Cakravala: a new Indonesian cultural portal with vast horizons

‘Is it Anger or Addiction?’ 2021 – Imes Paskalia. Oil and charcoal on canvas 60 x 100cm.

I am fascinated by the evolution of creativity within contemporary culture. We are living in exciting times and the pandemic has accelerated our human potential. I believe the artists and creatives lead the way. Their imagination, activities and questioning introduce society to new, functional experiential forms and technologies manifesting in a better world – a world in which we all wish to belong.

My passion for observing developments in the dynamic Bali art and creative scene is made easier with Instagram. I can visit exhibitions and studios, be informed by short videos and written text while in the comfort of my hammock at home in Ubud. Cakravala, a new contemporary art portal, came upon my radar late in 2020.

The verve of their presentation captured my eye; the quality of showcased work by emerging Indonesian contemporary artists, and the savvy digital design accompanied by solid written content. Cakravala (‘the horizon’) defined themselves as unusual within the rapidly developing local art infrastructure. I was curious to discover the founder’s perspective and how they can generate value to stakeholders in the Indonesian and international art world.

‘Shakti Samhara’ 2021 – Putu Surya Dharma Putra. Digital print on suede fabric. 172 x 130 cm.

“I was busy completing my master’s degree, and galleries were closing everywhere due to the pandemic. I went into a hole, worried about what I should do with my degree,” said Adella Bahar, one half of Cakravala along with her partner Brina Paska.  Currently based in Sydney, Adella is studying for a master’s degree in art curating at the University of NSW.

“I’ve been closely following the development of the Indonesian art scene, and I noticed gaps in the infrastructure that could be solved. It took months to muster the courage to commit to my dream as I pondered the risks. The only way the idea could work is if I had a partner based in Indonesia. I joined forces with Brina, who shares my passion for Indonesian art and culture. I truly believe that the platform is what struggling emerging artists needed, and what Indonesians never knew they wanted as well.”

‘Transformation’ 2020 – Fuad Machmud. Photography 59.4cm x 84.1cm.

“Art can be intimidating and sometimes obscure, especially for the millennials who are increasingly gravitating towards art and creative lifestyles,” Brina said. “There is, however, a great lack of transparency within the commercial mechanisms of art. Cakravala’s mission is to make art accessible by facilitating a space to converse, appreciate and buy art from just one click away. Through online and offline exhibitions, digital content and partnerships, we want to enhance the experience of discovering, understanding and collecting art.”

“Brina and I divide roles; the managerial and the curatorial aspect happens in Australia, the operational and marketing in Indonesia. One of my tasks is to build relationships, creating the foundations of a cross-cultural platform bridging Indonesia and Australia through the creative industries,” Adella said. “Cakravala is working towards building relevant partnerships with brands, companies, interior design studios and the hospitality industry by providing curation and personal advisory services. We believe we can generate value by educating people and organizations about the virtues of art.”

‘Nyuun Dulang’ 2020 – Nova Kusuma Mixed media collage with yarn wool. 18.6cm x 28.2cm

“Indonesia consists of countless cultures, ethnicities, exceptional nature and creative minds with infinite inspirations. In Indonesia, art is more of a cultural way of living; it’s an integrated ecosystem. We believe this creative fusion gives birth to extraordinary outcomes. Indonesia has something unique to offer to the world,” Brina stated. “We wish to instill this philosophy in our projects. Collaborating with different creative sectors, from art, music, theatre, performance, film, and even F&B. We aim to make our projects a truly immersive creative experience for different audiences.”

Educated in Jakarta and then London completing her BA degree in Fashion Marketing and Promotion, Brina’s studies continued in Paris 2016-2018, receiving an MA in Luxury Brand Management. She established Galeri Wastraku in Canggu in early 2019, showcasing Indonesian textiles and handcrafts while presenting workshops collaborating with emerging artists.  Adella studied fashion management and then embarked upon her curating degree. She interned at a fashion magazine, a fashion brand, an e-commerce website, volunteered at the Australian Centre for Photography and freelanced in content creation, graphic, design and videography. Born in Jakarta in 1995, both Brina and Adella’s parents are cultural enthusiasts. As children, their formative years were enriched by the beauty and wisdom of Indonesian art and cultural practices.

‘The Gathering’ 2021 – Samira Rolloos Acrylic on canvas. 60 x 80cm

Cakravala divides its programs into physical and digital spheres.Ruang Kreasi’ is a marketplace, which began when the brand was launched in August 2020. It presents paintings, sketches, photography, and mixed media works by talents such as Naomi Samara, Fuad Machmud, Imes Paskalia, Andre Yoga and Kezia Alexandra.Their upcoming virtual exhibitions include ‘In-Between’ – A journey across Indonesia and ‘Towards Revival’, an exhibition which explores the environmental concerns that are happening in Indonesia, and our place within it.

The 2021 physical program features their recent pop-up show ‘Vaitasa’, a collaboration with Indonesian fashion brand Aksu at T Lofts & Co-living Space, Kerobokan, during April and May. “Our initial focus is the Indonesian market, then expand into a global platform, starting in the Asia Pacific, specifically Australia. Beyond this, we endeavour to explore and discover innovative solutions for Indonesian art to exist in the digital world and for our artists to reach global audiences,” Adella stated.

‘Molden Gold’ 2022 – Cassandra Louise Mixed media on canvas. 150 x 100cm

During the past decade, the increasing presence of women has enriched the local art and creative scene as creators of conventional and non-conventional two and three-dimensional works and the driving force in new and relevant infrastructure projects and collective happenings. In Bali, the 21st-century digital creative economy is thriving, being accelerated by the pandemic. Each year the growing population of national and international transplants has helped define the island’s ever-increasing status as a unique global creative hub. 

Most players within the Bali art value creation chain have a vision for harvesting and not planting and nurturing. More participants are welcome with fresh ideas, willing to generate opportunities for artists and audiences to learn and grow alike.  The integration of art and creativity as social capital and a way of life draws from the past, fuses with the present and untapped future potential. This is our pathway forward. Cakravala seeks to make a real contribution. 

Instagram: _cakravala

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Courtesy of Cakravala

This article was published in NOW!Bali Magazine May 2021

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