Our Visit to Jakarta Biennale 2021: ESOK

In early January, the Dopang Indonesia team had a chance to visit Jakarta Biennale 2021: ESOK. Jakarta Biennale is a bi-annual event that has been at the forefront of art events in Jakarta. Showcasing various works created by talented local artists and beyond for the citizens of Jakarta to see.

This year’s theme is “ESOK”, An Indonesian word meaning “tomorrow”. During this pandemic, the word itself holds a broader meaning. It expresses hope and also anticipation for a “better” tomorrow. The exhibition touches on several subjects such as human rights, the environment, diversity, gender equality, political polarization, and digital disruption. 

Set at different locations in Central Jakarta which are National Museum, National Awakening Museum (STOVIA), Menteng Park, and the Cikini District. The enthusiasm for this year’s exhibition is apparent, with the ticketing site being down several times and a plethora of content relating to the event flooding social media. We got pretty lucky and managed to get tickets to the National Museum exhibition.

In the massive halls of the National Museum, three incredible artworks welcome us. But one work caught our eye. Hailing from the same city as Dopang’s HQ, Fukuoka, artist Kenji Makizono invites visitors to experience his work. Entitled “The Use of Energy”, this year-long project was created during his residency at MMCA Residency Goyang, South Korea. It is a multimedia installation where visitors can play, listen, and watch his project.

The Use of Energy by Kenji Makizono

Inspired by the energy policy shift in Korea and Japan, the work revolves around a bicycle that visitors can ride to power four amplifiers, four televisions, and an electric guitar. And when it gets sufficient power, the tv plays a video of Kenji Makizono and his band members performing a song about energy. It’s always cool when an artwork allows the visitors to be involved!

Following Kenji Makizono, there were also several works of artists that caught our eye. Such as:

Sri Naura Paramita by Alfiah Rahdini

The powerful Sri Naura Paramita sculpture by Bandung-based artist Alfiah Rahdini. Which depicts a woman adorned with a Hijab, seated in a meditating position on top of a Stupa, a Buddhist place for meditation. 

Matinro by Tamarra

The beautiful and Instagram favorite, Matinro (‘Tidur’, ‘Sleep’). A colorful soft sculpture made of found objects such as plastic and wire by Yogyakarta-based artist Tamarra.

Casting Spells for the Movement by Nadiah Bamadhaj

And the massive and breathtaking Casting Spells for the Movement (Merapal Mantra Untuk Gerakan) resin sculpture by Malaysian-born, Yogyakarta-based artist Nadiah Bamadhaj.

The National Museum

Other than visiting the exhibition, visitors can also enjoy the permanent exhibition of the National Museum which showcases pre-historic displays, various archaeological discoveries, and much more. With its array of collections and beautiful structures, the National Museum has always been a local favorite.


The exhibition may already be over, but visitors at home can still check out Jakarta Biennale 2021: ESOK. An online viewing entitled ESOK360 is still ongoing.

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