Oscar Murillo has been dubbed “the 21st century Basquiat” and an “art star”. His contemporary works have been auctioned at prestigious venues like Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips, purchased by discerning collectors for a fortune (Artnet estimates Murillo’s pieces generated an auction revenue totaling to $4.8 million in 2013). His on-going Frequencies Project, a fun collaboration with young students from 22 countries across the globe, is currently exhibited at the Venice Biennale. For the second edition of Frequencies, Murillo has invited Sekolah Tunas Indonesia (STI) in Bintaro, an international school for regular and special needs students, and its sister institution Sekolah Tunas Harapan (STH) that caters to Bekasi’s mid to low income kids, to take part.
For a semester, selected classroom desks in both schools were affixed with blank canvases. The participants include regular and special needs students, aged between nine and 16. They are given carte blanche to express themselves at any given time; they may draw, paint, write on or even rip the canvases. With no access to smart phones or other electronic devices, the young artists are encouraged to use their full creative potential rather traditionally.
Although art isn’t a completely new territory to STI and STH students (they had been involved in theatrical productions and played traditional instruments like gamelan and angklung), delving into fine arts with Murillo’s Frequencies canvas project has helped students discover and explore their artistic talents.
Filled with comical doodles and colourful scribbles, the canvases are the definition of honest, unadulterated art. They represent each student’s idiosyncrasies, emotions and thoughts, making them useful research assets for diverse professions ranging from child behaviour analysts to art experts. Along with the other canvases from the Frequencies Project, those by STI and STH students will represent Indonesia in future exhibitions at world-class venues like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Hangzhou Biennale.
In the meantime, STI and STH proceeds with their aim to put Indonesia in the global art map as they discuss potential future project with other artists, one of them Slovakian multimedia artist, composer and performer Michal Mitro.
Photos by STI, STH and Frequencies.net