*This article was originally published in Indonesian by Surya Online.
Photo by surya/pramudito
US Consul General Joaquin F. Monserrate (left) with two sketchers LK Bing (middle) and Darman (right) in US Consulate Office, Thursday (18/12/2014)
“Only painting walls?” That is the question emerging from the two sketchers Darman’s and LK Bing’s minds, when the US Consul General Joaquin F. Monserrate asked them to sketch the US Consulate Office in the middle of last year.
Moreover according to Darman, the office building which stands on a six-hectares of land on The Citra Raya complex is not too geometrical. “However, this was a challenge for us, how to represent this stiff, sterile and rectangular building to appear more compliant and friendly, and to feel closer to the people,” said Darman to Surya while being in “The Consulate In Sketches” Art Exhibition, Thursday (18/12).
For Darman, this offer was not something easy. The reason is because he, and also Bing, are more accustomed to sketch old heritage buildings as their objects of sketching.
Another challenge for them, continued LK Bing, they were only given three weeks to finish their artworks. “We are glad, that finally we could finish all of them and show them today for everybody to see,” said Bing, who is also a guest lecturer in UK Petra.
LK Bing, the leader of Urban Sketcher Surabaya, added that to maneuver the condition of the US Consulate building, they largely combined their architectural knowledge as architects with artistic elements. “Feel Art must naturally be strong so that our artworks will be more pleasurable to enjoy and not only showcasing stiff rectangular building,” said Bing who is also an abstract painter.
There are a total of sixteen sketches being displayed in one of the rooms in the US Consulate. Eight sketches are LK Bing’s brushworks, and the rest are Darman’s. Beside Chinese ink, they also used watercolor drawn on A3 paper.
” I wish to make people change their minds about this Office,” Joaquin F. Monserrate spoke.
As most of those who had the experience of entering this representative office of the superpower country must have agreed, Joaquin said that it is indeed difficult to enter the US Consulate. “Those are the procedures we have to follow. However, once we are inside, the impression is certainly different. There is warm and friendly welcome from the Staff. Here (in this room) there is no military personnel either, and there is no tense situation. I do not wish all the the hurdles in entering this office become a hindrance for personal interactions,” he explained.
Joaquin added that he hoped this effort could answer to the responses he received from the people of Surabaya. “The Indonesians, especially those in Surabaya are known for being warm, humble and friendly,” said Joaquin, who has been positioned in Surabaya twice.
The meeting of Darman and LK Bing with Joaquin occurred about a year ago. At that time, these two painters from Urban Sketcher Surabaya had an Exhibition in the old building Wismilak.
When they met, Joaquin immediately offered them to draw the US Consulate in sketches. However, they could only finalize the plan about six months ago. Joaquin affirmed that he often attended various events held by artists. “I like being amongst them. They are people who are spontaneous and honest in expressing themselves,” uttered Joaquin, who originally came from Puerto Rico.
Prior to holding their brush and beginning to sketch on the drawing paper, Darman and Bing, who are both graduates from UK Petra were invited to look around the US Consulate building to observe it and search for ideas. “The process was rather long because there are sides that may not be exposed to the public,” said Darman.