Bangkit/Arise San Francisco: Gotong Royong!

First, as a introduction or reminder to those who might not be familiar with Bangkit/Arise, here is a brief summary:

Bangkit/Arise is an international arts exchange and residency between artists from the San Francisco/Bay Area, USA and Yogyakarta Indonesia. The lead sponsoring organization for Bangkit/Arise is Clarion Alley Mural Project, based in San Francisco in collaboration with the Asian Art Museum Chong Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture. The projects partners in Yogyakarta Indonesia are Desa Panggungharjo and the Institut Seni Indonesia, Yogyakarta.

In July/August 2018 five of the artists from the SF/Bay Area – Kelly Ording, Jet Martinez, Jose Guerra, Christopher Statton and Megan Wilson arrived in Yogyakarta to spend 5 – 7 weeks as part of the residency exchange. Unfortunately because of greater geopolitical circumstances, two of the Bay Area artists – Shaghayegh Cyrous and Keyvan Shovir were unable travel and to be a part of the first phase of the exchange; however, they are still very much a part of the exchange and will be traveling to Yogyakarta as soon as it is possible.

On September 3rd six of the Yogyakarta artists – Nano Warsono, Bambang Toko, Ucup, Wedhar Riyadi, Vina Puspita and Harind Ndarvati arrived in San Francisco to spend 8 weeks in the Bay Area getting to work with our communities here. Sadly, one of the Indonesian artists – Codit – was unable to be a part of the current residency in San Francisco due to greater geopolitics; however, he too is still part of the exchange and will travel to San Francisco when possible.


Bangkit/Arise is designed to foster discussions, understanding, and action on critical social/political issues facing our global and local communities today using art as a point of departure. Subjects being addressed include:

  1. Community development and the role of art in supporting Civic Design through:
  • Creating a culture of creativity;
  • Placemaking;
  • Community building and networking;
  • The engagement of residents and visitors/tourists; and
  • Economic growth and livelihood – the creative economy;
  1. The role of the public commons;
  2. Environmentalism and the critical need for a call to action;
  3. Current geopolitical divisions, xenophobia and how we envision a world rooted in social justice, equity, and collaboration;
  4. The need for radical inclusion and understanding differences and similarities as a means of strength and the goal of collectively dismantling local and global inequities/oppression.
Bangkit/Arise dinner celebration: foreground: Vina Puspita; back row: Armon Kasmai, Allison Wyckoff, Shaghayegh Cyrous, Nano Warsono, Jet Martinez, Kelly Ording, Ivy McClelland, Ucup, Bambang Toko; front row: Keyvan Shovir, Christopher Statton, Megan Wilson, Harind Arvati, Wedhar Riyadi


Gotong Royong! translates to Mutual Cooperation! from Bahasa Indonesia. For Indonesian scholar M. Nasroen (1907-1968) gotong royong, among other philosophical beliefs, is unique to Indonesian philosophy (Falsafah Indonesia pp.14, 24, 25, 33, and 38). During the presidency of Sukarno, the idea of gotong royong was officially elevated to a central tenet of Indonesian life. For Sukarno, the new nation was to be synonymous with gotong royong. He said that the Pancasila could be reduced to the idea of gotong royong. On June 1, 1945, Sukarno said of the Pancasila (the official, foundational philosophical theory of the Indonesian state):

The first two principles, nationalism and internationalism, can be pressed to one, which I used to call ‘socionationalism.’ Similarly with democracy ‘which is not the democracy of the West’ together with social justice for all can be pressed down to one, and called socio democracy. Finally – belief in God. ‘And so what originally was five has become three: socio nationalism, socio democracy, and belief in God.’ ‘If I press down five to get three, and three to get one, then I have a genuine Indonesian term – GOTONG ROYONG [mutual co-operation]. The state of Indonesia which we are to establish should be a state of mutual co-operation. How fine that is ! A Gotong Royong state! (“BUNG KARNO: 6 JUNE – 21 JUNE”. Antenna. Retrieved 25 March 2013.)

