Icon in Motion
We Are Here (2019) is the title of the video art presented by Ayang Kalake. Here, the icons of Betawi are served in a fresh form, combining the techniques of digital motion, photography, and most importantly videography, into an artwork. How to create culture awareness amongst a modernised and diverse public? The artist has always considered using interactive video as an effective medium of conveying messages or ideas. Not only that it is destined for the inhabitants of Jakarta, but it also serves as a non-conventional approach in introducing the true culture of Jakarta to the international public.
In 2017, Jakarta Capital City Government has set eight icons derived from Betawi’s culture. With this came the idea of mounting eight screens, each showing an element that is inseparable to Betawi culture. These icons are “Ondel-Ondel” (Large puppet figure featured in Betawi folk performance), “Kembang Kelapa” (In English: Coconut flower. Decoration for Betawi cultural festivals, made out of coloured paper and sticks), and “Gigi Balang” (In English: Grasshopper teeth. A row of wooden friezes applied on the roof. Specific ornamentation in Betawi house architecture), “Baju Sadariah” and “Kebaya Kerancang” (Traditional Betawi attires), Betawi “Batik” (Colourful textiles created using an indigenous coloration technique), “Kerak Telor” (In Engish: Egg crust. Betawi traditional spicy omelette), and Bir Pletok (Betawi traditional drink, containing ginger, pandan, and lemongrass).
The artwork stands for the place of Betawi people and culture in Jakarta -- what is now a contemporary city. As Ayang Kalake stated, “We are still here, still alive, staying alive, and will continue to stay alive.”