Curated by Alia Swastika (Indonesia) and Suman Gopinath (India). Shadow Lines, the first edition of Biennale Equator suggests imaginary lines that draw people together and pull them apart; it also refers to geo-political borders and the creation of modern states in South Asia. There were 43 artists who participated in the event.
With its overarching theme of ‘religiosity, spirituality and belief’, the Biennale attempted to present ways in which artists from the two countries address and interpret their contemporary conditions, informed by their personal experiences and also by the political structures of the countries they live in.
India’s influence on Indonesian culture, particularly in Sumatra, Java, Bali and amongst several ethnic groups in the eastern archipelago, has contributed greatly to pluralism in Indonesia.
Although there are many similarities in Indian and Indonesian cultures, there are also many differences in the respective cultural contexts.
Throughout history, much of the interaction between these two countries has been through religion.
Several of the religions that are currently practiced by Indonesians were brought to the archipelago by Indian traders or religious practitioners.
With the establishment of religion as social institutions encompassing spiritual and cultural practices, varying interpretation of religious texts reflects role of religion in relationship to political power.
Both India and Indonesia are facing situations where religion is sometimes politicized to cause social conflicts and emphasize differences.
The art works in the exhibition underline a critical perspective towards religiosity and evoke hidden or unseen feelings and interpretations of the ways religiosity is perceived in our everyday lives.