Yayasan Biennale Yogyakarta

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The Biennale Jogja (BJ) is a biennial arts event in Yogyakarta that has been held in Yogyakarta consistently since 1988. BJ occupies an important position (perhaps even the most important position) in measuring the progress of art in Indonesia. The BJ is no longer managed by an ad hoc Committee formed each time the BJ is due to take place. With the enormous potential in Yogyakarta’s variety of art, a special body needed to be formed to handle the Biennale Jogja.

The Yogyakarta Biennale Foundation (YBY), founded on August 2010, is a social organisation with a vision to "realise the strengthening of the quality of visual art infrastructure, as part of developing Yogyakarta into a centre for education and culture, and a prominent tourist destination.” One of the YBY’s missions is to: “Initiate and facilitate various efforts to find strategic, arts and culture based, city planning concepts, perfecting the cultural blue print for the city's future as a fair and democratic living space for all.”

The Yogyakarta Biennale Foundation’s programs are:

  1. The Biennale Jogja
  2. The Equator Symposium
  3. The Curatorial Academy (in the planning process)


In 2010 YBY organised and launched the BJ project as a series of exhibitions, with a long term agenda that will continue until 2022. In the midst of the dynamics of an energetic global art realm – apparently inclusive and egalitarian - the heirachy between the center and the margins is still very real. Because of this, the need to intervene has become even more urgent. YBY imagines a united platform that is able to refute, interrupt or at least provoke the dominance of the centre, and raise alternatives through the diverse contemporary art practices and perspectives of Indonesia.

Initiated in 2011, YBY runs BJ as a series of exhibitions that depart from one larger theme, the EQUATOR. This series of biennales works in the region that falls between 23.27⁰ latitude north and 23.27⁰ latitude south. In each of its iterations the BJ will work with one or more nations or regions, a 'colleague', by inviting artists from nations in this region to collaborate, make work, exhibit and enter into dialogue with Indonesian artists, groups, and arts and cultural organisations in Yogyakarta.

This first journey around the planet began with a trip to the West to introduce Indonesia to India in 2011. In 2014 an encounter occurred between Indonesia and five nations in the Arab region: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen. In 2015 there will be a meeting between Indonesia and Nigeria. The meeting between Indonesia and the nations of Latin America will occur in 2017. In 2019 BJ will bring together a special area, the Pacific, so the meeting between Nusantara and the Pacific will be called the Ocean Biennale. And in 2019 the Biennale Jogja will return to Southeast Asia.

This ten year journey will close with the Equator Conference in 2022.


The concept of the ‘Equator' is not only an imagining of a kind of frame that encompasses similarity, but also as a departure point for embodying the diversity of cultures in contemporary global society. ‘Khatulistiwa’ is a joint vehicle for ‘re-reading' the world.

These encounters through art activity in the BJ Equator will be presented through the spirit of building a sustainable network, then dialogue, collaboration, and partnerships that can generate new collaborations, wider and more continuous, amongst practitioners in the Equatorial region. Thus the BJ can contribute to the topography of the global art world as it is being newly reformulated.

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