Reading Group

This group is an informal space for collective reading of meaningful texts that explore ideas and themes from our exhibitions at Wei-Ling Galleries. This week, we are looking at the different themes raised in Dadang Christanto’s exhibition ‘Wuku’, from cultural myths to trauma and freedom of expression.

We require that you register through Eventbrit.

Sessions are free and will take place on Zoom. Meeting details will be sent to you via email one day before the session. Please email us at if you do not receive the meeting info, we’ll get back to you right away.

What to expect at a session
To prepare, please read the text to the best of your ability. A reading guide is available below. If you are unable to read ahead, please come anyway!

After brief introductions and a review of meeting etiquettes, the facilitator will ask participants to submit questions and ideas for discussion. The facilitator will then guide the group in working through as many of their questions as possible before recapping and wrapping up the discussion.

No specialist expertise is needed other than an interest in sharing your views and reading with others. We are excited to discuss the ideas raised by your interaction with the text! These sessions will not be recorded so we maintain a safe, respectful and confidential space to be ourselves, ask questions, engage and interact.

Where to get the text
A PDF copy of the text and reading guide will be emailed to you after registration.

The reading guide is aimed at helping our participants comprehend the main points of the reading. It includes a short description of the author, contextual information, summary of text and questions for thought to help any participants comprehend main points of the reading.

You can give the reading guide a miss if you’re feeling confident!

SESSION 1: The Myth of Watugunung by Dr. Jean Couteau

Wednesday 9 June 2021 / 18:00 – 19:00 (GMT+8)

This session, facilitated by art critic, curator and author of the text Dr. Jean Couteau will look at the origins of Wuku and the Javanese Pawukon Calendar in relation to the early foundation and evolution of “family” as a social organisation.

Facilitator: Dr Jean Couteau

Born in France, Dr. Jean has resided in Bali since 1972. As an author, he writes in French, English and Indonesian on a wide range of topics: from cultural columnist for the Bali Post in the 1990s, to well-known writer on Indonesian art, then eventually turning into a popular columnist – in Indonesian – with the national daily, Kompas.

He received a doctoral degree for his thesis of art history and iconographic art in Bali. Recent publications include ‘Lempad‘ (2014) and ‘Time, Rites and Festivals’ (2013). He is a regular and cherished contributor of NOW! Bali Magazine.

Click HERE to read summary of Session 1

SESSION 2: From Silence to Speech: Witnessing and trauma of anti-communist Mass Killings in Indonesian Contemporary Art by Dr. Wulan Dirgantoro

Thursday 10 June 2021 / 18:00 – 19:00 (GMT+8)

This session, facilitated by researcher and curator Dr. Wulan Dirgantoro, will explore how contemporary art practices introduce new ways of understanding and responding to historical trauma in relation to Indonesia’s mass killings of 1965–66. The session will talk about the works of Dadang Christanto and Tintin Wulia, as analysed through her text.

Facilitator: Dr Wulan Dirgantoro

Wulan Dirgantoro is a McKenzie Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne, Australia. Her research interests are gender and feminism as well as trauma and memory in Indonesian modern and contemporary art. Her publications include Feminisms and Indonesian Contemporary Art: Defining Experiences (Amsterdam University Press, 2017) and ‘Aesthetics of Silence: Exploring Trauma in Indonesian Painting 1970-1980’ in Ambitious Alignment: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art (Power Publication and the National Gallery of Singapore, 2018). She has also contributed to various art publications in Asia, Australia and the UK on Indonesian modern and contemporary art.

Click HERE to read summary of Session 2

SESSION 3: I Am Still Whole and the Words Have Not Yet Been Destroyed (Poem) by Wiji Thukul

Friday 11 June 2021 / 18:00 – 19:00 (GMT+8)

This session, facilitated by curators and gallery associates Celina Loh and Amanda Ariawan, will explore language as resistance, specifically how trauma is mediated by visual arts and the writing of poetry. Looking at freedom of expression in Suharto’s New Order regime, the discussion will touch on the responsibilities of artists and writers in political protest, as well as how human rights are negotiated between offline and online society.

Facilitator: Celina Loh and Amanda Ariawan

Amanda obtained her MA in Contemporary Art Exhibition Production from Universite de Lille. Her research examined the representation of Asian contemporary art in France and its relation to national and regional identities. She has worked on several curatorial projects such as in artconnexion, France and The National Gallery of Indonesia.

Celina has an MA in Curating and Collections from Chelsea College of Arts. Her curatorial interests are in notions of collectivity and the public sphere, inclusivity and alternative art education. She has curated exhibitions and public programmes across Malaysia and in the UK such as Chelsea Space, Zabludowicz Collection and Open Eye Gallery.

Click HERE to read summary of Session 3