ModCon, the Australian Embassy digital art prize, was awarded to Hasanuddin University student Anisa Shabrina Yunus from Makassar, Sulawesi, and to University of Western Australia student Alannah Scorer from Perth, after their artworks received the most number of votes on the Embassy’s Instagram account (@KedubesAustralia). This week we spoke to Anisa about the inspiration behind her gentle, rich and beautiful artwork The Current Face of Indonesia, and what she’s most looking forward to on her professional development adventure in Australia. We’ll meet Alannah next week.

The Current Face of Indonesia by Anisa Shabrina Yunus. Image: Australian Embassy Jakarta

The Current Face of Indonesia by Anisa Shabrina Yunus. Image: Australian Embassy Jakarta

Congratulations Anisa on being the Indonesian winner of ModCon! Where in Indonesia are you from? How does this place influence your art?

Anisa Shabrina Yunus. Photo: Australian Embassy, Jakarta

Anisa Shabrina Yunus. Photo: Australian Embassy, Jakarta

I was born and raised in Makassar, South Sulawesi, which is the largest city in Sulawesi. It is mostly known because of the great landscapes, traditional foods, cultural heritage, and so on. I look at this city as a repository of society’s collective memories which I can always be inspired by. Other than the places that influence me in making artwork, it is the people that matter because they keep me going on. The local community and the city atmosphere is what influence my art the most.

Your winning artwork is a beautiful and gentle composition of some iconic Indonesian elements, traditional and modern. What were you hoping to convey to viewers about your country?

I was trying to point out the interesting points of Indonesia, either the traditional values or the contemporary ones. So I made a number of lists that contain key points such as technology, mobility, youth activities, landscapes, hang-out places, culture, faith, and natural resources – those key points then being connected to the current phenomenon of the digital era. I would like to convey the society activities nowadays regarding to what is up today. I finally came up with an idea to combine all those key points in my artwork.

The first one I aim to convey is the traditional values that strongly remain in my country through the presence of public transportation and street vendors. Their presence was combined with contemporary values such as app-based transportation due to technology development. I also added youth activities such as music and visual art as a symbol of the contemporary era in which each individual has the opportunity to express themselves. And the last one I tried to describe is the natural attraction which is the thing Indonesia is mostly known for. After all, I am willing to show the current look of Indonesia, in a genuinely good way through several aspects.

How did you hear about the ModCon competition, and what prompted you to enter?

I stumbled upon the Australian Embassy twitter account and found this information about the digital art competition. I usually use my spare time to look for any learning opportunities such as scholarship programs, youth forums, competitions, and so on. I felt the urge to join this competition since the very first day. I thought this is what I am capable of and moreover, I have always been wanting to go to Australia for study because they have an outstanding rank in the field of art and design. I can say that I kinda felt like this is a golden opportunity for me to develop self-capability.

What do you hope to gain from your time in Australia? What are you most excited about?

Other than a very valuable experience, I am looking forward to expanding my knowledge, developing communication skills, building a wider network on an international level that will eventually have an impact on my career development. I am so excited about meeting new people that have the same passion as mine, and going to some artsy places, and getting involved in the international exhibition. I can’t wait to be faced with another reality where it can train my self-reliance and endurance in facing the situation which is completely new, so there will be a greater awareness of the relationship between people from different countries.

What are your goals or aspirations for when you return from Australia?

As soon as I return, I am looking forward to holding an exhibition and workshop in my hometown as a follow-up to my program in Australia. I hope my trip there will broaden my vision about the making of visual artwork and add my references in the field of art and design so that I can learn from them and share them straight through the ModCon program.

How do you feel about the relationship between Australia and Indonesia, and what do you think creative exchanges such as ModCon can bring to the relationship? 

Australia and Indonesia has a well-maintained relationship since both countries lead each other to mutual cultural understanding through government collaborative programs. I can see that from the presence of the embassies in both nations that actively work to build stronger relationships. There are a lot of things that this kind of exchange program can bring to this case, like a broader network of between each country’s local communities, a greater understanding and tolerance of other cultures, and a sustainable connection between both nations in the field of art and design that will possibly lead to collaborative works, and the sharing of links.

To learn more about ModCon head here, and if you’re a digital artist make sure you remember it for next year! Anisa is on Twitter: @nichasy and Instagram: @nichasy.