It Does Not Feel Like Home in Rumah by Anton Ismael

It Does Not Feel Like Home in Rumah by Anton Ismael

Home is often portrayed for its warmth, serenity, and comfort it brings. Anton Ismael, however, chooses to tell a story about his home in a different light. In an art exhibition curated by Ade Darmawan, he illustrates how home, can be a somber place as well—and how this point of view is often left undisclosed.

Presented in Ruci Art Space Senopati, the exhibition is made to resemble a house floorplan. Getting into the display area, we were told that we should proceed from ‘the livingroom’ all the way to the ‘backyard’. In the livingroom area, a preface by Ade Darmawan titled ‘Tinggal’ (a brilliantly selected double entrande for leave/stay) greeted us. It reveals that home in this exhibition will be presented by challenging the general perception and exposing the reality which is not always peaceful and calm.

Indeed, upon entering, we were directed towards a dark chamber in which a single portrait of ‘grandmother’ was displayed with a drip of paint splattered on her forehead, resulting in an uncannily tense ambience surrounding the small, barely-lit room. On the entrance of that chamber, a simple hand-written poem about resistance towards parents’ ideologies pasted casually onto the wall. The rest of this exhibition also seems to be presented in a similar manner. A series of seemingly uncomplicated but highly nuanced pieces were accompanied with a simple hand-written poem that as opposed of showing sentimentality, are loaded with an idea that home is a bridle of one’s true self.

After exploring through some photo series, expression walls, and light boxes, the home led us to a pitch black room with holographic display presented on its center. Various sounds of footsteps, unlocked doors, and innocently pressing inquiries such as “How’s school?” “When will you be coming home?” and “Don’t you believe your own mother and father?” surrounded us. It successfully brought us face to face with a familiar pressure family often bring to us, unknowingly.

Rumah, in conclusion, has succeeded in presenting alternative reality about home than the existing concept people generally adhere to. And to be faced with such conflicted view is as refreshing as it is frightening, but at most thoroughly enlightening. The exhibition will be open in Ruci Art Space until May 1th, everyday from 11am-7pm for those who wish to witness the darker, less-discussed side of home.


Photos by: Alex Christian H.

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