Nadiah Bamadhaj (Jogjakarta)

A King in a Republic

Bamadhaj’s lecture performance for FIELD MEETING used the method of divergence between “what is said and what is meant” to attempt what many in Yogyakarta, Indonesia may consider a taboo- the critique of the ruling of Sri Sultan Hamengkubawono X, who is both the 10th monarch of the late Mataram Kingdom and current Governor of Yogyakarta. Incorporating her painstaking studies of graveyard shacks in East Java (Cungkup) as affecting metaphors, she reflected on the accumulation of socio-economic and environmental problems that have caused Jogjakarta to remain a feudal province within one of the most vibrant democracies in Southeast Asia.

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Nadiah Bamadhaj’s FIELD MEETING participation is supported by Richard Koh Fine Art (Kuala Lumpur).

Nadiah Bamadhaj, A King in a Republic, 2017. Performance documentation FIELD MEETING Take 5: Thinking Project, November 14th at Asia Society.


Born in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, Nadiah Bamadhaj was trained as a sculptor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. She began producing videos, drawings, sculptures, installations, and digital images and has also worked in non-governmental organizations as an art educator. In 2000, she was awarded the Nippon Foundation’s Asian Public Intellectual Fellowship, which led to her eventual move to Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Her artwork continues to focus on the social intricacies of Yogyakarta’s society using myth, architecture, and dwelling to articulate her conceptual observations. She has participated in many local and regional exhibitions and biennials and has had several slow exhibitions at Richard Koh Fine Art in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Image of cemetery custodian Bapak Sukino in the rural areas of East Java, Indonesia. Courtesy of the artist