In the arts in Indonesia the concept of working together is more nuanced, as noted by Katie Bruhn, PhD candidate at the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, the University of California, Berkeley in her paper “Community and the Rantau: West Sumatran Artists in Indonesia’s Art World”:

Since the late-colonial era, communal support has acted as a significant driving force of artistic production. Terms such as sanggar, komunitas, kelompok, kolektif and ruang alternatif have been used to describe different forms or structures of association, all expressing an ideal of bersama-sama or togetherness. Although such terms suggest a certain idealism, like the desire to work together to advance a particular platform, this has not always been the function of such modes of organisation. Instead, beginning with the history of the sanggar or artist associations that emerged in the 1930s, Indonesian artist communities have acted more often than not as support structures for the expression of artistic autonomy.

However, it was the phrase Gotong Royong (along with Semangat! – fierce spirit)  that was employed frequently during Bangkit/Arise. Initially it was used to express to the Bay Area artists what it sounded like the conceptual framework of the project is from the Indonesian perspective, later to describe the realization of that vision, especially as the project from its start was rooted in the arts as a vehicle for social/political engagement and supporting social justice. As noted above, Gotong Royong is inherent to Indonesian culture, Indonesia is a ‘Gotong Royong state’. Yet, to many westerners, who have been raised with a strong sense of ‘the individual’, the manifestation of gotong royong can seem like magic, which is exactly how I describe it when trying to convey to westerners what it’s like to work with community projects in Indonesia. The example that I often give is this: ‘Imagine that it’s an hour before an event is about to open and it appears that nothing has been done and all you can think is ‘there’s no way that this is going to happen.’ Fifteen minutes later a huge group of folks show up on motorbikes – many of whom you’ve been working with and many of whom you are just meeting for the first time and are part of the greater community there for support. Like clockwork, everyone swoops in and knows exactly what their role is and how to to do it and like magic, everything comes together pretty much beautifully and seamlessly.’ Now having spent significant amounts of time in Yogyakarta, I have come to trust gotong royong, which often throws others off who are just being introduced to the culture.

Likewise, American culture and its cult of individualism can seem strange, and at times disconcerting to those who have grown up in a state of gotong royong, as well as primarily only knowing the United States through movies and music. For Bangkit/Arise organizer and artist Nano Warsono it was his second time visiting San Francisco and third time visiting California, so he had some idea what to expect. It was also Harind Arvati’s second visit to California (she was part of a project with UCLA in 2013 as a student that Nano was also with as a professor at ISI). And while the Bay Area artists and organizers described San Francisco 2018 to the Yogya artists – the highlights and the challenges – it was still shocking for all of them, including Nano to witness just how extreme the poverty has become and the shocking numbers of people experiencing homelessness against the backdrop of a city that is oozing in excess, entitlement, and what appears to be a lack of civic engagement.

There were a number of striking differences that I believe reflect the vastly different practices and approaches to the cultures of each city: One that has been rooted in the philosophy of collective solidarity and has numerous family, community, and governmental structures set-up to ensure that the overall community is supported; and another that is about ensuring that those who have power and money are the city government’s priority, offering tax-breaks and incentives to corporations and high earners, while punishing those who are not so privileged with fines just for existing, leaving their care in large part, to be supported by the non-governmental organizations that are themselves struggling.

