Art Detail | Ilham Gallery
The Follower
The Follower

The Follower is made up of badges from schools, political parties, churches, and companies from all corners of the Indonesian archipelago. The form it takes is a jilbab, a long outer garment worn by some Indonesian Muslim women. The artist’s work often engages garments as a means of shelter, protection, and communicating beliefs. This particular piece was made as a response to the Bali terrorist bombings in 2002, and the resulting global perception of Indonesia as home to Islamic terrorists. Through the diverse tapestry of badges, she seeks to communicate the multicultural facets of Indonesian society.

Embroidered emblems
150 x 40 cm
Credit Line:
Collection of ILHAM Foundation
© Mella Jaarsma
About Mella Jaarsma

Born in the Netherlands, Jaarsma went to Indonesia to study at the Institute of Art in Jakarta and Yogyakarta in the 1980s. She has resided in Indonesia ever since. Jaarsma creates garments as a means of exploring how clothing constructs and negotiates personal and group identities. She uses animal skins, batik motifs, embroidered badges of social groups and Indonesian military uniforms. Jaarsma is a co-founder of one of Indonesia’s most influential contemporary art spaces, Cemeti Art House. She has exhibited widely, including

shows in Australia, Vietnam, Italy, Japan and Albania. Her solo exhibition, De meeloper/The follower, was held at the Artoteek, The Hague, in 2006, and her work was featured at Fashion Accidentally, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei in 2007. She was an artist-in-residence at Rimbun Dahan, Malaysia.