14 February - 15 Maret 2020
Written by Fery Oktanio
What would art mean,
If it is detached from the suffering of the surrounding.
What would thinking mean,
If it is detached from the ma_er of life.”
- W.S. Rendra, Sajak Sebatang Lisong (19 August 1977)
In a scene from Yang Muda Yang Bercinta(1977), a movie directed by Sumanjaya and is starred by W.S. Rendra himself, the poem above was read out in front of students of Institut Teknologi Bandung –two days after thecelebrationcommemorating the Independence Day of Indonesia. It was a precarious situation: the political situation was chaotic, the economic situation wasdeteriorating, and the people were affected by such circumstances. As we all know, W.S. Rendra used Sajak Sebatas Lisong as a mean to encourage fellow artists to voice out the issues which surround them, and also as a reminder that they should not be afraid of the oppression from the regime which they criticize through their works of art.
We would not be able to separate human life from a circle of events, challenges, obstacles, opportunities, and also experience. Some of us might have certainly been through a difficult period or are even still undergoing such a painful phase of life, which makes life itself
feels like an endless drama. Even worse, at the moment when we are being very ungrateful toward everything; in such moment life feels like a severe punishment that we have to bearwith. Challenges and problems are not only experienced individually, for living as a citizen also has its endless ups and downs no matter how many times solutions have been made collectively.
We who live in this era, for instance, got impacted by recent political upheaval caused by the 2019 general election contestation. One faction defined themselves as the truest and the better one, while the opposing faction considered themselves as the most perfect choice. As a result, the supporters of each faction were then displaying such a fanatical tendency in giving out their support, and both would do almost anything to bring down the another. One thing to remember clearly is how the political upheaval was heavily provoked by excessive amounts of false news, addressed by one party to another –back and forth. The situation confused the common people in their effort to respond to such event (including the agents who are expected to critically voiced out their stances toward various societal issues, such as the artists and the students), and for a serious while the tendency of each faction's fanatical supporters has driven our country in the edge of a rupture. What should be underlined, ironically, is how both opposing parties seems to forget that they are actually carrying out the same goal: to have the best leader to guide this country forward.