Born 1960, Emmeloord, The Netherlands
Lives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Mella Jaarsma is an artist who has become known for her complex custom installations and her focus on forms of cultural and racial diversity embedded within clothing, the body, and food. She studied visual art at Minerva Academy in Groningen (1978-1984), after which she left the Netherlands to study at the Art Institute of Jakarta (1984) and at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta (1985-1986). She has lived and worked in Indonesia ever since. In 1988, she co-founded Cemeti Art House, now called Cemeti Institute for Art & Society together with Nindityo Adipurnomo, which to this day remains an important platform for young artists and art workers in the country and region.

Mella Jaarsma’s works have been presented widely in exhibitions and art events in Indonesia and around the globe. Selected solo exhibitions include Performing Artifacts: Objects in Question at ROH, Jakarta, Indonesia (2022); The Size of Rice at A+ Works of Art, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2021); Bolak Balik at Jendela Art Space, Esplanade, Singapore (2017); Potong Waktu at Nadi Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia (2014); Truth, Lies and Senses at Lawangwangi Creative Space, Bandung, Indonesia (2012); The Fitting Room at National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia and Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Bandung, Indonesia (2009). Selected group exhibitions include Visaraloka, part of the Indonesia Bertutur Festival at Museum H. Widayat, Magelang, Indonesia (2022); Indonesian Women Artists #3: Infusions into Contemporary Art (2022), National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia; Bayang at South South Veza with ROH (2021); Setouchi Triennale at Ibuki Island, Japan (2019); The Coming World: Ecology as the New Politics 2030-2100 at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, Russia (2019); Contemporary Worlds: Indonesia at National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia (2019); Sunshower: Contemporary Art from Southeast Asia 1980s to Now at Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Kaohsiung, Taiwan (2019) and National Art Center Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan (2017); 20th Biennale of Sydney: The future is already here - it’s not just evenly distributed at Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (2016); The Roving Eye at Arter, Istanbul, Turkey (2014); Jakarta Biennale: Siasat at Museum of Ceramics and Fine Arts, Jakarta, Indonesia (2013); Sip! Indonesian Art Today at ARNDT Berlin, Berlin, Germany and ARNDT Singapore, Singapore (2013); Suspended Histories at Museum Van Loon, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2013); Singapore Biennale at Singapore Art Museum, Singapore (2011); Aware: Art Fashion Identity at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK (2010); RE-Addressing Identities at Katonah Museum, New York, USA (2009); Fashion Accidentally at Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan (2007); Yokohama Triennial, Japan (2005); and many others. Her work is part of the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia; National Gallery Singapore and Singapore Art Museum, Singapore among others.

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