JP Staff (The Jakarta Post)
Tue July 27, 2021
Ajeng Larasati and Dinda Darmawan might look like two ordinary best friends. However, these 20-year-old students are the personalities behind one of the most influential poetry accounts on Instagram, Sesakata.
Sesakata is an alternative art platform for those who wish to share and appreciate everyday life stories through writing and painting. The couple opened the account in July 2018. The name of the account, Sesakata, is a play on words. Sesak can mean both ‘dense’ and ‘tightness in the chest’, while kata is simply “words”.
The two women aim to help express people’s everyday anxiety in the form of handwritten poetry decorated with distinctive touches of abstract brushstrokes.
Sesakata’s journey began at a time when Ajeng was starting to feel anxious about life. Rather than drowning in anxiety, she and her artistic friend Dinda tried to turn these concerns into a work of art that others could appreciate.
Safe Space: Sesakata aims to provide young Indonesians with a space where they can express themselves through poetry. (JP / Courtesy of Sesakata)
“It started with a piece of paper written in pencil and scribbled with a brush. We uploaded some of the scribbles to Instagram, and beyond our expectations, our friends turned out to love the handwriting,” the couple explained.
The writings published on Sesakata’s account refer to many famous poets. One of them is Morgan Harper Nichols, an American poet. Another poetry story, Puisi Senja, is also inspired by local poets such as Theoresia Rumthe and Weslly Johannes. “They [Theoresia and Weslly] have great diction and love their work. And I learned a lot of new vocabulary from their poems, ”said Nia, the woman behind the story.
Sesakata has gained 217,000 followers on Instagram. The account engages its audience by allowing them to send their own stories via the Instagram question box, comments or direct messages. “We believe that everyone has their own anxiety and something to express, so that they can make Sesakata their understanding friend,” the team said.
One of Sesakata’s disciples is Sartika Lestari, a 20-year-old digital marketer in the IT industry living in Bogor.
“I followed before @suratdarisesakata and know @sesakata is created by the unspoken of others, and that impresses me. I feel represented and I can tell a story without knowing who the people are behind @sesakata are worry-free, ”she said.
Sartika believes that poetry, as a trend, is on the rise. She argued that people were drawn to it because the written word described a lot better than it said. Writing down your thoughts is also a stress relieving method for some people.
She was inspired to join the trend to help represent people’s unspoken thoughts using her own handwriting.
Some people say that these works are not genuine poetry because they write sentences without traditional figurative language or rhyme and instead use directly quoted spoken words.
Outside of control, Ajeng and Dinda don’t see themselves as poets or influencers. Some of their followers call them “artists”, but they think this label does not represent them.
“Some people call us artists and we are delighted, but honestly we think that we are just ordinary people who express our feelings through writing and painting. We hope that we can entertain and influence people to express their feelings. and to love each other, ”Ajeng and Lara said.
Jein Setiyanto Hendri, the person behind @setiyantohendri, an art account with 353,000 subscribers, said he preferred to be seen as a writer or an author.
Sesakata sometimes organizes exhibitions, like this one called “Memoar”, which took place last year. (JP / Courtesy of Sesakata)
Jein was also unsure when asked whether his writings could be defined as poetry or not. “I think my writing cannot be classified as poetry, in my opinion maybe more prose, but I prefer to call my story a story of quotes rather than a story of poetry. there are also those who say that my writings – both on this account and in my first book – contain poetry. “
“As far as I know, poems require an aesthetic of words, allegory and figures of speech. So, I think not everyone can understand their meaning just by reading them once, and that’s even more. true for ordinary people who have no literary training or interest in literature. I myself have a hard time interpreting the meaning of a poem, so I write something that can be directly understood by everybody.
Naya, a translator and English literature graduate who has written and read poetry since childhood, said the trend goes back years.
book of poetry called “Kita Dalam Tumpukan Kata” (We, in a stack of words).”/>Sesakata has published a book of poetry called “Kita Dalam Tumpukan Kata” (We, in a stack of words). (JP / Courtesy of Sesakata)
“I think this wave of online platforms, especially for poetry, first appeared on Twitter many years ago (around 2012-2014). People got creative with the 140 character limit so they came up with the idea of the mini poetry. It was the start of a lot of selebtwit [Twitter celebrities] such as @benzbara, @fiksimini and @zarryhendrik. “
Naya supports these writers, saying that what they write should also be considered poetry: “Not all of these stories use direct words, some of them use indirect words with many meanings, pragmatically. . If the reason someone said it was too short, just look to the top of haiku poetry. Haiku usually consists of three sentences. “
The future of the poetry industry
There is an industry in this trend because all of this work is making money. Sesakata saw his work transformed into a book and an art exhibition. Jein’s articles have been adapted into a book and podcast, while Puisi Senja has been adapted into a YouTube channel, podcast, and fiction novel.
But these people still have more dreams to achieve. They all hope to grow and continue to serve as a healing space for their readers. Sesakata, for example, hopes to create a space for collaboration so that they can meet their disciples, Teman Kata, and create a community for poetry lovers and writers to continue to preserve the art of writing and reading. poetry in Indonesia.
The pandemic may have slowed their dream down, but they carried on anyway. With these thoughts in mind, Jein concluded the interview with one final quote addressed to all of the people who have struggled during these troubled times: “Bisa sampai di titik ini, di tengah-tengah masa yang sulit adalah pekerjaan orang-orang yang kuat“(Getting to this point, in the midst of hard times, is the job of the strong).