Curatorial works play an important role in art scene. This position connects the functions of artists, galleries, collectors and the public. Sometimes a curator is also responsible in implementing the whole chain of work. He or she sets up the theme, chooses the artists, selects the artworks, sets up the arrangements and writes the concept of the exhibition for the public. Such complexity requires specific skills and knowledge in art, yet in practice, anybody in Indonesia can be a curator. 


Ideally, curators should be those with art background – historical, anthropological or even fine arts. Some of those who learn art practices in the academy choose to be curators instead of artists. In Indonesia, requirements to be a curator are not strict – they can come from philosophy and journalism. According to Professor Oh Soon-Hwa from Nanyang University of Technology, Singapore, this results in very dynamic and highly organic art development compared to other countries.

  • Leo Silitonga, the owner of Umahseni Gallery in Jakarta proves the permeability of curator-artist boundary by organizing Beyond Boundaries: When Collector Curates a Show exhibition from 25 April – 25 May 2013. The uniqueness of this exhibition is that now collectors become curators.
  • The involvement of collectors as curators for Umahseni Gallery exhibition raises eyebrows – does this mean that the galleries or collectors are unhappy with curatorial works in Indonesia? Does the role of collectors influence the quality of the exhibition?
  • When the collectors become curators, this is a genuine breakthrough as anyone who can be a curator as long as he or she has accesses. On one hand, this shows how vulnerable art infrastructure in Indonesia, yet on the other hand, it highlights the uniqueness of Indonesia’s art development compared to other countries.

Beyond Boundaries: When Collector Curates a Show exhibition organized in Umahseni Gallery in Jakarta showcasing Davy Linggar, Agan Harahap, and Wimo Ambala Bayang curated by three collectors: Dr. Wiyu Wahono, Paula Dewiyanti, and Arif Suherman. Putting these three collectors as curators has been a long discussed discourse – that anybody can be a curator as long as he or she has accesses. Aside from the discourse of the roles of curators and collectors, this exhibition should not forget the discourses about the works of art itself – whether they are worthy to be discussed or not.

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Indonesian version