Mahesa Almeida on "NEW OLD STOCK" Exhibition and His Fascination with Pop Culture Collectibles

Mahesa Almeida's bold and straightforward strokes adorn the walls of the Sunset Limited gallery in South Jakarta. His artworks, displayed on the walls and propped in corners, evoke curiosity about the forms on canvas and seemingly random yet harmonious spray paint patterns within a single frame. NEW OLD STOCK, the solo exhibition title by this artist who holds a master's degree in illustration from Tama Art University in Tokyo, has been open to the public since May 30. New Old Stock (NOS), Mahesa explains, is a term commonly used in the world of buying and selling goods. In an interview with Grafis Masa Kini, Mahesa admits that he and his art are closely tied to the world of buying and selling pop culture items. "Like toys, video games, comics, and more; these items are a significant source of inspiration for my work," Mahesa revealed.

As a visual artist, Mahesa often finds inspiration in places where items are bought and sold, such as toy stores and second-hand shops or recycle shops. Drawing from this inspiration, NEW OLD STOCK is an exhibition that showcases the influences on Mahesa's work, particularly the world of buying and selling pop culture goods. In the exhibition's curatorial text, Fandy Susanto writes that Mahesa Almeida's creative space has always been filled with various toys, books, comics, decorations, and video games. "Entering his space feels like stepping into a second-hand shop in Tokyo, with items piled high—some neatly displayed, others stored away, and his newly purchased items scattered on the sofa," Fandy Susanto describes. Mahesa has brought the same atmosphere from his workspace to the Sunset Limited gallery with his artworks. "For this solo presentation, he’s taking over an entire wall, displaying, drawing, pinning his works, and whatnot. We decided to invite him to bring a slice of his habitat here and let him play as he always does," Fandy Susanto explains.


The NEW OLD STOCK exhibition features both old and new works by Mahesa Almeida. Each piece has undergone its own process. Among the array of Mahesa's exhibited works, some have been created gradually over seven years. "Often, after working on several pieces, only one or two are considered finished. The rest wait for some time before being resumed," Mahesa shares. The exhibited works were initially created for Mahesa Almeida's private studio to resemble a game corner or recycle shop. "So to achieve the desired atmosphere or impression, it takes time to wait—think—before moving to the next level," the artist adds.

Mahesa has long explored various mediums in his work. In the curatorial notes for the NEW OLD STOCK exhibition, Fandy Susanto writes: "His bold use of unusual mediums, such as using industrial markers on silver-coated wood combined with a plastic toy soldier, shows his playful approach to art." Mahesa himself explains that the medium used is a combination of previously used mediums with a touch of new mediums blended into a cohesive piece. He admits that in his creative process, he always tries to use multiple mediums. "At one point, I might be very focused on spray paint, and shortly after, I could be very interested in markers," he reveals. In his exploration of mediums, what matters most to Mahesa is achieving the desired texture and result. "The sense of 'completion' emerges naturally during the process of creating a work," Mahesa says.

NEW OLD STOCKis a highly personal solo exhibition for Mahesa, reflecting his artistic journey over the years. The works displayed were initially created for personal amusement, serving as a safe space for the artist to express his feelings and thoughts. "The original purpose was not for gallery exhibitions, but for personal use in my home studio. However, Sunset Limited provided a free space for expression, allowing me to showcase what I truly want in a way that I genuinely like," Mahesa reveals. Besides being a reflection of his journey, this exhibition also notes that Mahesa's approach to his work, both in thought and concept, tends to be stable—there has been no drastic evolution from past to present. However, in terms of medium, Mahesa continues to try new things and seek further exploration with his work. "The concept of using 'what already exists,' combining various media, drawing inspiration from pop culture and recycle shops, creating works that 'constantly evolve'...all of that remains," Mahesa concludes. Mahesa Almeida's solo exhibition,NEW OLD STOCK, is open until June 29.

About the Author

Alessandra Langit

Alessandra Langit is a writer with seven years of diverse media experience. She loves exploring the quirks of girlhood through her visual art and reposting Kafka’s diary entries at night.