Mella Jaarsma

Mella Jaarsma Bule Bull

Bule Bull
As an artist, Mella is equally known and committed. Her comments on prevailing social and political issues in Indonesian society are revealing and insightful. These are issues of discrimination, racialism, minorities and identity, which she finds she has an urge and responsibility to comment on in her art works. In the late 1990s, as social, political, ethnic and religious tensions mounted in Indonesia and culminated in exceptional racial violence, the haunting meaning of identity became an even more pressing consideration in her art. Having had to endure public perceptions of her “otherness” as an individual, that is, one with a white skin and European features, even the everyday question “asal dari mana” (where do you come from?) made her feel awkward. Confronted with racism, her understanding of minorities became even more profound. Fighting and struggling are part of human nature, she says. They help us learn to search for balance. This is revealed in Bule Bull, a cloak made of sliced horns linked together and looking like armor. Why horns? Because horns are used for fighting as well as for protection.