Yogyakarta: Step Into The World Of Artistic Murals In The Village Of Jeblog

By A. Kurniawan Ulung | 04, Oct, 2018
Yogyakarta: Step Into The World Of Artistic Murals In The Village Of Jeblog

Over 30 street artists have turned Jeblog tourist village into an outdoor art gallery, painting flurry of murals throughout the area to highlight the artistic side of its residents. This village is worth the visit if you are having a holiday in Yogyakarta.

Yogyakarta is the center of music, dance, and theater. In this city, I found many murals and graffitis on every corner of public places. Street art is rife there.

More reasons to visit Yogyakarta

Where is Jeblog?

When taking a walk through Jeblog village in Bantul regency, I felt the atmosphere of an art gallery. There were impressive street arts in all shapes and forms.

Jeblog is located in Kasihan district. It is 5 kilometers from the city’s main tourist site, the Kraton of Yogyakarta palace complex in the downtown.

Yogyakarta is home to tourist villages, including Jeblog, the youngest one.

History of Jeblog

Jeblog was named the tourist village in December 2017 during Jeblog Kawistara art and cultural festival.

The festival is already over, but you can still enjoy the street art of Jeblog village throughout this year.

Jeblog means ‘falling’ or ‘declining’ in the Javanese language, while Kasihan means ‘feeling of sorrow’. That is why those who live there are often mocked by people from other villages for their poor name.

In the past, Jeblog was known for juvenile delinquency. Therefore, Jeblog Kawistara festival is the way of Jeblog residents to change their image through art.

During the festival, 37 artists, including eight from Poland, France, Australia, and Ukraine, turned empty walls of over 50 spots ranging from houses, school, fences to security post (pos ronda), into huge public canvases with different stories.

Mural artist Vendy Methodos, for example, named his mural ‘Hate and Prejudice is Horrible Combination’. As the name suggests, it is quite political. It criticizes the rise of hatred and prejudice-fueled identity, politics and religion that have caused splits in Indonesia's diverse society.

There is also a mural, entitled Warisan yang Baik (Good Legacy), by artist group KuKomikan. The artwork depicts Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, making a speech while riding an elephant.

Among 37 artists, Anagard got the biggest canvas which is on the wall of the largest house in Jeblog. His mural entitled Urip Zaman Now (Life These Days), depicted an eye-popping beautiful colorful creature with Javanese philosophy, Urip iku Urup, which means Hidup itu Nyala (Life is Shine), written on it.

In Jeblog village, the murals are so eye-catching and Instagrammable that many tourists come just to take photos and selfies.

Jeblog also has potentials to be a creative village, something that many people do not know yet. It is home to three art galleries — Lorong Gallery, Sesama Gallery, and Ruang Dalam Gallery.

There are many ways to reach this village. But, the easiest way is by taking a taxi or ojek (motorcycle taxi), Grab or Gojek. From the Kraton of Yogyakarta, it will take less than 15 minutes to get there. If you take ojek service by Grab or Gojek, the cost is less than Rp 15,000 only.

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A Jakarta-based journalist passionate about art and culture, human rights, lifestyle, environment, music and film. He is a former reporter of The Jakarta Post and Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun.