True Colors Festival at the Diffable Culture Week on November 21
By True Colors Festival Team
Yoana Wida Kristiawati (above), Program Manager of Diffable Culture Week chats with TCF executive producer, Audrey Perera at Rona Perjumpaan or, “The Color of Encounter”.
Organized by Diffable Culture Week in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, this annual event will take place mainly online this year in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The chat – covering everything from kindred spirits and openness to why the arts must be for everyone – will be broadcast live on Instagram (@pekanbudayadifabel.yk) on Saturday, November 21, at 7pm Yogyakarta time/9pm JST (GMT+7).
Diffable (“different abilities”), like us at TCF, believes that the arts can be for all. To that end, its yearly events are tailored to be inclusive for participants and audience.
This year’s event features a host of activities including an online photo exhibition, art workshops involving mainstream artists as facilitators and participants of all abilities, talks and dialogues.
Diffable Culture Week is funded by the Dana Keistimewaan or Privilege Fund through the Kundha Kabudayaan or Department of Culture of the Special Region of Yogyakarta.
We caught up with Yoana Wida Kristiawati, Program Manager of Diffable Culture Week, to find out more.
TCF: Hi Yoana, could you tell us more about what you do at Diffable Culture Week?
Yoana: As the Program Manager, my responsibilities include developing, delivering, and also evaluating and monitoring the eight programs we have. However, I would say that my main role is making sure that we could accommodate as many people as we can to join this event and push the agenda of inclusivity along in the process. My goal is to create events that are more inclusive both for the participants and the audience.
How does the event try to be more inclusive?
Some programs are designed specifically for participants with disabilities, such as Rona Citra (or “The Color of Images”), a virtual photo exhibition of 30 artists in Yogyakarta that is narrated in visual and textual form about how art gives meaning and helps them survive during the Covid-19 pandemic. This exhibition can be enjoyed on the Instagram platform @pekanbudayadifabel.yk.
How did the theme of Pancarona for this year’s edition come about?
Credit for the name Pancarona, which means “diverse colors”, goes to the Office Manager of this program, Putri Raharjo. Pancarona represents our belief and understanding that people have their own ‘color’. Some colors might look exactly the opposite of the others but when these colors interact, they create beauty and harmony. So, even though in this pandemic we think about ourselves while adapting, we still have to interact with each other because that’s how we can create a better and more beautiful life together. Our programs are all about creating human interactions. One of them, Rona Perjumpaan, an Instagram Live Talk, enables us to hear stories from other organizations in different countries, including from Audrey Perera, Executive Producer of True Colors Festival; Rona Ekspo, a product exhibition displaying works of people of all abilities; Rona Peran; an operetta performance starring people with all abilities; Rona Aksi; a dance performance that includes diverse-ability people, and others.
Q: You’re also the founder of Nalitari, an inclusive dance community in Yogyakarta. Tell us more about that.
I started Nalitari along with three other women. Two of us are professional dancers, the other two, including me, are people who simply love to dance. All of us feel happy when we’re dancing, especially when we connect with people through dance. However, in Indonesia, especially in Yogyakarta, where the traditional culture is strong, most people see that dance is only for a certain group of people. So, we created Nalitari in 2013 to provide a safe space for people to dance together. At Nalitari, we aren’t concerned whether or not people fit the “image of a dancer”, we only care that people are willing to dance and have fun together! We hope to be the leading voice in inclusive dance in Indonesia and globally.
You’ve done a lot of work to change people’s mindsets about building an inclusive society. What makes you so passionate about inclusivity?
Living in Indonesia has exposed me to diversity from a young age; whether it is a diverse culture, ethnicity, or religion. However, the experience has not always been positive – I have been on the receiving end of unpleasant treatment from others, mostly due to my physical appearance. I felt really sad when that happened, but I could not blame all those people that hurt me. Instead, I realized people reacted that way to me because they did not truly understand diversity and tolerance. That’s how I became passionate about building an inclusive society. I hope with greater awareness, we can put an end to the mistreatment of others. And since I love to dance, I use it as a tool to convey the message of diversity, tolerance, and inclusivity.
Tune in to the Diffable Culture Week 2020 panel discussion featuring TCF executive producer Audrey Perera on Rona Perjumpaan or, “The Color of Encounter”, on November 21, at 9pm JST (GMT+7) on Instagram Live (@pekanbudayadifabel.yk).
This interview has been edited and condensed.