In Yogyakarta our relationship with the municipal district of Desa Panggungharo and the Institut Seni Indonesia (ISI) was at the heart of the international exchange and residencyIt was through the lura (mayor) of Panggunharjo, Pak Wahyudi Anggoro Hadi that Bangkit/Arise connected to the communities and sites that we ultimately worked with, including Diff-Com (the differently-abled and friends community) of Kampung Dolanan (neighborhood of Dolanan), CV Berjaya, and several factories. Additionally, the national art institute of Indonesia ISI was Bangkit/Arise’s other primary partner, which is also within Desa Panggungharjo. Pak Hadi attended and spoke at all Bangkit/Arise events and performances, as well as hosting the Bay Area artists for tea and snacks that allowed for a question and answer session about his district and its values so that the artists could get a better understanding of the priorities of the communities in Panggungharo. Additionally, Pak Hadi participated in the Tumpeng Nasi Kuning ceremony to honor the beginning of the project. He and members of ISI’s administration and faculty attended the final dinner with the Bay Area artists to express their gratitude and say farewell before we departed back to the States. Pak Hadi’s family also attended these events, which was a perfect fit with Bangkit/Arise as the project is the first international exchange and residency out of the Bay Area designed to support families. Finally, and in some ways most significantly, Bangkit/Arise was able to secure visas for Shaghayegh Cyrous and Keyvan Shovir through the office of the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, which came through CAMP’s fiscal sponsor Independent Arts & Media’s president Lisa Burger and her position as a Board member with Artists United.

In San Francisco, while our District Supervisor’s office initially responded enthusiastically to Bangkit/Arise by offering to host a lunch at City Hall for the visiting artists from Yogyakarta, in the end they were unable to follow-through. However, while the civic support was disappointing, Bangkit/Arise was met with great reception from our community partners in San Francisco. These have included: the Asian Art Museum, Bangkit/Arise’s institutional partner in collaboration with CAMP, in addition to the Arab Resource Organizing Center (AROC), the South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN), the Coalition On Homelessness, (COH), and the Poster Syndicate. THANK YOU!




Murals L->R: Ucup (partial), Harind Arvati, Bambang Toko; Front: Nano Warsono, Megan Wilson, Harind Arvati, Allison Wyckoff, Ucup, Vina Puspita, Wedhar Riyadi, Bambang Toko


The Asian Art Museum is CAMP’s institutional partner for Bangkit/Arise, providing support and presenting the large multi-panel wall of murals as part of the Village Artists’ Corner at the Museum. The Village Artist Corner features rotating murals and monthly programs at the dragon sculpture on the corner of Fulton and Larkin Streets adjacent to the Asian Art Museum. The program was developed as part of Groundplay, a City collaboration co-led by the Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, San Francisco Planning, and the San Francisco Arts Commission.


Murals: Nano Warsono, Wedhar Riyadi, Vina Puspita; Center: Nano Warsono

Designed by San Francisco public high school students in the Architecture Program at Youth Art Exchange, the sculpture is inspired by mythological creatures found in the art and literature of many different cultures and time periods. Our dragon is decorated with a myriad of patterns found on artwork in the Asian Art Museum’s collection. Over the next two years, the intended life of the project, the sculpture and area around it will be programmed with monthly activities and new mural openings. Monthly activities take place on the first Sunday and the second Wednesday of each month.


Hosted by Asian Art Museum

“Flower Interruption” by Megan Wilson (with Christopher Statton), Asian Art Museum / Civic Center Commons, San Francisco, 2017

On Friday, Oct. 5, San Francisco artists Megan Wilson, Christopher Statton, Celi Tamayo-Lee, Mary Claire Amable and Jason Wyman were joined in conversation with Fay Darmawi, executive producer of the SF Urban Film Festival, about what they learned while working at the Village Artist Corner in 2017. Wilson and Statton shared their experiences of painting directly on the sidewalk in the Civic Center for almost 5 months, speaking with residents, visitors, and area employees while installing Wilson’s Flower Interruption and the broadside poster of recommendations for the Civic Center Commons based on this experience that Wilson drafted, designed and delivered to the projects stakeholders with Statton in May 2018. Tamayo-Lee, Amable and Wyman shared stories from their installation called #StickyQuestions, which invited residents and visitors to answer deeply personal questions in public.

Following the conversation, visiting Indonesian artists Nano Warsono, Bambang Toko, Ucup, Wedhar Riyadi, Vina Puspita, and Harind Arvati shared what they had observed and learned through their experiences (at that time) painting and engaging with the community at the Village Artists’ Corner. They were the current Village Artist Corner artists and part of a cultural exchange between Clarion Alley Mural Project, the Asian Art Museum and Indonesian artists. The artists compared their experience as public artists in Yogyakarta to their time at the Village Artist Corner.

