Press: The Jakarta Post

By J-Philippe

15 June 2006

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The Jakarta Post, June 15, 2006

Art school opens opportunity to fresh talent.

Rita A. Widiadana, The Jakarta Post, Gianyar

Johan Wahyudi was pre­vi­ously an eco­nomics stu­dent at a pres­ti­gious uni­ver­sity in Yogyakarta. His par­ents wanted him to take the helm of their lucra­tive busi­ness someday.
One day, he spent his school hol­i­days on Bali roaming every corner of the art vil­lage of Ubud. Johan was delighted to see young arti­sans pro­duce quality carving, painting, sculp­ture and a vast array of hand­i­craft items. The vil­lage atmo­sphere touched the very heart of this young stu­dent.

There was no denying the dilemma between wanting to be a smart busi­nessman with bright future or opting for a less "money-ori­ented" pro­fes­sion as an artist. Back home in Yogyakarta, Johan could no longer resist the urge to nur­ture his hidden flair for art.

"At first, my par­ents rejected my idea of leaving uni­ver­sity ’for the sake of art.’ But, finally they rec­og­nized that it was not a proper place for me," Johan said. His par­ents even helped him find suit­able art insti­tutes both in Yogyakarta and Bali.
Early this year, Johan entered the Sasana Hasta Karya art school in the middle of green rice fields in Gianyar regency, some 45 kilo­me­ters north­east of Bali’s provin­cial cap­ital, Denpasar. "I feel happy to be here with other stu­dents from across the country."

Johan, together with eight stu­dents from Bali, Kalimantan, Sumatra, Java and West Timor, is now enrolled at the school.

"We focus more on pro­viding stu­dents with prac­tical expe­ri­ence," explained French-born J-Philippe , head of the school, while working in his fur­ni­ture work­shop.
Developed by Catholic Priest Maurice Le Couture in l982, Sasana Hasta Karya was pre­vi­ously aimed at pro­viding class­rooms for tal­ented and needy young people wanting to learn more about carving.
The school was funded by and was under the aus­pices of the Denpasar dio­cese. "But, we accept stu­dents from all reli­gions, cul­tures and social back­grounds."

Jean-Philippe, a grad­uate of the pres­ti­gious art school Ecole Boulle in Paris, joined the school as a vol­un­teer 15 years ago. "I fell in love with the school and asked my orga­ni­za­tion (Paris-based National Service Volunteers) to extend my posting."

He is now chairman of the school. Together with four Indonesian teachers and another vol­un­teer, Nicolas Blocquaux, sent by a French Catholic asso­ci­a­tion, J-Philippe showed rare com­mit­ment to the edu­ca­tion of local art stu­dents.

"We charge stu­dents very low tuition fees. Some are sent by churches or other social orga­ni­za­tions," he said.

In the first year, each stu­dent has to pay Rp 50,000 (about US$5.50) in reg­is­tra­tion fees, plus Rp 75,000 for board and Rp 150,000 per month for school tuition.
In the second year, stu­dents have to choose a major pro­gram and pay Rp 250,000 for reg­is­tra­tion; Rp 75,000 for board and Rp 300,000 per month in school fees.

Rosyianus was sent by East Kalimantan Diocese.

"I want to learn more about carving and will start an art work­shop when I finish my studies here," Rosyianus said.

The school offers four types of pro­gram -painting, carving, fur­ni­ture and machinery. Each takes four years to com­plete.

The first year of the pro­gram is gen­eral tuition com­prising art theory and prac­tice, as well as a gen­eral school cur­riculum such as Indonesian and English lan­guage lessons, civic studies and reli­gion.

"There is a split of 30 per­cent on theory and 70 per­cent prac­tical training," J-Philippe com­mented.

The school is open to junior high school grad­u­ates.

"We accepted an ele­men­tary school dropout who was very skillful and tal­ented. We must be flex­ible enough to pick the right stu­dents for the school and we def­i­nitely need spon­sors to finance bright stu­dents like them."

Donations often come from churches in Europe or else­where. "They mostly provide funds to buy expen­sive machinery, elec­tric gen­er­a­tors and other nec­es­sary equip­ment needed by stu­dents."

With such low tuition fees, the school has to work hard to raise more money to finance its oper­ating costs. The school has opened a dis­play room exhibiting and selling the work of both stu­dents and teachers.

A dining set, stylish wooden chairs, masks, sculp­tures, wooden boxes and a lot of paint­ings can be seen.

"We receive many guests and dona­tions from abroad but only a few Indonesians know of our school," he said. Sales of the prod­ucts are badly needed to pay teachers’ salaries and to run the school prop­erly.

This month, the school is reg­is­tering new stu­dents. "We are here not only to impart art knowl­edge but more impor­tantly to shape their per­sonal atti­tudes, mental and phys­ical endurance, patience and per­sis­tence."

To do so, all stu­dents are required to stay at the school’s modest lodg­ings, living with friends from diverse back­grounds. In their spare time, they can grow veg­eta­bles, rice and raise cattle.

"The school aims to nur­ture tough, well-rounded artists rather than pro­duce ’instant’ ones," said Jean-Philippe.

  J-Philippe, Bali Archives Press review (arch.) Press: The Jakarta

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