Art Jakarta 2022

AWDB Spotlight: Interview with Art Jakarta Fair Director Tom Tandio

AWDB speaks with Tom Tandio, the Fair Director of Art Jakarta, one of the biggest annual events for the Southeast Asian contemporary art scene. Tandio is also the founder of IndoArtNow, an online platform showcasing profiles and videos of Indonesian contemporary artists and promoting new exhibitions or upcoming artist events.

Previously working in the automotive industry, Tandio’s passion for art began with his curiosity of art collecting, while also hearing the stories of his Indonesian artist friends and how their experiences translate into their work. We spoke to him about his extensive experience in the industry and the evolving art scene.


Art Jakarta is one of the most highly anticipated art fairs in the region. Now in its 13th year, what have been some of your biggest learnings as Fair Director?

Over the years as the Fair Director of Art Jakarta, I’ve come to realize that consistency is key. The challenge lies in building anticipation and making people feel that they are a part of the fair. Through thoughtful design, impactful campaigns, pre-events, and the careful curation of the overall mood, we shape perceptions of what Art Jakarta represents and the experiences it offers.

Art Jakarta is not a solitary endeavour; it’s a collaborative effort involving a vast community. Galleries, collectors, and artists all contribute, making our fair a collective expression rather than an event owned by a single entity. We aim to embrace and involve our community fully. It’s not just an event; it’s a shared experience that reflects the vibrancy and diversity of the art community.

What aspects and elements in art do you appreciate and look for when buying for yourself as a collector, especially with Indonesian and Southeast Asian pieces?

Intentionality is a crucial factor in my approach to collecting. Spending time with artists and delving into meaningful conversations helps me grasp not only the technical aspects of their work but also the essence of their artistic journey and character. Artworks by Southeast Asian artists relates more to me because I was born here. The pieces in my collection are those that go beyond aesthetic appeal. I like to spend time with Indonesian curators and artists. Getting to know them has helped me understand their practices and understand the meaning of art, questioning about life, time, and space.

Art Jakarta 2022. Image courtesy of Art Jakarta
Art Jakarta 2022. Image courtesy of Art Jakarta

With the rise of younger art collectors in the region, has the world of art collecting changed? Where do you see it going from here?

Young collectors are growing in number, particularly in Indonesia. The emergence of younger art collectors has indeed brought a refreshing dynamism to the world of art collecting, as they grow internationally. It’s heartening to witness a new generation embracing art with enthusiasm and passion. Many of them actively engage with artists and galleries, often promoting them to fellow collectors or institutions. In doing so, they contribute to the support and growth of both artists and the broader art scene.

This shift has led to a broader appreciation of diverse styles and mediums, pushing the boundaries. I see the future of art collecting evolving into a more inclusive and accessible space, where creativity knows no bounds.

What is your vision for Art Jakarta and the role of art fairs in the Southeast Asian contemporary art scene in the future?

We envision Art Jakarta continuing to expand both in size and in the quantity of the artworks showcased. The success of Art Jakarta Gardens was remarkable, with tenants expressing a desire to make it a permanent feature. Initially planned as a one-time event in 2022, the positive outcome led to its integration as an annual occurrence, with Art Jakarta Gardens in the first half of the year and Art Jakarta in the second half.

Looking at the broader Southeast Asian context, I hope to witness continuous growth, contributing to the development of a more substantial art scene in Southeast Asia. Art Jakarta aims to be a hub for artistic exchange, a place where the world can witness the dynamic evolution of Southeast Asian contemporary art.

Art Jakarta 2022. Image courtesy of Art Jakarta
Art Jakarta 2022. Image courtesy of Art Jakarta

How can we, the audience, share contemporary Indonesian art with the world, and with the international art community at large?

Sharing contemporary Indonesian art with the world is a collective effort, and everyone plays a crucial role in this endeavor. One powerful way to contribute is by engaging with the art, attending art events, and supporting local artists. Social media platforms also provide an excellent opportunity to share the beauty and diversity of Indonesian art with a global audience. By amplifying the voices of our artists and participating in the dialogue surrounding their work, we can contribute to the international conversation about the richness of contemporary Indonesian art.

In Southeast Asia, there aren’t many museums or art institutions, so we hope that more international institutions will exhibit art by Southeast Asian artists, to showcase their talents on a global scale and help them build a better resume. And this is what Art Jakarta is all about.


For more information on Art Jakarta, please click here.