About the part that art plays in a globalising society

Framer Framed

Ucup working on the 'De Levende Erfenis van Koloniaal Geweld' (2023) at Framer Framed, Amsterdam
Installatiefoto van de tentoonstelling Tanah Merdeka (2023) van het kunstenaarscollectief Taring Padi bij Framer Framed, Amsterdam. Foto: © Maarten Nauw / Framer Framed
Members of Taring Padi in residency at Casa do Povo in São Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Taring Padi
Taring Padi in residency at Casa do Povo. Image courtesy of Taring Padi.
Taring Padi and members of Casa do Povo and MST in front of the artwork they made together during the residency. Image courtesy of Taring Padi.
Ucup working on the 'De Levende Erfenis van Koloniaal Geweld' (2023) at Framer Framed, Amsterdam

Muhammad 'Ucup' Yusuf

Muhammad ‘Ucup’ Yusuf was born in 1975 in Lumajang, East Java, Indonesia. For the last decade his artistic practice has been committed to exposing difficult realities that exist in Indonesian society including corruption, environmental degradation and the continued deprivation of the underclass, amongst a slew of other social ills. He actualises his ideas through intricately executed woodblocks and woodblock prints. Ucup is an active member of the Indonesian arts and culture organisation Taring Padi.

At Framer Framed his work has been on show as part of Pressing Matters (2018) a group exhibition featuring 24 artists from Indonesia, brought together by artist Kevin van Braak. Split up into three interconnected parts, the exhibition addresses pressing socio-political issues in Indonesia. Muhammad Yusuf’s work was part of the Pentagonal Icositetrahedron installation. His contribution was made out of the urge to question the truth and justice of the 1965 Indonesian tragedy – a massacre following an attempted coup by a group called the 30 September movement. The Indonesian Army blamed the coup on the Indonesian Communist Party (KPI), leading to an anti-communist stance and large-scale killings that took place over many months in Indonesia. Various versions and different viewpoints, without the government making a firm stance in regards to what really happened, make it difficult for next generations to educate themselves about their history. In his work, Yusuf stresses that without transparency and knowledge, there is no learning process and a risk of repeating similar mistakes over and over again.

Ucup participated in the Taring Padi exhibition Tanah Merdeka (2023) at Framer Framed in Amsterdam. Drawing from the Indonesian expression ‘tanah merdeka’ (liberated land/space), the exhibition sees land as a broad concept with many complexities. It considers forces of extraction, preservation, colonisation, occupation, identity, and emancipation, and thinks of land not only as a physical and territorial site to be protected, defended, and reclaimed, but also as a spiritual, cosmological, and vibrant space that enables different forms of interrelation, conversation, and genuine exchange beyond boundaries. Tanah Merdeka continues the collective approach as developed by Taring Padi over the years, with the realisation and presentation of new collaborative works. During a one-month residency in Brazil, four members of Taring Padi developed a new work Retomar Nossa Terra / Rebut Tanah Kita (2023) in collaboration with Jewish Brazilian cultural centre Casa do Povo and the Brazilian landless movement, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST), presented as part of Tanah Merdeka.


Exhibition: Tanah Merdeka

An exhibition with the Indonesian art & activist collective, Taring Padi, reflecting on the concept of land as the object and site of decolonial struggles.
Based on drawing by Ervance ‘Havefun’ Dwiputra / Design by Diego Montero Ris

Exhibition: Pressing Matters

Featuring 24 Indonesian artists brought together by artist Kevin van Braak


Roundtable Conversation: Tanah Merdeka
Roundtable conversation with researchers and curators from different art museums and institutions within the context of Taring Padi's exhibition, Tanah Merdeka.
Opening: Tanah Merdeka
Opening of the exhibition Tanah Merdeka with works by the Indonesian art collective Taring Padi and collaborators.