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Komunitas Pojok

PCSJS Portfolio's picture

One of the most interesting and important aspects of spending such a long time in Indonesia was forming close friendships with many people my age who I never would have met otherwise.  It always surprise me when people hear about me living in Indonesia, or see pictures from my time there, and make comments about how I must have done such good, important, helpful work with the people I met.  This couldn’t be further from the truth: although I felt like my friendships were for the most part egalitarian, I did receive considerable support from my friends, both in terms making it financially feasible to take time off and live in Indonesia, and in the ways they became important emotional supports.  Many of the people I got to know were part of an informal art community called “Komunitas Pojok,” or “The Community on the Corner.” 

 Pojok consists of all different kinds of artists, including writers, musicians, painters, and sculptors, but what they all have in common is a penchant for being political and making a statement.  Although I have never considered myself to be an “artist” per se I was able to join Komunitas Pojok in some of their work, particularly the political street art that they put up all around Denpasar.  I loved the experience, although it also meant navigating the tricky path of wanting to give my own input, while at the same time realizing that I didn’t understand the political context of many of Pojok’s statements fully enough to contribute meaningfully.  What I could do, however, is join Pojok at night as they drove around Denpasar (and beyond) creating their art, and often helping with the actual task of getting it on the wall.  In many ways, Pojok forced me to rethink how I understand the political nature of graffiti, and I’m sure that my presence also caused passerby to recalibrate who they understood to be street artists.

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