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Teeth of the Rice Plant (Taring Padi)

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Indonesian streetscape An overview of Indonesian art collective Taring Padi, who have been mixing art and politics in their street posters, painting, and illustration since 1998.

Words by Heidi Arbuckle

Art by Taring Padi collective. When Taring Padi first formed in December 1998, the collective could have been mistaken for the cultural wing of the defunct Indonesian Communist Party. At the time, Taring Padi went by the title Institute of People-Oriented Culture, and released a cultural manifesto that outlined a platform it dubbed `The Five Cultural Evils': a rap on anti-imperialism, anti-capitalism, anti-militarism, anti-feudalism and anti-elitism. Taring Padi was planned along the lines of a mock politburo and numerous other bureaus that tackled matters of pedagogy, dissemination, agitation, propaganda, ethical conduct, and housekeeping. They even appointed a Taring Padi `President', who was divested of any real power, and thus performed as a plesetan or parody of the long-standing Indonesian President Suharto who by popular demand had finally relinquished grip of his thirty-two year military reign in May 1998.


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