The Australia Indonesia Arts Alliance was initiated in 1998 in response to the economic crisis and political upheaval in Indonesia. AIAA provides support for Indonesian culture by creating new opportunities for Indonesian artists to share their culture in Australia and for Australians to gain greater understanding and awareness about Indonesia through cultural exchange.
During the last two years AIAA has established a number of projects intended to create opportunities for cultural sharing, education and support between Australia and Indonesia. AIAA is the first organisation to establish a national network on Indonesian culture in Australia. AIAA is a non-profit-making community-based organisation and has members throughout Australia and in Indonesia.
The AIAA web site was created in January 1999 by Carole Chapman, AIAA volunteer web site consultant and Judith Shelley, national co-ordinator, to provide a national information base for the utilization of Australian and Indonesian people interested in Indonesian culture and Australia-Indonesian cultural co-operation. The site has proved useful for artists, musicians, students, teachers, Indonesian community and cultural groups, government bodies, media, libraries, universities etc
The AIAA web site is the first site to provide this type and range of information on a national basis, including;
National Calendar of Events
National Directory of Indonesian Cultural Groups
Virtual Gallery of Indonesian and Australian Artists
Visiting Artists Register
Ideas for Schools
Inspirasi - On-line Magazine
AIAA has also utilized this information base to provide direct assistance to individuals and orgnisations seeking access to Indonesian performers, artists, cultural teachers, funding sources etc
In January 1999 AIAA commenced production of a newsletter for its members. In August 1999, the newsletter was transformed into Inspirasi - Free On-line Magazine - the first on-line magazine about Indonesian culture in Australia.
Inspirasi has been acknowledged nationally and internationally by organisations such as the National Library of Australia, who have included Inspirasi in their Canberra archives. The ABC website co-ordinator recently informed AIAA that an announcement about Inspirasi has been included on the front page of "The Space" on their website. Cornell University Library has also inlcuded Inspirasi in their on-line catalogue. NSW Dept of Education has requested permission to use articles from Inspirasi on their CD Rom.
Inspirasi contains news, reviews and up-to-date information about Indonesian cultural events in Australia and Indonesia, particularly Australia-Indonesia cultural exchange activities, art, music and literature.
AIAA, the AIAA website and Inspirasi Magazine have been promoted nationally through Australian Indonesian publications and the internet, focusing on educational institutions and Indonesian cultural organisations in Australia and Indonesia. Many organisations have been contacted by phone, letter or email inviting membership, information-sharing and co-operation.
2001 - The AIAA office is busy upgrading the website, database, and all other AIAA projects with help from 10 volunteers. Much enjoyed Gamelan Workshops have been held in Public Schools. The musician-in-residence projects are continuing and the Radio Show, on Bay FM is always improving. AIAA have bought a mini-disc player/recorder, microphone, and new CD's from a grant of $2000 from the Community Broadcasting Foundation.
2000 - Email announcements regarding Inspirasi magazine sent out to public schools, universites, and cultural organisations throughout Australia. Local events and activities were advertised in Byron Echo and on BayFM Radio.
1999 - AIAA application form included in NSW Dept of Education publication "Berita Bahasa Indonesia"- Field trip to Indonesia by volunteer cultural networker Cynthia Webb, including publishing of her article about the visual artist Nurkholis in the Jakarta Post Newspaper as well as an article about AIAA in Saturday Star newspaper
1998 - Leaflet and membership application form included in Pelangi Magazine - produced at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba.- Free advertisement in Inside Indonesia Magazine, with reciprocal advertising in Pelangi Magazine- Inclusion in Indonesian Conference Notes, ANU, Canberra- Information Stall at the BEMAC South East Asian Festival, Brisbane- Information Stall at Griffith University Multicultural Day- Distribution of information about AIAA among Indonesian artists by Victoria Cattoni in Bali and by post from Australia.
