Why are residency programmes important components of an artists’ career?
My first Residency was in Bandung at Transit #3 residency in Selasar Sunaryo Art Space. My second Residency was at Luzhunan Historical House in Luzhunan, Miaoli, Taiwan. Residencies are very important for an artist, as a place to learn about yourself and to explore other cultures, to find out what life is like in the residency space and how this can help you and your work grow. It also opens up the possibility to make new friends, make new connections and develop your career step by step. I started working with Orbital Dago for example because the dealer Michael Janssen saw my work in Transit #3 at Selasar Sunaryo Art Space Bangung in 2015; ultimately leading to the residency I am doing now at Warehouse421 with Art Dubai.
What are your initial impressions of the arts scene in the UAE?
Before I came here, I knew what I wanted to see was the daily life, to see the city, its character and culture. I have learnt a lot about Abu Dhabi. Before coming here I imagined a noisy city, with high buildings and parties all the time. When I arrived the high buildings were there but the noise was not, I feel it to be a silent place.
I tend to use symbols in my work, sometimes old sometimes new…road lights, traffic lights, these symbols take on new meanings in new places and you can find them in my paintings. In that same way the silence of the city can now be seen in the work I am making here. Originally I was inspired by the book Tegak Lurus Dengan Langit by Indonesian writer Iwan Simatupang. I have taken the first half of that title Tegak Lurus meaning ‘standing straight to the sky’ and combined it with Dengan Sunyi meaning ‘with silence’. Thus to me the city of Abu Dhabi has become Tegak Lurus Dengan Sunyi – standing straight to the sky with silence-emphasising the high rise buildings and mysterious quiet of the place.
What would you like visitors to understand about your work?
I would like people to have the freedom to feel what they want when seeing my paintings. My opinion is very different to what their experience may be. When you look at a landscape there are many layers, sounds, outside factors that add to how you see it. Some people will concentrate just on a building; others will project what they are feeling onto what they are looking at. The works that I create give as much space as possible for the public to enter and appreciate them, the opportunity is there to either understand or not, to like the work or not. The experience needs to be one of freedom and liberation, where nothing is predicted.
Iabadiou Piko is exhibiting with Orbital Dago, Bandung, Art Dubai Residents, R1.