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The online event came together quickly after the physical fair was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Art Jakarta Virtual Opens to VIPs

Angki Purbandono, Batman & the Noodles (2020). Scanography, print on acrylic, lightbox installation, 100x100cm. Courtesy the artist, Mizuma Gallery and Art Jakarta Virtual.

Art Jakarta will persevere with an event this year in defiance of the pandemic that has infected over 330,000 Indonesians and killed almost 12,000. True to its name, Art Jakarta Virtual will take place exclusively online.

Sponsored by smartphone maker Oppo, the event will go live for VIPs from 15–18 October before the digital fair opens to the public 19 October–15 December.

'We are using a simple digital technology that has been available for some time, but mostly used in digital and online games,' said fair director Tom Tandio. 'This technology gives us the opportunity to recreate our actual fair ground ambience in virtual form.'

Unusual for a digital fair, Art Jakarta Virtual will include a live chat feature for viewers to communicate directly with galleries during the event.

Thirty-eight galleries are participating, down from 70 in 2019. Among the international galleries taking part are Arario (Korea), Yavuz (Singapore), Gajah (Singapore) and Sullivan+Strumpf (Australia).

Building on the Art Jakarta Scene section launched last year, the fair will also emphasise communities, collectives and organisations in Indonesia. Works will be presented by a host of different art centres, projects, collectives and events: Ace House Collective, Atreyu Moniaga Project, Cemeti, Jakarta Biennale, Jatiwangi Art Factory, Sakato Art Community, Makassar Biennale, Milisifilem Collective, NalarRoepa Ruang Seni, Omnispace, Rakarsa, Ruang MES 56, RuangDalam Art House, RUX Container, Studio Dinding Luar, and Yayasan Biennale Jogja.

'We view ourselve as an integral part of Indonesia's art ecosystem,' said Tandio. 'So, we want to keep the spirit of "gotong royong", the spirit of collaboration that has been influential in shaping the character of Art Jakarta.'

Originally scheduled for August, Art Jakarta cancelled its 2020 edition in an announcement made on 8 May.

'Our exhibitors deserve the best possible economic environment to present the works of their artists,' said Tandio, artistic director Enin Supriyanto and fair consultant Dr Gil Schneider in a statement made at the time. 'Our stakeholders also expect a physical environment which is safe and does not constitute a health risk in any possible way.'

Art Jakarta will return to the Jakarta Convention Center 27–29 August, 2021. —[O]

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