The corner of Fulton and Larkin streets are alive with public art and civic life thanks to a sustained effort by the Asian Art Museum working in collaboration with the Civic Center Commons Initiative on the Village Artist Corner. For over a year, the museum has brought in a rotation of San Francisco artists to create site-specific work on “The Dragon” and activate the surrounding area through public programming on the first Sunday and second Wednesday of each month. The Village Artist Corner is used by Tenderloin / SOMA / San Francisco residents, people who have to call the streets home, tourists, professionals, artists and youth; it’s a microcosm of our larger city. The ways that artists use and activate that space offers insights into how public art can revive civic life.



Artist Nano Warsono painting during the Commons Block Party, October 7, 2018



October 8, 2018


The International Indian Treaty Council presented the Annual Indigenous Peoples’ Sunrise Gathering commemorating 526 years of Indigenous resistance, honoring ancestors and future generations. The Indigenous Peoples’ Day Sunrise Gathering took place this year on October 8th, San Francisco’s 1st recognized Indigenous Peoples’ Day, instead of Columbus Day in San Francisco.

Later that day …           



Bangkit/Arise artists Kelly Ording and Jet Martinez were both asked by Facebook to create mural installations for the corporation in 2015. Both Ording and Martinez deleted their Facebook accounts in 2017. However, through their connections, Bangkit/Arise was able to get a private tour of the Facebook Artists-In-Residence program by Jessica Shaefer, Global Art Program Manager.

Throughout the tour Shaefer highlighted Facebook’s support of people of color and issues of poverty through their messaging. It was challenging to say the least to stomach this spin after having spent the morning at the Sunrise Gathering for Indigenous Peoples and while walking through tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of square feet of cafes, restaurants, romper rooms for adults, dry cleaning/laundry services and learning from others how they actually treat their employees. Recommended reading:  Facebook removed post by ex-manager who said site ‘failed’ black people

There is also a great paper by Fred Turner, Chair of the Department of Communication at Stanford University – The arts at Facebook: An aesthetic infrastructure for surveillance capitalism – here is an excerpt:
The art programs inside Facebook provide an aesthetic infrastructure with which to encourage and legitimate that process. That infrastructure works in two ways, one organizational and the other, semiotic. As units within the firm, the Analog Research Laboratory and the Artist-in-Residence program solicit bottom-up collaborations from Facebook’s workers. These solicitations mirror the ways that Facebook’s online interface requests and celebrates contributions from users. The posters and murals these units produce encourage Facebook’s workers to imagine themselves not as architects of a global surveillance apparatus, but as creative technical artists and perhaps even builders of a new, individual-centered expressive democracy. When the Analog Research Lab posts images of activists such as Dolores Huerta, it is hardly urging Facebook’s engineers to unionize. On the contrary, it is asking them to imagine a polity in which individual character and ethnic diversity – as opposed to electoral process and institutional bureaucracy – will be the foundations of a good society. This new society will be one of constant conversation; its highways and towers will be Facebook’s own often invisible algorithms and layers of code; its civic foundations will be laid and maintained by a globe-spanning, for-profit corporation. And in this new society, Facebook’s engineers will use the company’s technologies to become citizens and shapers of a public they see represented on the walls around them.




In Between is a collaborative video and sound installation by two artists, Iranian-Japanese-American Cyrus Yoshi Tabar and Iranian-American Sholeh Asgary. The installation explores their desire for answers, communication, and connection amid the void of familial histories and relationships that they contend with as first and second-generation immigrants, and what this means for their identities as individuals. Curated by Bangkit/Arise artist Shaghayegh Cyrous and hosted by The Growlery in San Francisco.




