When I first moved back to Jakarta after university in Bandung, I had been so out of touch with everything in Jakarta, that I immediately began to lament how awful living in this sprawling metropolitan was. It felt a little like Jakarta had absolutely everything you could ever possibly want, and nothing of note at the same time. Traffic didn’t help as it made everything seem like a million miles away, and I just never knew what to do with my free time.
But that was years and years and years ago, I’ve now come to love Jakarta, and I can navigate it better by knowing where to go for my specific needs. And unsurprisingly, Jakarta has galleries galore where I can escape for an hour or two to see something pretty, which for me has become a favourite weekend activity.
I love puns, so Dia.Lo.Gue was right up my alley even before I first set foot in the place; Dia.Lo.Gue can be translated as them.you.I – all you need for a conversation, or a dialogue! Ha! There’s always something going on there, from solo exhibitions to exhibitions that are paired with book launches and talks. Dia-Lo.Gue showcases a wide array of artists and designers, and they occasionally work with embassies to bring artists from abroad to Indonesia.
As we stupidly did not check what was going on at Dia.Lo.Gue at their very easily accessed, and continuously updated website and instagram, Tari and I missed the opening of a new show by one day. Which is a complete and crying shame as we did manage to get a few photos of the Goenawan Mohamad exhibition as they were putting it up, and it looked to be a fascinating one to see. Instead we collapsed onto comfy chairs and had coffee instead, as Dia.Lo.Gue is also home to an excellent cafe!
Home to Ruci Artspace which claims on its website that it ‘…aims to cultivate rising awareness in Indonesia’s ever evolving culture’, which basically means they work with local contemporary artists to exhibit a variety of things. Tari and I, again, stupidly missed out on Natia Jones’ Tough Romance, even though I had been meaning to go since it first started its run in Ruci. Thankfully my cousin, kak Puti did go to see it and kindly lent us her photos to illustrate the kind of things that are displayed in Ruci. Check out their instagram for updates on what’s going on in their gallery.
Ruci is also the home to the delicious Toko Kopi Tuku, or at least one of its shops anyway. Tuku is a favourite place of mine for really good coffee, at really reasonable prices! It’s a chill place in general, but it’s always so crowded, probably because it’s really popular with the younger crowd these days. If not for the constant flow of people there, it would be a great place to work outside of the office. As it is, it’s still perfect for after work drinks and relaxed weekend meet ups.
Suar Artspace is actually part of Erudio School of Art, who work in the field of art education. Suar itself is an area dedicated to showcase mini-exhibitions, which can also be used for workshops. The concept is pretty cool, and I’ve long followed their instagram. I have to admit that while I’ve been to Dia.Lo.Gue countless times, and I visit Ruci regularly for their coffee, it was the first time that I had visited Suar, and I didn’t know what to expect.
Tell Tale by Margaret Yap and Addy Debil was up, and the room had been transformed to showcase this one specific exhibition. While the space was limited, it did lend an air of intimacy with the work in question as I got to closely interact with everything. And since it had no traffic from adjoining coffee shops, the space allowed me to just be in the moment without distraction.
I feel like I should put out a disclaimer to say that the three places mentioned here, are by no means the only places in Jakarta, but like most things here, it all boils down to convenience. Dia.Lo.Gue, Ruci and Suar are located quite closely to each other, at least by Jakarta’s standards, and travelling between one to another shouldn’t take more than 40 minutes to an hour – and I live just outside of town, so when I come to Jakarta I like to keep my visits within one cluster of areas. How do you like to spend your weekends? Where do you like to go?