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Activism, Art and Fashion

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Angki Purbandono, Artist

Venue: Art Stage Jakarta 2017

Angki, pictured in front of his work (right), Souvenir From Tangkahan (2017)
A close-up of Angki’s awesome cap

What does “Keren dan Beken” mean?

This is part of a project of MES56, it means “cool and famous.” It is a project based on popular photography, about how famous images can be easily reproduced and then sold directly to the public. We adopted that concept and called it “Keren dan Beken.” The phrase also represents our history and roots.

(Editor’s note: Read about the exhibition here. Angki’s work in particular, “Beyond Versace” was a decadent ‘fashion’ catalogue capturing images of mentally ill homeless people in Yogyakarta. Laksamana Tirtadji observed that Angki was able to “find similarities in terms of the fashion choices of these homeless people, with actual designer clothing that appeared in Paris Fashion Week.”)

Why are you wearing your hair like that?

Because I love the style! I love being different from people.

How do you style your hair?

I have curly hair so (all I have to do is) just grow it out. I had dreadlocks for 8 years. Then I went to jail and they cut my hair, so then I lost all my style! Now I have found a new style.

And your shirt?

Oh, this here – it is cannabis!

After I went to jail, I became part of the movement in Indonesia to legalise cannabis. And not just legalise it, but to regulate it as well. We make merchandise (as part of the movement) too. This shirt is made by Lingkar Ganja Nusantara which is an activist group.

And how have your efforts been so far, to legalise cannabis/ganja?

I am still trying to approach governments, enterprises, and friends, to create an organic movement. We believe that with better knowledge, ganja use can be peaceful. It can be used medically, as well as recreationally, and to (stimulate) creativity.

Can people buy this shirt?

For sure! On the website!

(If you’d like to see more of Angki’s work in Singapore, his solo exhibition If You Give Me Lemon, I’ll Make Lemonade: Tales from Tokyo and Tangkahan at Mizuma Gallery  is on until 29 Oct.)

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U is for Usha. Usha spent 12 years at the coalface of tax law in Singapore, before she returned to her first love, the arts. These days, you're likely to find her at museums and art events, camera in one hand and (as far as possible), wine glass in the other. Outside of covering events for Plural, her favourite pastimes include harassing her two cats and husband, and lounging about with trashy novels and salty chips.

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