Police in Tangerang city, Banten have questioned witnesses regarding a graffiti, which, depending on your outlook, painted President Joko Widodo in either a satirical or a negative light.
The graffiti, found on a wall under the airport train railway bridge in Batuceper district, depicted Jokowi’s face but with a red bar covering his eyes and the text “404: Not Found” written on it. Photos of the artwork circulated widely over the weekend, inspiring netizens to trend #Jokowi404NotFound on Twitter.
While most Indonesians only recently learned about the graffiti, local residents said that it actually appeared around two or three months ago.
Batuceper sub-precinct chief David Purba said that the police have questioned two witnesses as they seek to identify the graffiti artist. The graffiti itself was blacked out with paint by authorities on Friday.
On the other hand, Tangerang City Metro Police’s spokesman Abdul Rachim said that authorities had to paint over the mural as it closely resembled Jokowi as someone who should be revered in the country.
“We as authorities of the state see that the figure of the president was depicted in such [a derogatory way]. He’s the head of the state, the symbol of the state. In the media, [people can] differently interpret [the graffiti’s] appearance. But for us, he’s the leader, the supreme commander of the Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) and the National Police (Polri),” Tangerang City Metro police Abdul Rachim said, justifying painting over the graffiti.
Other graffiti works criticizing the government were also in the spotlight recently, prompting authorities to paint over them as well.
“Art Should Comfort the Disturbed and Disturb the Comfortable”
(Cesar A. Cruz) pic.twitter.com/0D6DPV6cgx
— andi setiawan (@milikandi) August 12, 2021
In East Java’s Pasuruan regency, graffiti depicting two cat-like figures accompanied with the text “Forced to be healthy in a sick country” — an apparent dig at the government’s pandemic handling — was covered up with yellow paint by authorities last week. Pasuruan’s Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) said that the measure was taken in accordance with laws prohibiting vandalizing public facilities, as well as due to the graffiti’s “provocative tone.”
In late July, graffiti featuring a large text that reads, “God, I’m hungry,” which initially appeared to be a protest against mobility curbs and the lack of social aid in the country, was found on a roadside wall in Tangerang regency. Police later found the artist, but did not charge him as he claimed that the message of his art work had nothing to do with any government policy. Nevertheless, the graffiti has been covered with black paint.
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