The ‘New Enemet’: Politics of Religion in Indonesia and The Impact on Contemporary Artistic Practies

Adelina Luft(1*)

(1) Universitas Gadjah Mada
(*) Corresponding Author


The present paper wishes to investigate the relation between the politics of religion and the consequent effects on the contemporary art practices in Indonesia during the last decade. By looking at two major cases:Christanto’s exhibition in 2002 and “Pinkswing Park” from 2005 CP Biennale, the article takes an incursion into the relations between religion and politics by looking at how and in what ways the Islamic extremist groups can influence and restrict freedom of expression in a democratic country. I argue that the Islamic fundamentalists are representing the new enemies in the current freedom of expression, after the previous eras which saw the presence of other enemies: the state and the military, affecting both the levels of nation policies, contemporary art world and the individual artistic practice.


religious fundamentalists, new enemy, contemporary art, censorship, Islam


Adeney-Risakotta, Bernard. “Power Religion and Terror in Indonesia” IIAS Newsletter, Research and Reports South-East Asia, #30, March 2003: 24. (Article) Acciaioli, Greg. “Culture as Art: from Practice to Spectacle in Indonesia”, in Canberra Anthropology, Vol. 8, issue 1-2, 1985: 148-172. (Article) Bruch, Katerina Valdivia.“Censorship in the Arts in Post Suharto Indonesia: from a Government Controlled Mechanism to a Public Surveillance of the Morals”, research as a result of a two months residency at LAF Yogyakarta, Indonesia, during December 2011 – February 2012. Published on, (accessed on November 2015, available at Cahyadi, Antonius.“When Religion becomes Legal Identity”, in ISA Global Dialogue, (accessed November 2015), available at Fanani, Ahmad Fuad. “Shari’a Bylaws in Indonesia and Their Implications for Religious Minorities” in Annual International Conference on Islamic Studies (AICIS XII), 2540-2552. (Article) Hefner, Robert W.“The Politics of Popular Art: Tayuban Dance and Culture Change in East Java”, in Indonesia, Vol. 43, 1987: 75-94. (Article) Hutabarat, FelenciaOktaria. “Civil Art Censorship: Reclamining the Public Space” in Agents of Change — The Role of Artists and Cultural Actors in Regions of Conflict and Crisis, published in, accessed at on 10 Feb, 2015 at (Article) Rodner, L. Victoria, Preece, Chloe. “Painting the Nation: Examining Intersection Between Politics and the Visual Art Market in Emerging Economies”, in Journal of Marketing, 2015: 1-21, downloaded from at UniversitasGadjahMada on October 9, 2015. (Article) Sugiharto, Bambang (ed.). Untukapaseni?, Bandung: Matahari, 2013. (Book) Online Jakarta Globe, “Indonesian Muslim Clerics in West Java Protest un-Islamic Bima Statue” posted on 10 August 2010, (accessed on November 2015), [available at] Time, “Indonesia’s Artists vs. Muslim Extremists”, posted on 7 July 2010, (accessed on November 2015), [available at,8599,2001698,00.html] Jakarta Post, “Sad, tragic demise of CP Biennale”, posted on October 23, 2005, 1:59pm, (accessed on November 2015, available at Chenery, Susan, “DadangChristanto’s Blood Relations” in The Saturday Paper, Nov 28, 2015. Accessed on 5 Feb, 2015 at


Article Metrics

Abstract views : 1126 | views : 1021


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Jurnal Kajian Seni

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

This journal is published by Performing Arts and Visual Arts Studies, Graduate School, Universitas Gadjah Mada.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

statistics View My Stats