New art, old city
While you’re exploring the streets of Semarang’s Kota Lama, the colonial old city, shake it up a little by dropping into Semarang Contemporary Art Gallery for a dose of contemporary Indonesian talent.
Housed in a renovated historic building near Gereja Blenduk, the Gallery was established in 2001 but moved to its current location in 2008. The building dates from 1918, replacing an older structure. In 1933 it became the office for Indonesia’s first insurance company, De Indische Lloyd, and later use saw a number of guises including a motor dealership and syrup factory.
In 2007 local philanthropist and art collector, Chris Dharmawan embarked on a major reno, and moved his gallery here a year later. The main exhibition space covers two floors with a square central atrium. Exposed beams on the lower floor let you see the bones of the colonial structure, echoed with a square grid of beams above the opening on the second level. Large tapered pillars resemble those found in traditional Javanese Joglo houses. The stark white walls along with good natural and artificial lighting suitably showcase the artworks while a small courtyard garden displays sculptural works.
It’s interesting to compare early photographs of the building in its previous form as you wander the renovated space. Works from the permanent collection were exhibited when we visited, but changing exhibitions successfully promote young talented artists, so whatever’s on show when you drop by will be sure to offer an insight into Indonesia’s contemporary art scene.
Address: 5-6 Jalan Taman Srigunting, Semarang
T: (0243) 552 099;
Coordinates (for GPS): 110º25'41.43" E, 6º58'4.11" S
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Admission: 10,000 rupiah
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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