The Netherlands / ROH
Mella Jaarsma (b. 1960, Emmeloord, The Netherlands) is an artist who has become known for her complex custom installations and her focus on forms of cultural and racial diversity embedded within clothing, the body, and food. She studied visual art at Minerva Academy in Groningen (1978-1984), after which she left the Netherlands to study at the Art Institute of Jakarta (1984) and at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta (1985-1986). She has lived and worked in Indonesia ever since. In 1988, she co-founded Cemeti Art House, now called Cemeti Institute for Art and Society together with Nindityo Adipurnomo, which to this day remains an important platform for young artists and art workers in the country and region.
Mella Jaarsma’s works have been presented widely in exhibitions and art events in Indonesia and around the globe. Selected solo exhibitions include Performing Artifacts: Objects in Question at ROH, Jakarta, Indonesia (2022); The Size of Rice at A+ Works of Art, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2021); Bolak Balik at Jendela Art Space, Esplanade, Singapore (2017); Potong Waktu at Nadi Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia (2014); Truth, Lies and Senses at Lawangwangi Creative Space, Bandung, Indonesia (2012); The Fitting Room at National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia and Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Bandung, Indonesia (2009). Selected group exhibitions include the 22nd Biennial Sesc_Videobrasil: Memory is an Editing Station, Sesc 24 de Maio, São Paulo, Brazil (2023); Visaraloka, part of the Indonesia Bertutur Festival at Museum H. Widayat, Magelang, Indonesia (2022); Indonesian Women Artists #3: Infusions into Contemporary Art (2022), National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia; Bayang at South South Veza with ROH (2021); Setouchi Triennale at Ibuki Island, Japan (2019); The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 2030-2100 at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia (2019); Contemporary Worlds: Indonesia at National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia (2019); Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now at Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung, Taiwan (2019) and National Art Center Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan (2017). Her work is part of the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia; National Gallery Singapore, Singapore; and Singapore Art Museum, Singapore amongst others.