Posted: 24 January 2017
This article was published on the Indonesian Art Coalition website. To read the original article, please follow this link.
Author: Anastha Eka
"For the higher art is that which comes from our daily lives, processed in the life of the artist himself, which does not come out of the pattern of everyday life … not remembering morals or traditions, nor does this mean it is driven only by a compulsion in force. "(S. Sudjojono)
In the eyes of Sudjojono-one of the pioneers of modern Indonesian painting- works of art can transcend time if they are produced from the creator’s reflection upon the reality he faces. Art should materialize from the creator's own inner urges, as a pure reflection of his soul.
Sudjojono's words are true. Look how the works of artists such as Shakespeare or Van Gogh can not only pass the test of time, but also shape history and civilization. The history of this country can also be traced through the creation of its art, as shown by Helena Spanjaard within her writing and research. In one of her works, Artists and Their Inspirations, Spanjaard recounts the struggle for independence, the changes in social and political conditions, and the formation of Indonesian national identity, through the works of the nation’s great artists.
Creating honest art which captures community conditions and encourages change is not a simple matter. It requires adequate education and extensive research on the part of the artist. Both of these conditions require funding. Additionally, critical art is not always considered immersive or entertaining. A poor level of appreciation in the public means artists are unable to rely on sales of works or tickets for shows – which often leaves them unable to cover production costs.
In an attempt to describe the implementation of philanthropy, and the mobilization of resources from government, the private sector, and Indonesian society towards national art and culture, the Public Interest Research and Advocacy Centre (PIRAC) conducted research between January and September 2009. The research was conducted using a qualitative approach, collecting data through focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with various organizations constituting donors, managers, and recipients of support. To complement his research, PIRAC also conducted observational and literature studies that were relevant to the implementation of philanthropy for the arts.
The governments of European countries have realized the importance of supporting the arts. According to the data gathered by David Throsby, as cited in the PIRAC study, in 2002 the French government allocated 0.77% of its public budget for art. France became one of the highest contributors when compared with other European countries, such as the Netherlands (0.45%), Sweden (0.42%) and the UK (0.41%). These figures stand in contrast to those forecast in the medium-term Development Plans for the periods 2004-2009 and 2010-2014, in which Indonesia's government budget for tourism and culture only ranges from 0.06 to 0.09% per year as a percentage of total state expenditure.
The United States government, while only allocating 0.05% of its public budget in 2002, has spent nearly $2 billion on 200 cultural programs organized by more than 30 central government agencies in 2001. The reason the United States does not provide a large budget space for the arts is to limit state intervention; this can be regarded as government support for freedom of expression
Through Law Number 36 of 2008, and Government Regulation Number 93 of 2010, the central government provides tax incentives for private parties that engage in social contribution activities or corporate social responsibility (CSR). Art and culture is one of the areas that was opened up to CSR funding under this regulation. However, not many companies understand this regulation in depth, so it exists as the government's duty to carry out its socialization. In terms of art and cultural development, the Indonesian government has a lot of homework to do.
In its research, PIRAC presented media mapping results indicating that in 2007 there were 1,372 social activities conducted by private companies, with the value of support of IDR 44 billion. Of these 1,372 activities, PIRAC only recorded 18.1% donated to arts and culture; art is not a priority yet.
Furthermore, the data above has not distinguished between support provided in the form of CSR and that provided through sponsorship. Support for the arts in the private sector is usually a mutually beneficial arrangement. Some argue that, sponsorship cannot be categorized as philanthropy because the sponsor generally seeks a return on its investment, usually in the form of promotion or corporate image enhancement, which often complicates or constrains artists work.
The PIRAC study identified at least two effective examples of private relations mutually benefitting donors and artists. For example, the relationship between the Bagong Kussudiardjo Foundation (YBK) with Djarum Kudus and other sponsoring companies. Most of YBK's activities for staging theatre productions was supported by a private sponsorship model (PIRAC: 2009). Another example is the Srimulat Manggung Round program supported by Jawa Pos. In the program, Jawa Pos not only provides support through the provision of funds and facilities, they also helped Srimulat create marketing strategies for the shows, as well as marketing to prospective members through the holding of a Srimulat Similar Lawak Contest in Surabaya. These examples illustrate that if the private sector realizes the importance of art’s contribution to humanity, Indonesian artists and their art can thrive.
Under current conditions, with low government and private attention, art is in dire need of community support. The general public therefore plays an important role in art philanthropy. In the United States, individual showcase funding from individual donors account for 20% of production costs, a higher percentage than that provided by corporate and state funding (PIRAC: 2009). While this example certainly involves individual wealthy donors, usually from the business and government sectors, individual support can and should be provided by ordinary people.
One action that the public can undertake is to be more active within the art community. Salihara Companions is one of the programs for people who care about, and want to help the community of Salihara revive the arts. With relatively affordable donation options, members assist in the continuation of the arts, while also receiving benefits such as program opening invitations, admission tickets, or shopping discounts at Gerai Salihara.
There is another form of support that is now facilitating individual contributes, namely crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is a fundraising mechanism utilising an online platform to fund the implementation of projects or businesses. This mechanism has become an alternative way for artists to fund their projects, using sites like Kitabisa.com or Wujudkan.com. Djenar Maesa Ayu is one such artist who managed to raise funds through crowdfunding to produce the movie Nay.
If such donations cannot be realised, the simplest support that can be provided by the public is watching a production or attending art exhibitions on a regular basis, both paid and free. It's time for the public to dismiss the idea that quality art is exclusive. It is time for people who have realized the importance of art to help artists, and to invite people around them to participate in its appreciation. Art can only be useful for humanity if it is conveyed to people themselves.
The arts need support from all sides. Not only the government and the private sector play important roles, the general public is equally important and even the smallest support will be meaningful to the arts. Philanthropy for art is one way to keep it pure. This will prevent art from succumbing to the interests of private interest parties and orientating itself solely toward profit, without contributing to the progress of civilization.
Sources of reading:
Helena Spanjaard, Artists and Their Inspiration, LM Publishers, Volendam, 2016.
PIRAC, Filantropi dan Mobilisasi Sumber Daya untuk Pengembangan Seni Budaya, PIRAC, Jakarta, 2009.
Reni Efita, Donatur Seni Budaya Dapat Insentif Pajak, Bisnis Indonesia, 6 September 2013.
S. Sudjojono, “Kesenian, Seniman dan Masyarakat”, dalam Seni Rupa Modern Indonesia: Esai-Esai Pilihan, Penerbit Nalar, Jakarta, 2006.
S. Sudjojono, “Seni Lukis Indonesia Sekarang dan yang Akan Datang”, dalam Seni Rupa Modern Indonesia: Esai-Esai Pilihan, Penerbit Nalar, Jakarta, 2006.
Yulianisa Sulistyoningrum, Sinar Mas Bangun Gedung Biologi UGM Lewat CSR, Kabar24.com, 16 Juni 2015.