You and me and everyone we know

Category: Curatorial

I first met Soni a few years ago but not in person. I was introduced through his music. I was aware of Yogya’s vibrant music and art scene but had never heard or heard of Seek Six Sick. Once I put it on, though, I knew these guys were kindred spirits. The music had some roots in the New York noise scene of the 80s that I grew up on with debts to Sonic Youth and Glenn Branca but also some influences from across the pond with bands like Primal Scream. The amalgamation was trippy and challenging but also intoxicating and original. In other words, just what the music scene here was lacking.

Now I come face to face with his art for the first time. I’m embarrassed that I am not more familiar with his work, especially seeing how far back it goes. Dozens of shows over a decade. I’m not sure which came first, the guitar or the brush, but given that the same hand controls them both, the outcome was sure to disturb and intrigue at the same time. The comparisons to New York in the 80s are again tangible and also, in my opinion, a kind of outsider art feel in the raw and almost brutal honesty.

I don’t pretend to understand it but know that every look I’ve taken until now has revealed something different and something I hadn’t seen before. Art like music needs to be engaged over and over and if you don’t get bored, you know something inside you has been touched. That sensation to me is fascinating given that the artist himself is rather quiet and a man of few words. To see such power in his music and art leads me to believe there is a volcano or something else ready to explode inside. Call it therapy or his true vocation but expression this powerful is hard to ignore, regardless of where it comes from.

I am proud to help kick off this event and look forward to the future creative endeavors of Soni Irawan. They may haunt me in ways I have yet to discover but that in itself makes it worth waiting for. Congratulations Soni and I wish you and your hand a very long and productive life.

Jason Tejasukmana,

Indonesia Correspondent, TIME Magazine

Published: April 27, 2011

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