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Penahitam is a collective where we learn to draw and sharing our skills with each other; regardless our tribe, race, religion, gender or class. Our headquarter is located in a village near Batu, Malang (East Java).
It started from 4 friends putting on a shared exhibition called ‘A Season in The Abyss’ at a small coffee shop on a street corner of Malang back in January 2012. We started a social media group to make communicating easier between us and invite our friends to join in and contribute. The group activities started to move from just online to meeting up with new friends in the real world and it has continued to grow far beyond our initial expectations.
We’ve made art trades, prints and merchandise, published our own illustration fanzines, made our events and exhibitions together in alternative galleries and spaces, and also have been invited to participate as a group in several local art events. Right now, 11 years on, the group has more than 9,500 member and is continuously flooded with daily requests to join (we decide to select the approval for the member based on a quick preview of their ‘background’; whether they have genuine interest to join the group or not, to avoid random advertisement spams, so sometimes the approval to join the group could take a few days). Penahitam has also branched off to create new autonomous collectives in several cities spread along Indonesia’s archipelago that actively make their own Penahitam events. Currently there are 28 cities which have their own Penahitam studio collective; Jakarta (West Java), Tangerang (West Java), Yogyakarta (Middle Java), Semarang (Middle Java), Surabaya (East Java), Pandaan (East Java), Jember (East Java), Denpasar (Bali), Padang (West Sumatra), Pekanbaru (West Sumatra) Makassar (Celebes), and Samarinda (Borneo); and there are still more cities planning to get involved. The character of each of our collectives is autonomous, non-centered with no strict bound to remain under the Penahitam name if they choose for themselves to start something new - Decentralized.
Penahitam has also published its own illustration fanzines, with the goal of publishing selected works of our members; art workers from Indonesia. To keep its authenticity we make them strictly limited and hand numbered. At the time of writing this we are in the process of making the 5 th edition. Out of the 4 previous editions, copies can be found all through South East Asia as well as Australia, America and various countries in Europe.
We initiated this project with the hope to create a space to communicate between artists, illustrators, designers and musicians, with the intent of supporting young, local artists who haven’t had much other opportunity to be published. We wanted to help them to be able to keep creating their art, making friends and networks between each other, sharing their skills and ideas and generally having fun independently and sustainably. Keep creating, make more friends, share and have fun!
Our members come from all different walks of life. Generally aged 17-35, so far we can see they come from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Ukraine, Australia and England. In this group, we’re using Indonesian language, because we’re prioritizing our local art workers. Generally we have about 15 request to join every day. There is a core group of about 200 active, daily contributors and a general daily viewer rate of about 800 members.
Online Activity Upload Drawings. We encourage members to upload their artwork that is either finished or still being worked on. This has been good at creating discussion between members and helped with sharing skills, information and generally helping to motivate everyone to keep creating consistently.
Art Trade/Art Exchange. The idea was to create a forum where members could exchange art, which helps promote mutual appreciation between members and encourages them to start to interact outside the virtual world. Members are trading their artworks in various forms, including original art, art- prints, postcards, or other merchandise they’ve made from their artwork.
Penahitam’s collectives in 28 cities so far have made their own drawing events, sometimes simply making regular free classes on basic structure of drawing and basic anatomy. Often the events also involve bands, art markets and collective exhibitions.
Future Events/Goal Penahitam Festival We are planning to make touring events between cities that have their own Penahitam collectives, combining artworks from established Penahitam members from all across Indonesia and the local members in the city. After the individual events are finished and the relationship between the individual collectives is strengthened, we want to make a large scaled event that would involve all the collective groups of each city and hold a 2 day long “Penahitam Festival”. A celebration of art for all! There would be booths for artists to display their works and on-the-spot workshops, so the audience would have the chance to communicate directly with the artists. Music and Art Performances featuring local artists, we would run an art market that also includes discussions on issues in art-worker related fields. Imagine a celebration of all the art forms, relying on the collective spirits of friends, regardless of their beliefs, tribes, race, and backgrounds.
Artist Representation We are currently looking into working with an international partner studio to help represent our art workers to an overseas client base; by running exhibitions internationally starting in Australia, we hope this will help raise money that we can put towards larger projects in the future as well as creating profitable links between our art workers and clients in other parts of the world.