“Over the past few years, Jumaadi has come to view his art as ‘a vehicle to connect’ with other people. Indeed, the course of his career, when charted, takes the appearance of a spiral, as he moves in ever-widening circles to experiment with new art forms and exchange ideas with new people. Yet, seeking new ground never means abandoning older familial, social, and professional ties: ‘You can’t deny the community you have,’ he observes.
This accumulation of experience often generates difficulties and ‘creates more doubt.’ As such, Jumaadi’s evolution as an artist is not unilinear. The line he quotes from Sitok Srengenge’s poem ‘Mata Danau’ aptly describes the trajectory of his practice: ‘sampai tak sampai’—to ‘arrive and not arrive.’ One of his most recent works, The Bridge to Alengka, also provides a fitting metaphor for this artistic journey: not starting here and ending there, but circular, seemingly chaotic, and diverse in composition.
The following interview has been pieced together from exchanges that took place over the course of several weeks, through email, during visits to his studio, and on video chat. This was necessitated in part by his busy travel schedule; but the protracted and conversational nature of our interaction reflects the primacy of the social in his professional life. As he himself notes: ‘Art isn’t independent of personal connections.’”