top of page

IVAA(Indonesian Visual Art Archive)

Indonesian Visual Art Archive (IVAA) actively collects art archives through documentation and exploration and facilitates research through its online archive and physical space in Yogyakarta. It is a not for profit organization documenting the growth of alternative (art) practices in cities that may have otherwise been left unrecognised by the government.

IVAA positions itself as a partner for education institutions in an attempt to annotate practices of disseminating knowledge through art. IVAA is a non-profit organization evolving from Cemeti Art Foundation (1995-2007) following a new direction as a centre for documentation and art archive provision as well as library and research facilitator.

The IVAA Online Archive was built on a model that aims to comprehend relationships among art professionals and to deliver the history of Indonesian visual art through written, spoken and visual documentation. photographs, audiovisual records and printed documents documenting art practices dating from pre-independence until today. Some of the collection is accessible from Rumah IVAA library as well as online at @rsipIVAA


IVAA’s digital archive began from our first attempt to re-register every document that was produced as well as gathered by Cemeti Art Foundation since it was founded. We were facing shelves of vertical folders containing bits and pieces from art shows/exhibitions, photos of art works with their information at the back, correspondence, transcripts, newspaper clipping, and more. They were not massive but surely consumed a lot of space in the rented small house where we used to operate. We wanted to propose a new design for the services that comprise a circulation library and regular coverage on local art events. Our idea was to have a comprehensive list of things that can reflect the dynamics of Indonesian contemporary art. The list should be able to index arrays of information such as name of the artists/art workers, art space/venue, titles of exhibited works, titles of writings, etc. In order to achieve that, we designed a system to enable electronic storage of the digital objects as well as a relational database schema.

The whole process of designing, testing and finally publishing took about 3 years while we also try to expand the scope of topics to an earlier phase of visual art practice in Indonesia. With that in mind I think we envision research practices in Indonesian art scene can go beyond attempts to validate the value of artistic products but rather to affirm the practice of research itself, which in return will develop a stance towards a certain restlessness in trying to fixate a merely few 'formalized' version of Indonesian art history.

We hope that IVAA can continue and develop as a research center that works together with art and academic scene in Indonesia and abroad, not only promoting Indonesian art and culture, but to build more engagement with the society As IVAA work progresses and the archiving activities develop with the cultural archiving network program and the new growing art public evolves, IVAA then has been moving on and expanding its role towards a broader field of arts, which also significantly impacts the range of our stakeholder, users and network in the arts. We regard this as an important and valuable progress and delightfully anticipate how the role can be further developed in the future.

Taking the online and digital platform as its ground of archiving work, IVAA has also been very aware of the significance of Information and Communication Technology in contributing to its line of work. The latest developments of Media and ICT have proven to provide new means of communications, and new perspectives in developing, transform and reusing the practice and discourses of art and culture in the rapidly growing and highly mobile contemporary societies. As IVAA’s vision covers not only the development of visual art but also how the art scene in general can contribute to knowledge distribution, freedom of expression and social activism, the development of media and ICT has become one of the main contributing factor in our work, and will likely to continue to be that way into the future. In the context of the contemporary society, documentation and archiving (including the works of exploration and education that comes out of it) on the practice and discourses of art and culture fills in an important role, i.e. to develop them further in the vision of cultural and social investments of knowledge production for the future, and to balance the scenes which is currently still dominated by romanticism, elitism and fundamentalism.

Nevertheless, media and technology have also often been considered as one of the factors that encourage mainstreaming, censorship and the dumbing-down of the art discourse in the society threatened by increasing fundamentalism. We are aware of this issue and remain to be up-to-date as well as continue to evaluate how media and ICT performs in the society today and tomorrow. We also hope to further build and develop network and involving them into our work in several collaborations. The network involves various dimensions of the society that expands not only limited to the art circles, but also scholars from various disciplines, librarians, IT and digital media experts and communities, creative industry practitioners, government agencies and social-cultural activists.

The vision that we keep adhering to is to create an open access of knowledge with art as the medium of freedom of expression in the development of the society in this globalized, open-source information era, using the archive and resources in creative ways through digital platforms and community engagement methods and projects. ( 2015 by Selina Halim)


bottom of page