The name Sukri Budi Dharma is certainly no stranger to art activists in Yogyakarta. Sukri Budi Dharma, the man who loves to draw, is familiarly called Butong. Butong is an acronym for Budi Tongkat which refers to Budi who daily uses a cane to support his activities as a disabled person from birth. Although living in a military family environment, Butong is very attached and familiar with the art world since childhood.
Butong felt the art world brought him peace, painting made him more relaxed. He remembered very well that his first picture was a picture of a banyan tree in front of the house. When he studied in an elementary school, he was often involved in drawing competitions. This made him more challenged to work on new objects. His skill was increasingly honed when he entered a junior high school and a senior high school levels. His works were often appreciated by his colleagues and neighbors around the house. He was often invited to collaborate when there was a theater performance competition. “So, every time there was a theater performance, I was asked to decorate the stage behind it," recalled Butong while talking to Solopos via telephone, Sunday (6/13/2021).
Not only fine arts, little Butong also enjoyed singing, playing theater, and studying music. He was also surprised that almost none of his family had artistic blood. His hobby was then continued at the level of higher education by attending college majoring in Fine Arts at the Jakarta Arts Institute (IKJ) even though he never finished. After going through the ups and downs of life, Butong, who had studied again and completed a Bachelor of Psychology, finally returned to the arts. Painting in particular, seems to have accompanied his life journey to this day.
It's no exaggeration if he finally wanted to spread the spirit of art to the wider community, especially people with disabilities. Based on his experience, art is the most appropriate medium to bridge the meeting between people with disabilities and the wider community. The relationship between the two, which so far seems to have many barriers, can be more fluid with an artistic approach. Whether it is painting, music, or anything else.
In 2009, while he was still working in the cargo field, Butong was determined to create an inclusive community with the name Diffabel and Friends Community. According to the initial mission, the community which is based in Sewon, Bantul, was created as a self-actualization space for its members. The rest is used as a bridge that brings them together with the community. Their jobs vary, ranging from masseur, singer, translator, or Netra musician. However, there are also those who make the community a learning space and develop an interest in art. “Because friends with disabilities actually have a problem with themselves. Confidence, understanding about him is a bit lacking, so we support each other. We created dialog and the confidence from the medium of art. And finally, it is easier to accept. You don't have to have artistic talent, because we only use art as a meeting room between them and non-inclusions," he explained.
Butong then talked about his success in creating warmth between his members and the wider community. For example, he once made a drawing together around the headquarters by involving the local community. Through this event, the members became more flexible in interacting with non-inclusive residents. On the other hand, residents also understood and accepted the existence of his members.
On a number of occasions, Butong, also often invited his members to perform in public spaces. For example, theater performances at Tugu Station, during exhibitions in Bantul, or other crowded centers. Through this program, Butong wants to show the existence of his members. And also, to build public awareness. Not just performing or making paintings, he always wants to give his best at every opportunity. Their works were even appreciated and able to compete with many parties. For example, getting an award as an Inclusive Theater Community, being in the top 10 songwriters at the Yogyakarta regional level, as well as 1st and 3rd places in making murals at the national level with the theme of eradicating corruption. “For example, in the Pawiyatan event, drawing by inviting local residents. We bridge and provide an understanding that we do have differences, but in that activity our goal is the same, namely drawing. We build awareness through these little things,” he explained