Design of AIAA application form incorporating survey of community needs re Indonesian culture
Design of Indonesian artist registration form and covering letter in Bahasa Indonesia
Design of AIAA website, establishment of email address and PO Box
Design of AIAA constitution, aims and objectives
Creation of AIAA website
Creation of a Virtual Gallery of Indonesian art on the website
Directory of organisations and National Calendar of events on the website
Launch of Indonesian Arts Chat line via The Palace Chat Server
Application for funding to Living in Harmony, Multicultural Affairs, Department of Immigration
Investigation into funding sources - Australia Indonesia Institute, Ethnic Affairs Commission, Australia Council, Casino Community Fund
Meeting with the Ethnic Affairs Commissioner Keith Owen
Distribution of AIAA information at ACE (Adult Community Eduction) conference and ACFOA conference
Design of pilot project for ACE programs ie Budaya Indonesia Course, a joint project between ACE Byron Bay and Byron Shire Gamelan Society
- Liaison with other exchange programs eg Rotary student exchange
AIAA has initiated information-sharing meetings designed to encourage co-operation and the cross-fertilization of ideas between individuals and organisations involved in Indonesian culture. Meetings have so far been held in Sydney, Gold Coast and NSW North Coast Region.
AIAA members in NSW North Coast have held a formation meeting to establish an AIAA branch for the co-ordination of Indonesian cultural activities in the region including artist/musician-in-residence programs. A meeting of AIAA members has been held in Sydney which has agreed to look to the establishment of a local AIAA Branch in Sydney. It is hoped that members in other areas will follow this lead and form their own branches in their own local areas.
The national meeting place of AIAA members is the AIAA egroup, firstname.lastname@example.org. The egroup provides fast and easy access and communication between members throughout Australia and Indonesia. Members share ideas and plan projects together, and most importantly, get to know each other via email. Email introductions have resulted in members getting together to create new events or art works.
Promotion and Support for Indonesian Cultural Events
The AIAA web site and Inspirasi magazine have been utilized as a way of promoting hundreds of Indonesian cultural events and projects throughout Australia and Indonesia. AIAA has also directly supported a number of performances and events by providing promotion, networking and often billeting support.
1998 - Performance by Parahyangan at Thursday Plantation, Ballina presented by Kalooma Promotions, Sydney
1999 - networking between AIAA members resulted in a new dance work by Kerensa Johnston for the exhibition of Victoria Cattoni at Seniwati Gallery, Ubud Bali
Warogus Concert and Workshop in Byron Bay
Banyuwangi Angklung Workshops at Myocum with Mike Burns from Gamelan Carimakan, Perth
OzIndo Project fundraising concert held at Byron Bay High School including performances by Shearwater Steiner School, Cape Byron Steiner school, Byron Shire Gamelan, Rampak Indonesia and Orisha Intenational
GengGong Performance at Norpa Asia Fest Thursday Plantation, Ballina - Rampak Indonesia performances at Ballina and Tweed Carnivale Festival
provided support for Sundanese Gamelan classes for Byon Shire Gamlean Ensemble held at Myocum by David Goldsworthy from UNE Armidale and Kym Hall from Gamelan Suara Naga.
2000 - initiated Rampak Drumming Classes with Warogus Master Drummer Ron Reeves from Sydney, held in Myocum, Main Arm and Suffolk Park
Concert by visiting artist, Admiral - "Sumatra meets Rumi" held at Bangalow by Alison Pearl/Ku Promotions in conjunction with Musik Kabau Sati, Brisbane.
Balinese Topeng Dance Workshops by Rina Sani from Orisha International held at Byron Bay.
