Farewell to Getah Getih, an Evoking Bamboo Installation


Jakarta was one of the host cities of Asian Games 2018, along with Palembang. For that massive even, the capital city prepares itself in many ways. Not only preparing the arenas where athletes compete, but Jakarta also makes itself beautiful. One of the artwork installed prior to the event is the Getah Getih Majapahit.

The artwork. via Instagram/matajkt

It is a bamboo art installation by Joko Dwi Avianto. The bamboo artwork creates a stark contrast between nature and development. However, controversy arises when the artwork is dismantled. Here is all you need to know about Getah Getih Majapahit art installation.

History and Location

The artwork is installed at HI roundabout. via Instagram/purple13oct

Getah Getih is a 5.5-meter tall artwork, created entirely from bamboos. It took ten men, one week, and no less than 1,600 bamboos to install this rather massive art. The artwork is installed at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout, one of the most iconic spots in Jakarta. This artwork is commissioned by the government of Jakarta. It was even inaugurated by the Governor of Jakarta; Anies Baswedan.


People see a lot of things from this art. via Instagram/paulusbudi1

Getah Getih Majapahit is quite evoking. People interpret it in many different ways. Some even say they see it as two people having sex. Others find it looks like ginger, broom, and many more. It means that the artwork does invoke a lot of thoughts and emotions. However, the artist himself put a lot of works to insert many symbols in this installation.

There are lots symbolism going on here. via Instagram/bet.soy

First of all, the name Getah Getih Majapahit means white and red, the flag of Majapahit Kingdom and eventually Indonesia. The artwork is also supported by 73 stilts, symbolizing 73 years of independence of the country. Furthermore, bamboo has lots of great qualities such as sturdy yet flexible, firm, small but large in number, and many more. The shape also imitates the rope knot that symbolizes unity.

The dismantling controversy

The ‘head’ of installation. via Instagram/rickiputra

In mid-July, The Jakarta Forestry Agency dismantled Getah Getih. The main reason is that the installation has become rickety due to weather. Some of the braids even fall apart. They consider this as a public hazard thus the dismantling decision. However, it sparks a lot of debates. Many questions the decision to commission the artwork in the first place considering it cost more than half a billion rupiah to install. It doesn’t even last a year.


Some say its people having sex, some say it’s just ginger. via Instagram/egi_listanto

The dismantling is not the end of the line for the bamboos, though. Those which are still in good condition are stored in Ragunan and will be used as a bamboo house. There will be some sort of smaller bamboo park. They also replanted ground where the artwork was installed with groundcover plants and shrubbery. There is a chance that the government will install another artwork there.

The artwork. via Instagram/ibeksofyan

Government-commissioned artwork in public places always creates a lot of waves. There will always be people who oppose it because they don’t see the artwork is necessary. Getah Getih Majapahit is a thought-provoking artwork, even after it meets its end.

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