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JOG and ruangrupa

Dhaka Art Summit 2020

Jog Art Space is based in Chattogram, in south eastern Bangladesh. Unlike Dhaka, Chattogram has no commercial galleries and no network of contemporary art collectors, leaving artists to find alternative ways to sustain themselves. Jog Art Space provides the local visual arts community with mentoring support, exhibition opportunities, platforms for exchange and discussion, and access to international artistic exchange programmes. Some members of the group are teachers at the Institute of Fine Arts and see themselves as a bridge to experimental ways of working outside the confines of the academy, thus the name Jog, which translates as ‘connect.’ They advocate taking art out of the gallery, and into public spaces, which they refer to as ‘the emancipation of art.’

Since its establishment in Jakarta in 2000, ruangrupa has founded a video art festival, an online newspaper, music festivals, a library, a radio station, and an art school, among numerous other projects. ruangrupa also create installation works and other devices to investigate how the population of a city of more than 10 million people and lacking in infrastructure can appropriate the public space. ’Ruang‘ means ’space‘ in Sanskrit and Bahasa Indonesia, and ‘rupa’ means ’visual form‘. The collective includes artists, curators, architects, and writers, varying in number from 6 to 50 according to the project.

Through programmes and interventions in urban space, ruangrupa exposes how knowledge is produced and shared through informal social situations — in line with their motto ‘Don’t make art, make friends’.

Gerobak Cinema is a mobile rickshaw screening station created through a collaboration between Jog and ruangrupa, producing screening sessions in several spots around the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy on 14 February, taking the energy from inside the venue out into the streets of Dhaka. The equipment was collaboratively designed by artists, designers, IT technicians and created by the community according to local aesthetics to screen their own videos or selected Bangladeshi films.

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