It is at Mitra Hadiprana Art Center where students are able to explore their realm into healing, creativity and self expression. Aulia R. Sungkar takes a look.
While holding a painting brush, the eleven-year-old Jonathan smiles, showing his drawing of arawanas. “This fresh water bony fish is swimming along the yellow bottom of sea. Do you see the black and light-red wavering thick lines? That’s the ocean.”
By definition, colour is visual perception that enables someone to differentiate objects. In reality, the colour of sea is blue as yellow for the sun. Nevertheless, this does not apply in art.
“Art is not logic, but more into being escapism. It’s customary diversion of the mind to imaginative activity or entertainment as an escape from reality or routine. Unlike Math that relies on logical answers such as one plus one is equal to two; art is the other way around. It can be two, eleven or hundreds,” explains Puri Hadiprana, who has run the Hadiprana Art Center at Kemang since 1998.
In nurturing at best, teachers at Hadiprana Art Center let the students explore their own imagination while drawing it onto the papers or canvas. They do most of their work independently in the class. “However, they have to consult with the teacher. As a teacher, I have to know how they will relate their imaginative and creative thinking into making characters on their artwork theme; from idea to drawing the sketch. As well, they need to discuss other related matters such as materials and textures,” Indyra, one of the teachers, explains.
Started with only a handful of students in June 1998, Mitra Hadiprana Art Center at Kemang now has more than 300 students aged four to adult, with children making up a great percentage. The center offers classes on a weekly basis. “And with the small number of students per class, the teacher can be attentive to each student’s needs,” says Rizka Pranoto, the mother of Letizia, 14, Levania, 11, and Lemuel, nine; of whom have long been taking the class at Mitra Hadiprana Art Center.
Not only do the students of SPH Lippo Cikarang enjoy their class at Mitra Hadiprana, but their mother Rizka doesn’t mind having a weekly commute taking her three children all the way from Cikarang, Bekasi to Kemang. “My great satisfaction with the center’s concept learning and how the professional teachers instill a beauty of art to children are worth more than being caught in the traffic,” Rizka asserts.
Besides the center’s outstanding curriculum, the environment is also what made the students as well as parents feel at ease. It’s a truly convenient one-stop owing to the gallery’s strategic site.
Given the Mitra Hadiprana Gallery’s large space, taken up from ground to the fourth floor, the space – in addition to Mitra Hadiprana Art Center – has businesses very much in line with the building’s concept in the adjoining gallery, art supply and handicraft stores, boutique, haircut salon, dental care center, restaurant, coffee shop, bank, etc. The tenants are called ‘mitra’ (partners). That’s where the name Mitra Hadiprana roots, though the artistic nature of this historic edifice remains.
“All the facilities and amenities in such a comfy space create a distinctively friendly ambience that fits best for the needs of children and parents,” says Regina Hartati, whose 14-year-old daughter, Rubina Melati, has been taking the art lesson at Mitra Hadiprana Art Center since the age of five.
“The unique artistic sense and style the center has to offer really supports youngsters an amicably relaxed learning atmosphere that is potential to unearth their creativity,” Lidwina Faizal remarks.
Meanwhile, her eight-year old daughter, Marie Meideline, is in the class painting landscape of a courtyard. Asked where the courtyard is originally situated, the student of Highscope replies, “Nowhere. It’s my self-expression of picturing a beautiful courtyard that is coming from my artistic imagination.” The same goes to Rubina Melati, who prefers to be called Melati. The student of Mentari Junior High is seen to express herself painting a human figure on a canvas. While putting the finishing touches on her painting, she says, “I love to paint as it is a stress-relief after all the school’s assignments.”
The success story of the center stretches back to 1958 when Puri’s father, Hendra Hadiprana, returned to Jakarta after graduating from Akademie Minverva Afdeling Architectuur in Groningan, the Netherlands. The renowned Indonesia’s architect and interior designer Hendra was surprised when comparing the then Jakarta’s impoverished condition with beautiful image of landscapes by Indonesian painters. This really made Hendra appreciate more fine arts, leading to the opening of Prasta Pandawa Art Gallery, located on Jalan Paletehan, Kebayoran Baru, of which the name was changed to Hadiprana Gallery in 1970 before eventually moved to Kemang, Puri narrates.
Her father is an art collector and hundreds of events have thus far been held at the gallery. The beauty of art inspired Puri to open Mitra Hadiprana Art Center during the country’s monetary crisis. “The hardship we all faced back in the late 90s psychologically affected many Indonesian children where art has taken a great role as remedy.”
Through the work of arts, creativity can be a powerful tool to self-expression, Puri explains. “Everybody is different. Children’s attitude and character will therefore reflect their ability in art.”
As it is the need of every human being to have an insight balance of emotions, Puri likewise acknowledges, “Notwithstanding the fact that you use your right brain to visualize images in your mind, your left brain helps to finalize the result. It is essential, therefore, that we use the both to have the balance of our emotional and creativity aptness.”
Utilizing both brains towards self-expression and creativity, Puri has witnessed many children who at first did not show any talent, achieved an excellent outcome close to those talented children.
Published in Tatler Bambini, special edition, January 2009.
Photos by Tony.