Lottery of Indonesia

Lottery of Indonesia is a government sponsored lottery game that offers a number of prizes to its winners. It has been in the news for its controversial nature and Muslim leaders have demanded its abolition. This demand is based on the premise that the lottery game constitutes gambling, which is prohibited by both Islamic law and the country’s constitution. However, the minister of political and security affairs has stated that it is not likely for the government to abolish the lottery game because public support is high.

Lotteries are a popular form of funding for arts organizations in Indonesia, where they are commonly known as shio (fee for deviation). The lottery game is an important part of day-to-day conversations in rural Flores and the shio prizes fund everything from school fees to weddings and funerals. This article explores how the lottery can be reframed as an art practice and investigates the way in which art practices are using it to question and imagine sustainability in Indonesia.

Stephen Woodcock is an artist, writer and lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney. He is the author of The Spectacular Sublime: Art in Southeast Asia Since the 1980s and is co-editor of The Conversation AU. He does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond his academic appointment. This article is published under a Creative Commons license.