During the day, Bunga has a regular job as a graphic designer. After work, the petite 25 year old woman switches from her desk to the bustling streets of Jakarta. Equipped with spray cans, she is ready to color the walls of the pulsing metropolis. Graffiti is on the rise and Bunga is one of the first female graffiti writers in Indonesia. Two years ago, she started the project LADIES ON WALL, to support women writers in the country. LADIES ON WALL INDONESIA INTERVIEW GRAFFITI ARTIST BUNGA


You are one of the first female writers in Indonesia. How did you get started with graffiti?
Back in 2005, when I was 15 years old and spotted the graffitis around Jakarta’s walls, I started sketching my own pieces on paper. One day, the indonesian street art website tembokbomber.com shared a flyer of an exhibition. So I made my first graffiti on a 1,5m x 2m board and drove it all by myself to the exhibition spot at Tangerang city, which is about one hour away from Jakarta.

Did you have any connections to female writers?
From 2010 until 2013, I painted only with guys and never met any female graffiti writer. I join no crew, I prefer to fight alone and enjoy to paint together with any different crew. In Bandung, I met ADCTD one day, who is also a female graffiti artist. We painted together.

Your graffiti name is Bunga, which is also your real name.
Bunga means ‘flower’ in Indonesian. Thinking I already have a good name, I asked myself why should I be looking for a better one? (Laughing) Sometimes I’m worried to tag in illegal places, cause I use my real name – my bad.

What does the graffiti scene look like in Indonesia?
Maybe let’s start with the bad news: so many graffiti spots have been gone during the last two years. All the places have been cleaned and so many pieces vanished. The good news: Indonesia has many female graffiti artists nowadays, and it’s just the beginning. Graffiti starts to fill many café and restaurant walls, it’s cool. And graffiti events are increasing too.

Bunga means ‘flower’ in Indonesian. Thinking I already have a good name, I asked myself why should I be looking for a better one?BUNGA

What is the reaction of the Indonesian society to your graffiti lifestyle in the world’s largest muslim majority country?
When I started with graffiti, I still was a hijaber (a lady who wears a hijab). In this country, almost every lady who wears a hijab will get compliments for being a good girl. It’s also fine with ladies doing graffiti, as long as they wear the hijab. I was a well-known female graffiti artist with hijab in Indonesia – until I took it off. Then I got so many bad responses.

Is graffiti respected as an art form in Indonesia?
People who love art also respect graffiti here. Some of them of course don’t. Mostly not. Many people say I’m a bad girl who likes spraying in illegal places. One of them even called me a criminal.

What is the concept and idea behind ‘LADIES ON WALL’?
‘Ladies on Wall’ started as a graffiti event for female writers in 2014. Together with my friend CIML we arranged a graffiti meeting for females who have the passion for writing. Also to support women who are too shy to show their skills and have no bravery to paint. The first time, we united women from Jakarta, Bandung and Tangerang. In 2015 we met in Bogor. Kare was the project leader. She is a female writer based in this city. This year, it will take place in Tangerang city with CIML as the project leader, on August 7th 2016. Dripsndrops will support us with cans.

Every year, the number of participants has been increasing. We had 9 female writers in 2014 and already more than 18 writers in 2015. They come from Jakarta, Bandung, Bogor, Kalimantan, Tangerang, Karawang, Palembang and Ukraine. I think this year we gonna have a bigger Ladies on Wall event with more than 30 female writers from around Indonesia. It’s like a movement now.

Interview by Andreas Margara, June 2016