L->R: Sam Companatico, Harind Arvati, Nano Warsono, Christopher Statton, Vina Puspita

On October 13th Bangkit/Arise participated in the celebration for the unveiling of the newest mural in Balmy, Women of the Resistance mural and printed with the Poster Syndicate. The event was also a community block party to come together for neighbors to showcase their own art, display projects, sell belongings, and open up garages to the public. There was a blessing by local Jorge Molina, ceremony by Aztec dancers, music by local djs and bands and lots of comida!


Al Juthoor of the Arab Shatat performing the traditional dance, dabke

On Sunday, October 14th our communities celebrated three new murals by Art ForcesAROC (Arab Resource Organizing Center), and CAMP’s international exchange/residency with Yogyakarta Indonesia Bangkit/Arise on Clarion Alley:

1. The Will to Live – Arab Liberation Mural

The Will To Live celebrates tenacious Bay Area organizing against oppression. The mural features the portraits of five courageous Arab leaders who spent their lives speaking truth to power: Rasmea Odeh, Mehdi Ben Barka, Naji Daifullah, Leila Khaled, Basel Al Araj and Yasser Murtaja. Organized by Art Forces, Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), Arab Youth Organizing (AYO!) with Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP), Priya Handa, Chris Ghazala, Nidal El Khairy, Margaret Marie, Fred Alvarado.


2. Bangkit Palestina! (Arise Palestine!)

As part of Bangkit/Arise, an international arts exchange and residency between artists from the San Francisco/Bay Area and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The participating Indonesian artists and two of the SF/Bay Area artists completed a memorial mural in honor of the 166 (to date) Palestinians killed by the State of Israel since The Great March of Return protests began on March 30, 2018 in the Gaza Strip. Bangkit/Arise stands in solidarity with Palestinians for peace, justice, and the right of return and claim to their land.

“Bangkit Palestina!” by Nano Warsono, Bambang Toko, Ucup, Wedhar Riyadi, Vina Puspita, and Harind Arvati as part of the international exchange/residency “Bangkit/Arise” and in collaboration with AROC

3. End Apartheid B.D.S.

Bangkit/Arise artist and CAMP co-director Megan Wilson replaced her recent mural on Clarion Alley with one also in solidarity with this effort as part of Bangkit/Arise – entitled: End Apartheid B.D.S.

“End Apartheid B.D.S.” by Megan Wilson

The event was a beautiful expression of our communities coming together to celebrate and share our creativity, victories, and words of power in support of our work for justice and peace throughout the world.

The event was emceed by Sharif Zakout of AROC (Arab Resource Organizing Center) and Nadya Tannous from PYM (Palestinian Youth Movement). Spoken word performances were given by: Genny Lim, Voulette Mansour Hattar (winner of the Ghassan Kanafani Scholarship), and Sharif Zakout. Speakers included: Lara Kiswani, Executive Director of AROC; Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi, professor of Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas/Race and Resistance Studies, College of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University; Chris Gazaleh, artist, and Zeiad Abbas Shamrouch, Executive Director Middle East Children’s Alliance. In addition, Al Juthoor of the Arab Shatat performed the traditional dance, dabke, representing the indigenous of Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and portions of Jordan and Iraq.

Bangkit/Arise Palestina! Posters

In addition Bangkit/Arise artists Megan Wilson and Christopher Statton and Nano Warsono made silkscreen posters to give away at the event.

“Bangkit/Arise Palestine! End Apartheid Boycott Divest Sanction” by Megan Wilson


“Bangkit Palestina! Palestine Arise!” by Nano Warsono and Christopher Statton

Clarion Alley – International Solidarity with Palestine -San Francisco – Bay Area

It was unfortunate that leading up to the event CAMP had four Zionist hate crime vandalism attacks on all of the murals in support of Palestine, including the night before the event, and one MAGA (Make America Great Again) attack two nights before the event. Thankfully, our communities rallied together and ensured that all of the murals were repaired before the event on the 14th – THANK YOU!!!

You can read more about the Zionist Attacks HERE.

The event was covered by Jonathan Curiel in the SF Weekly.



L->R: Bambang, Wedhar, Vina, Ngoc, Harind, Lian, Nano, and Ucup