most of the 20 vendors here today are locals, from Jakarta, even though we also have one from Yogyakarta and from Bandung,” Windi said. “But we try to reach out to the expat community as well. There’s a French lady based in Yogyakarta who is selling her furniture here today.”
The organizers try to invite different artists each time. “We also invite artists to sell reprints of their works because some people simply can’t afford to buy the original artworks,” she said.
A first-timer at the market was artist Sanchia Hamidjaja of Jilsi Archikreature.
Sanchia, who is known in the local arts scene as an illustrator, presented toy rocking horses for young kids.
“Jilsi has been around for a really long time selling the typical-looking rocking horses,” she said. “But now they’re trying to have a more artistic approach.”
In between browsing the stalls, visitors enjoyed live music performances, live painting sessions and a graphic and etching demonstration. Others sipped coffee and bought snacks at the gallery’s cafe.
Children at the event were also given a chance to tap into their creative sides with the help of Raya Pradiono Muliawardhana and Kyra Pradiono, two sisters behind Kutakatik arts and crafts classes.
“This was the first time we joined the art market,” Raya said. “It was quite a good experience.”
The sisters, known for face painting and creating dolls, robots and other creatures out of recycled goods, put a special focus on Indonesian art for the day.
“Since the exhibition that opened in the afternoon featured local artists, we gave the kids gunungan to decorate,” Raya said, referring to a puppet in the traditional wayang theater.
The gunungan, which depicts a mountain and tree, is a requisite of wayang shows and is often placed in the center of the screen before the drama begins.
“We introduced the kids to what gunungan stands for, but in a way that was not too formal,” Raya said. “We wanted them to be familiar with the shape, with the fact that it exists. We used the small ones, so after decorating it they could use them as fans.”
It seemed the entire day was about having fun, with a dose of art and creativity to round off the event.
A young Indonesian couple browsing through the stalls said they were looking for gifts.
“I have a friend who just had a baby,” the wife said. “I think it’s much nicer to buy something here, something unique and handmade, rather than going to a big store. This way, I can also support our young creative talents.”