Jakarta’s emerging cultural spaces

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Jakarta’s emerging cultural spaces

Picasso once said that the purpose of art was to wash the dust of daily life off our souls. Those familiar with Jakarta’s maladies - traffic, floods and pure chaos at times - might conclude that the city has quite a thick layer of grit in this context.

So when your daily routine starts to get a bit flat and flavorless, a little touch of art could serve to enlighten your day. So why not give the city’s art spaces a try?

“One might well ask what's value of such a space?" says Dia.lo.gue art space owner Engel Tanzil. "For one thing, art and design are inextricably linked with the way humans express themselves. They are part of everyday life, living and breathing a profoundly human truth.”

Art spaces are wellsprings of fresh notions. Jakarta’s art industry may have yet gained the pace of those in fellow metropolitan areas such as New York or Tokyo, but the scene is developing and the demand is emerging.

Today, young Jakartans embrace creative communities, defining new spheres in the art scene while also going global through captivating artwork. Check out our list of art spaces in Jakarta and get ready to be newly inspired by them.


The thundering blaze of Hammond organ notes coupled with staccato drum strokes echoed in the main hall of the Dia.lo.gue art space as I entered the quirky building. The instrumental duo - Mission Possible - was performing as a guest in "Color of The Trap" - an art exhibition held by local artist Sir Dandy.

The atmosphere in the exhibition came hand in hand with the music; psychedelic with a nudge of the contemporary. Among many familiar faces, I found Sir Dandy and asked him to describe the importance of art spaces in the industry.

“It's essential. Basically this kind of place [dia.lo.gue] is important for the industry. Artists and art enthusiasts converge in this place,” he said.

My favorite spot in the place is definitely the gift shop, located in the front of the venue. Buying locally-crafted accessories is the easiest way of giving support to the scene.

Dia.lo.gue Artspace – Jl. Kemang Selatan Raya 99A, South Jakarta, telephone - 021.719 9671, email - info@dialogue-artspace.com, web - facebook.com/dialogueartspace.

Bentara Budaya

“The meaning of ‘Bentara’ is emissary. The word embodies Bentara Budaya’s spirit to expose the marginalized arts in Indonesia,” says Bentara Budaya manager Dinar Tisti.

According to Dinar, Bentara Budaya differs from other art spaces because it focuses its programs on art forms that are considered obsolete rather than those seen as sophisticated and modern.

Bentara Budaya Jakarta’s architecture adapts the shape of traditional houses in Kudus, Central Java. One can immediately sense an elegant and traditional atmosphere when arriving. Inside, hundreds of piece of artwork are stored with some on display for the visitors’ pleasure from time to time. It is also a good place to go when you feel like watching local artists perform.

The building owes its design to Romo Mangunwijaya, who is known as Indonesia’s “Father of Modern Architecture”.

Bentara Budaya Jakarta has counterparts in other regions. Make sure you pay both the Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta and Bali a visit when you are in the neighborhood.

Bentara Budaya, Jl. Palmerah Selatan 17, Jakarta, telephone - 021-5483008, web - bentarabudaya.com, Twitter - @bentarabudaya.

Ruang Rupa

A feature since 2000, Ruang Rupa has succeeded in keeping its title as a den for young artists and urbanites.

Indra Ameng, who is responsible for Ruang Rupa’s programs, said that the main reason behind its establishment was that previously, there was no place for young artists to gather and express their work.

Ruang Rupa was born out of the collective initiative of various artists longing to fulfill a need to express themselves.

You might have already been familiar with the collective thanks to its international programs such as Jakarta OK VIDEO, Rrrecfest and Jakarta 32 Celcius. The place is also a welcoming haven for artists abroad who visit Indonesia on residencies or exhibitions. Many artists such as filmmaker Vincent Moon and musician Arrington de Dionyoso have also made Ruang Rupa their home during visits to Jakarta.

Ruang Rupa – Jl. Tebet Timur Dalam Raya 6, Jakarta Selatan, telephone - 021.830.4220, info@ruangrupa.org, ruangrupa.org, Twitter - @ruangrupa.


In over a 4,000 square-meter space, Art:1 offers workshops, seminars, spaces for hire and art classes. The venue is a privately-owned museum offering public programs.

It is certainly worth a visit to join one or several Art:1 classes of your choice.

Children can participate in brief lessons on art techniques, based on those used by famous Indonesian and international artists. Professionals from the Jakarta Art Institute (IKJ) conduct this certificated class. Other classes are for adults, with focuses on painting, collecting and conservation. Art:1’s space is also available for hire.

Or, if you prefer to be the customer, simply pay a visit to the gift shop on the first floor. Here you can find various merchandise art, custom made frames and other curios.

Art:1 – Jl. Rajawali Selatan Raya 3, Jakarta, telephone - 021 64700168, web - mondecor.com.



The brainchild of a group of journalists, artists and literary figures, Salihara has become one of Jakarta’s noteworthy art hubs.

The establishment of the eco-friendly structure set forth a euphonic vision: “Fostering freedom with the people.” Since its coming-about in 2008, Salihara has housed various creative events, including discussions, music performances, exhibitions and many more.

Not only catering to the works of well-polished artists, it also holds weekly classes for art rookies, discussions, craft workshops and much more.

Salihara’s programs are far from dull, with some of them involving unique and – arguably - controversial topics.

Salihara – Jl. Salihara 16, Pasar Minggu, Jakarta, telephone - 021.7891202, web - salihara.org, Twitter - @salihara.