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Keni Soerriaatmadja: International Arts Leaders Program

Jan 15, 2020

Dancing and performing arts has been a big part of Keni’s artistic platform. She has been dancing traditional Balinese dance since she was very little, and never stops since then. Keni is the Program Director at NuArt Sculpture Park in Bundung, Indonesia. 



What attracted you to the Leadership Program?

Meeting people from different backgrounds inspires me a lot, especially in a program that accommodates different perspectives like this leadership cohort. I believe, being in the Leadership Program will give me the opportunity to learn, not only about how to run art projects or art spaces, but moreover about how to mature our cultural understanding. Knowing that this program will run for a year, I think it will give me time to absorb and acquire new things but will also give me space to reflect on my journey in the arts field and calibrate my navigation in trying to reach better results in what we do as leaders in our field. In addition to that, working in a multicultural cohort will give me the chance to expand my network.

Why do you think it is important to develop Arts Leaders?

We are living in a changing world right now where different layers of people and generations are trying to esamble new tools to develop the arts world. It is important to have leaders who are aware of this situation who can orcherstate different instruments to compose meaningful acts. I come from Indonesia, an exciting country –known for its rich culture and we have hundreds and thousands of people working in the arts field. Our struggle to build a stronger infrastructure to support our works needs to be reinforced by the knowledge on how to magnify the impacts of the art activism performed in this country. Arts leaders should be able to facilitate these needs and moreover multiply their knowledge in order to reach more people getting more access to better opportunities.

Are there ideas around leadership that need to change for our sector to thrive? Are the current notions of leadership still relevant?

A good leader is like a good chef. It’s easy to cook when you have good ingredients but most of the times we are faced to deal with poor quality materials. A mature chef will be able to create good meals with nice presentation from different kinds of raw ingredients, added by some tasty herbs and spices to make it delicious and leaves us with taste that lasts even after the meal. A good chef will also consider for whom he/she cooks, where and when it is presented, and what kind of instruments they have to prepare the food.

Leaders should have this notion when working in different fields, with different people, different goals and even in different time. No matter what theory we use, at the end of the day, our job is to leave a good taste in the society.


Graduated from Ceramic Studio, Fine Arts Study Program in The Faculty of Fine Arts and Design, Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) in 2002, Keni received The Ganesha Prize Award from the institution as the Student of Excellence in 2002 and for that was given a grant to do a short program in The Netherlands. She choose to take a short module in The Amsterdam School of The Arts, focusing on Museology, from which she learned the significance roles of curators and program directors in museums and art institutions. Keni finished her master degree in Anthropology at the Faculty of Social and Political Studies at the University of Padjadjaran, Bandung, in 2019.

Dancing and performing arts has been a big part of Keni’s artistic platform. She has been dancing traditional Balinese dance since she was very little, and never stops since then. She realizes that Indonesian dance and performances has the ability to represent the younger generation’s spirit inside the local and traditional wisdom, and beyond that has the ability to build critical thinking towards the socio-cultural development in the society. Therefore, she created Sasikirana Dance Camp, a contemporary dance platform that are opened for young emerging dancers to get an intensive workshop in order to increase their technical skill, knowledge, and conceptual frame work. The dance camp has successfully being held annually since 2015 in NuArt Sculpture Park, an art museum and gallery owned by Nyoman Nuarta -Indonesia’s sculpture maestro where Keni currently works for as the program director.

Learn more about the 2020 Leadership Program participants.