Saturday, May 19, 2012

Recurring themes


I have always love nature, and it has always been my space of solitude from the chaotic world.

Possibly, that is the reason for all my depiction of cosmoscapes?

I was born among the mountains in Temanggung, Central Java on January 1959. Though I was the sixth child of nine children in my family, I spent much of my childhood alone. Then, large families were seen as old-fashioned and indicated signs of backwardness and the other kids with only three or four siblings often made fun of my family. From an early age, I had to give in before peer tauting, aggression and ostracism- experiences that I believed have shaped my character today. To yield and not fight back was a way of escape, from all the societal pressures and problems, which was something that I had learnt then.

Most of the time, I’d quietly leave the crowd and go my own way, walking through rice-fields, in distant gardens or simply somewhere with nature (like springs, plants, animals or open spaces). These were places I often spent my time at, simply watching, observing and studying; somewhere I can be completely at ease with. These things were my greatest pleasure. Gradually, it become a habit and want to communicate with nature more than with human beings.

Art is a tool for expression, where I transform my emotions such as anger into colour symbols, for example, an explosion of live-coals red. It depicts my moods, the happiness and the unhappiness I get from my daily life and daydream experiences. And nature, being a source of comfort and joy for me, would naturally be presented in the space I’m seeking to vent out my frustrations. Like how I often depict free and peaceful natural environments, imaginations of the outer space, planets, sea waves and bimorphic rocks. It is a longing, I suppose, to be free from all the chaos of life and to dwell in the space I was most familiar with. 

Nuclear Explosion in a Wok III 1993-94
Oil on canvas
150 x 150cm

Influence from Javanese culture

One other recurring theme I have in my works are influences from the Javanese culture. 
The culture of performing arts such as shadow plays (wayang) are deeply rooted in the community, accessible to all walks of life, unlike the fine arts or literature, which are enjoyed by elites and the well-educated. Shadow plays (wayang) have been present in the lives of Javanese people for more than a thousand years, thereby being a part of every Indonesian's life. A familiar image for all. 

"Srikandi" and myself
spot the resemblance?

Srikandi is a work which is influenced by a South-East Asian legend of a strong, powerful character of Srikandi, a daring female knight character of the Javanese shadow plays who is brave and characteristically holds her head upwards just like the woman figure. Blue cloth worn by the figure is an adaptation where members of the women's armies who historically protected the Sultans of feudal Central Java wore blue cloth. 

1 comment:

  1. I feel that your work reminds me of Frida Karlow. Have you seen her work before? :)