Studio Kalahan was founded in 2001 by Heri Dono. The building was formerly functioned as a Dutch police residence in 1933. It was once also used as a ceramic production house and an elementary school. Later it became the residencial place of Mahatmo Siswoyo, or known as Ndoro Momo, who was still the relative of Yogyakarta’s 7th Sultan Hamengku Buwono.

The name Kalahan is inspired by the Salon des Refusés, French for “exhibition of rejects”, which is generally an exhibition of works rejected by the jury of the official Paris Salon, but the term is most famously used to refer to the Salon des Refusés of 1863. Some of the rejected works included the works of Gustave Courbet, Édouard Manet, and Camille Pissarro.

The name Kalahan also comes from a Hollywood movie, Dirty Harry (1971). The story is about a police officer named Harry Callaghan, played by Clint Eastwood. His character is a brutal officer who frustrated with the incompetent bosses and the increasing violent urban crime. Literally, the name Kalahan means “compliant”. We chose to comply, because we want to explore imperfections and failure in arts.

We believe that imperfections, mistake and failure are blessing of the creative process. As in Dirty Harry, in which the main actor is a hero who comes out of chaos, Studio Kalahan is trying to build the new infrastructure from a chaotic system. Studio Kalahan is Heri Dono’s private studio. But since 2014, it is more like a cultural pocket. We open our doors for young artists who want to have their exhibition/discussion/performance here.