Suara Indonesia Radio Show
The Suara Indonesia Radio Show was re-established during 1999 on Bay FM 91.3 by AIAA members, Tjintana Matahari and Judith Shelley in order to promote Indonesian culture in the NSW Nth Coast- Southern Queensland Region. During the last 10 months guest speakers and musicians on the show have included:
Rampak Indonesia, Hendri and Hendra Budiman, Andreas, Wawan, Lela from Community Radio USA, Kym Hall from Byron Gamelan Group and Suara Naga Armidale, Saul Dalton recently returned from Irian Jaya, David Goldsworthy Professor of Ethnomusicology UNE Armidale, Mike Burns Gamelan Teacher from Newcastle, Ron Reeves Sundanese kendang teacher from Sydney, Philip Booth - Learnscapes in Bali and East Timor, Micheal Binke - East Timor Fundraiser, Angela from Byron Gamelan Ensemble,, Made and Fred Coblyn - drum-makers planning to work in East Timor, Julie Tweedie - trainee presenter from the Aboriginal community, Lia Ramirez - trainee presenter from the Latin- American Community, Cynthia Webb - AIAA cultural networker, local Indonesian musicians - Adi, Juki, Ronnie and Jaemmy, as well as Lorna, Melati and Java.
As a result of Reconciliation Day, Suara Indonesia has offered to sponsor the development of an aboriginal radio program at BayFM by providing training for local aboriginal presenters on Suara Indonesia. It is intended that the aboriginal community will apply for their own show at the end of the season. This collaboration focuses on the connections that have existed between the peoples of Indonesia and Australia for thousands of years. Training is also being provided to members of the Latin American community wishing to establish their own show.
Another recent project has been participation in the BayFM Radiothon. AIAA co-ordinated a week-long program of live musical performances for the BayFM fundraising Love-In Café. The program included Indonesian Band Sama-Sama, as well as Acapelligo, Blackjack (Blues) Melanie Dolinski, The Phoenix Movement, Rap-up-a-jah (Reggae), Que Pasa (Latin American) and Bruce the Pixie.
The Suara Indonesia Team presently includes Henry Horthy, Judith Shelley and Trainee presenters Lia Ramirez and Jo Williams, Back-up presenter Hendri Budiman with assistance from members of the Indonesian community and AIAA. Future plans include the creation of a six-part series about Indonesian music focusing on the cultural influences which have affected its development eg Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Indian influences as well as cultural connections between Aboriginal and Makassar tribes.
AIAA Work Experience Project
During 1999 AIAA entered into an agreement with the Youth Activities Centre, Byron Bay to provide work experience for young people in web site design, database and general computer skills and help to maintain the YAC computer room in exchange for the use of the computer room to maintain the AIAA websites and database.
Most recently this project has provided training through web site design courses taught by Carole Chapman on behalf of AIAA. AIAA has also received a donation from Byron Shire Council of redundant computers for the purpose of AIAA working toward establishing their own computer room. Discussions have also commenced with Ballina Employment and Training Centre regarding support for the AIAA website project and Inspirasi magazine as well as other AIAA projects through the Work For the Dole Program.
Priorities for the Future of AIAA
According to the aboriginal elders, Byron Bay being the most easterly point in Australia, is a place of new beginnings, a place where ideas are born and then spread across the land as the sun rises and spreads its light across Australia.
The idea of an organisation called the Australia Indonesia Arts Alliance was bravely initiated in the small town of Byron Bay with a very big vision - to be the first national organisation in Australia to promote Indonesian culture, and in particular to create new opportunities for Indonesian artists to visit this country.
It was never the intention that this organisation would remain based in Byron Bay. It would seem more appropriate for the Head Office of AIAA to be based in a capital city in order to be more accessible to a greater number of people and closer to funding bodies etc
To date the efforts of AIAA have focused on creating a national network, promoting the need for increased opportunities for Indonesian artists in Australia, making direct contact with Indonesian cultural organisations and artists, promoting existing visiting artist programs, and providing support and information.
In view of AIAA's main priorities it would seem appropriate for AIAA members to work towards the establishment of a national secretariat and local branches with the intention of pursuing the initiation of Indonesian Artist-in-Residence projects throughout Australia, to continue to work at creating a comprehensive information base, network and database of people interested in participating in Australia-Indonesia Cultural Exchange and to continue to promote Indonesian culture nationally and at all levels of the community while undertaking projects to this aim.
Schools and educational institutions provide a strong base for Artist-in-Residence projects, as do local cultural and Indonesian community organisations. As AIAA promotes awareness about these programs, it is hoped that more organisations will realize the great potential and availability of Indonesian artists to undertake residencies in Australia.