[Photo Sparks] How creativity is an attitude – and an ecosystem

28th Nov 2015
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PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In this photo essay, we cover the amazing musical and artistic creativity on display at the festivals of jazz and street sculpture in Yogyakarta, Indonesia!

In the earlier 70 posts, we brought you a wide range of creative photographs from an art fair, world music festival, painting fair, telecom expo, art museum, mobile showcase, math museum, social hackathon, bookstore, co-working space, sensorium, international design week, flower show, outdoor ads, startup roadshow, computer museum, startup T-shirts, business cards, art therapy, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, Vesak, jazz festival, modern art gallery, ecopreneurs, painter-poets, health activists, eNGOs and digital innovators.

My travels this month took me to Jogja (Yogyakarta) in Indonesia for three amazing events: the Jogja Jazz Festival, Street Art Festival and Biennale! Jogja is regarded as a major creative hub in Indonesia, and much of that spirit was on display this week.

The Jazz Festival featured 35 bands across five stages in a village located one hour outside the city of Jogja – giving villagers entrepreneurial opportunities in catering, event management and merchandising of local handicrafts and batik. Artistes and audiences got a chance to experience rural life and connect with rural youth.

Sculptures at the Street Art Festival blended creativity and playfulness with messages of social and environmental awareness. And the Biennale raised provocative questions about individuals and identity in an era of globalisation and homogenisation.

Creativity is an attitude as well an ecosystem – so put on your creative hats and connect with the broader creative communities around and beyond yourself!

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Mt. Merapi (‘Mountain of Fire’), Indonesia’s most active volcano, erupts every 5-10 years, and dominates the skyline outside Jogja.

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The world’s largest Muslim country, Indonesia, also has an ancient Hindu and Buddhist foundation. Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple in Southeast Asia. Built over a thousand years ago, the temple complex has over 200 standing structures with spectacular sculptures depicting scenes from the Ramayana.

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The magnificent Borobudur temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument, regarded as one of the world’s Seven Ancient Wonders and a designated UNESCO Heritage Monument. It is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues.

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Times have changed, and art today reflects the realities of modern life as well. The Jogja Street Art Festival featured over two dozen sculptures, including this metal work which laments the loss of voice of the individual citizen in today’s chaotic turbulent world. Can this large horn make a cyclist’s voice heard above the din of a modern city?

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The Jogja Biennale reflected some of these concerns of loss of individuality in a globalised homogenised world. Look closely at the above photo – can you look into the diversity of eyes shown, and read their stories?

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One of the best-kept secrets of Indonesia is that it is the jazz capital of Asia, with the region’s largest jazz festival held every March in Jakarta – and a range of smaller festivals held across cities and even villages. Every Monday evening, community meetups like the one above in Jogja bring together established stars, emerging artists and eager fans for a night of free jazz.

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Meet Agus Setiawan and Ajie Wartono, co-founders of WartaJazz – which began as a jazz portal and then morphed into a full ecosystem enabler with a music label, festivals, community meetups and international artist-venue matchmaking services. “Jazz is an attitude and an ecosystem,” Agus and Ajie explain, capitalising on the improvisational and open nature of jazz to promote broader messages of creativity and collaboration across Indonesia.

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The Jogja Jazz Festival is now in its ninth year, and the theme this time was ‘Unity in Diversity.’

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The Festival was held in a village outside Jakarta, with very different rural backdrops as compared to the usual indoor concert halls, parks or smoke-filled bars.

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The Festival was truly a celebration, with cartoonists, clowns, jugglers and performers on stilts.

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The stages even included village homes converted into jazz arenas, giving villagers a chance to experience new kinds of entertainment and business opportunities.

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Musicians from across the country gathered to perform for the unique experience, connect with local audiences, give back to their communities and grow the overall ecosystem for music in Indonesia.

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Local cultural troupes and percussion bands consisting of youth and children also got a chance to take part in parades, and showcase their local culture to urban and international audiences.

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Meet Megan Donoghue, an American jazz singer who now performs fusion gigs with the Indonesian band Gemati.

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More mimes and artistes, making for lots of social media opportunities via selfies and circulated posts!

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A father and his three sons aged 13, 15 and 19....

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... are transformed into the band ‘Three Songs’ on stage, one of the hottest new acts in Indonesia’s jazz scene!

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No Indonesian festival would be complete without a performance of gamelan, a traditional ensemble made up of metallophones and kendang drums.

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Fusion 1: Creativity includes blending local with global influences, as shown in this band’s use of keyboards and traditional kendang drums.

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Fusion 2: Jazz need not be ‘ossified’ music from the US, but can be a vibrant medium of creativity – this time with bass guitar and local gongs.

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Meet the Ina Ladies, a sizzling all-female jazz band with a broad range of instruments, vocal styles and musical genres!

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Eye on the future: festival coverage in the digital age. Drones are emerging as a creative new way of covering music festivals, especially in outdoor venues. The photographs in this showcase have shown one perspective on the live acts and audiences – drones literally change the frame and perspective. Welcome to the Brave New Digital World... !

Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at PhotoSparks@YourStory.com!

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.

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