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Viral Jokowi mural sparks police crackdown, street artist speaks up

Tempo - August 16, 2021

Joniansyah (Contributor), Jakarta – The Halfway Connection Community (HFC) – the group behind the once viral 'God I'm Hungry' mural in Tangerang – on Monday regrets the police clampdown against critical mural paintings and street artists, especially after a mural of President Jokowi went viral.

"Us mural painters are only expressing art and not offending anyone," said HFC representative Deka Sike on August 16.

The latest example of what they deem police crackdown was the recent censoring of a mural resembling President Jokowi with a '404 Not Found' description covering the subject's eyes. The mural was painted on a streetside wall heading to the Soekarno-Hatta airport and has now been erased by the police.

Lately, police are reportedly searching for the mural painter which garnered a comment from the Metro Tangerang Police spokesperson commissioner Abdul Rachman "I'd like to ask about nationalism. What if your President is treated that way. The President is a state symbol, this is not about order but slander."

Members of the Halfway Connection Community are spread across a number of regions, which include Tangerang Raya, which Deka assures that mural painters work under the pretense of pure art expression. "But if there are violations then go ahead and process them."

However, he made it clear that the police 'have more work to do' apart from exaggerating the critical mural, especially erasing it. HFC's viral 'God I'm hungry' mural that spanned 12-meters and painted by 15 mural painters also met the same fate.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1495009/viral-jokowi-mural-sparks-police-crackdown-street-artist-speaks-u