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18 October 2019 / leggypeggy

Contemporary Indonesian artworks on display

Gazing on Collective Memory by FX Horsono, 2016

Gazing on collective memory by FX Harsono, 2016

Art as purifying dialogue (Seni penjernih dialog) by Tisna Sanjaya, 2019

1. Art as purifying dialogue (Seni penjernih dialog) by Tisna Sanjaya, 2019

Back in June, four of us visited this exhibition, Contemporary Worlds: Indonesia, being shown at the National Gallery of Australia. I meant to write about at the time, but then we travelled extensively.

Just today I noticed that this exhibition closes in nine days, so I thought I’d better get something posted.


The arts in modern Indonesia have been affected by three periods. It flourished under the enlightened policies of President Sukarno (1945–65). But the regime of General Suharto (1966–98) was brutal, oppressive, right-wing and corrupt. His New Order dictatorship had a devastating impact on artists, the intelligentsia, ethnic Chinese, the environment and the whole of Indonesia’s social fabric. The years since 1998 are known as the Reformasi (reformation) era.

Ladies and gentleman! Kami, present Ibu Pertiwi!, 2018 by Zico Albaiquni

Ladies and gentleman! Kami, present Ibu Pertiwi!, 2018 by Zico Albaiquni

This show is a selection of art from the Reformasi era, which has seen a freeing up in thinking and liberties across many topics that are important to this huge South East Asia country and one of Australia’s closest neighbours. The exhibit has 54 pieces by 24 Indonesian artists who have been working since the fall of President Suharto.

The first pic in this post is by 70-year-old FX Harsono. He is the senior artist at the exhibition. Most of the other exhibitors are quite young.

Shelters by Albert Yonathan Setyawan, 2018

3. Daughter Libby strolls between Shelters (floor installation) and Mind the gap.

1001st island—the most sustainable island in archipelago by Tita Salina

4. 1001st island—the most sustainable island in archipelago by Tita Salina, 2015

Indonesian neon visual art

5. Neon work by Uji ‘Hahan’ Handoko Eko Saputro and Adi ‘Uma Gumma’ Kusuma, 2018–19

Below, I have added notes about five pieces. The captions don’t let me include enough information. The numbers let you know how images and explanation connect. 

Family portraits

Indonesian family portrait series by Akiq AW, 2017

1. Art as purifying dialogue (Seni penjernih dialog) is displayed at the entry to the exhibition. It was specially commissioned for Contemporary Worlds: Indonesia.

2. This dress is composed of many ceramic panels. Created by Mella Jaarsma in 2013, the piece is titled The Landscaper. Every panel shows a rural scene of Indonesia. The lefthand photo shows the dress and a video (in the background) with someone dancing in the dress. Totally captivating.

3. Shelters is by Albert Yonathan Setyawan, 2018–19. Mind the gap is by Faisal Habibi, 2015.

4. 1001st island—the most sustainable island in archipelago by Tita Salina has been created out of plastic waste fished out of Jakarta Bay. It is held together with fishing net. The video in the background shows plastic being gathered and then shows the island being floated in the sea.

5. Silent operation: sign study based on the formula of contemporary (visual) art by Uji ‘Hahan’ Handoko Eko Saputro and Adi ‘Uma Gumma’ Kusuma, 2018–19.

Do you have  favourite piece?

Throw away peace in the garden

Throw away peace in the garden by Eko Nugroho, 2018

Carnival trap, 1 and 2

Carnival trap 1 and 2 by Eko Nugroho, 2018



Leave a Comment
  1. Eliza Ayres / Oct 18 2019 9:07 am

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Gilda Baxter / Oct 18 2019 9:15 am

    Great exhibition with some very interesting pieces, I am glad you managed to post about it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. macalder02 / Oct 18 2019 9:18 am

    It is a very interesting exhibition and how good you have the photos that give us an idea of ​​its importance. Great post. Health

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Julie Manley / Oct 18 2019 9:26 am

    Must go, glad you reminded me. I did some stuff on Indonesian art years ago, and I seem to recall that Suharto’s own personal art collection was atrocious.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. dfolstad58 / Oct 18 2019 10:25 am

    I am conservative artwise, I liked the first one and neutral on the plastic waste island. I do like colour and art that is recognizable. My wife the art for our home but did get me a nice Mona Lisa print in a beautiful frame.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. paolsoren / Oct 18 2019 12:18 pm

    Fantastic range of concepts and materials. It’s a real shame that these exhibitions do not tour. Australia is so vast we need to have important exhibitions in all the state galleries. Maybe the main one to stay in Canberra and a representative smaller exhibition to tour.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Oct 18 2019 3:22 pm

      I agree. I would be great if more exhibits travelled. In the meantime, I’ll do my best to share what goes on in Canberra.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Brian Lageose / Oct 18 2019 2:53 pm

    Having a hard time picking a favorite. Conceptually, I like “The Landscaper” and “Shelters”, but I’m also drawn to the colors in the “Carnival” pieces…

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Oct 18 2019 3:24 pm

      There is so much going on in the Carnival pieces. I love it. Did you notice the face and the feet?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lynette d'Arty-Cross / Oct 18 2019 3:53 pm

    Wow. Interesting pieces! I also like “The Landscaper.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. beetleypete / Oct 18 2019 9:33 pm

    Such an unusual mix of striking exhibits, Peggy. I was really drawn to those ‘Family Portraits’.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Oct 19 2019 8:15 am

      The portraits reflect the fact that families are very different from one another.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Sharon Bonin-Pratt / Oct 19 2019 2:07 am

    This is a fascinating exhibit as it showcases local artists using contemporary materials to reflect on current social conditions. The best art does exactly this – makes the viewer think about our place in the world, the history of the human experience, and what the future may look like.

    My favorite, based on what I see here, is The Landscaper, a captivating concept that immerses the viewer in culture and history. But every piece would have me looking and thinking for a very long time were I at the museum. Thank you for the tour, Peggy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Oct 19 2019 8:17 am

      You are most welcome. It was fascinating to see a person dancing in The Landscaper.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. derrickjknight / Oct 19 2019 3:13 am

    Of the installations, no 4 is my favourite, but overall it is Throwaway piece in the garden

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Curt Mekemson / Oct 19 2019 3:40 am

    I thought the throw away piece to be the most intriguing, Peggy, and disturbing: the neon work the most amusing. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  13. colorful and informative!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The Whitechapel Whelk / Oct 19 2019 2:31 pm

    Went to the Victoria and Albert Museum in town the other day, Pegleg. Fantastic place for art and design through the centuries. Great place to spend a wet London afternoon. Almost as good as the pub!

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Oct 19 2019 3:11 pm

      I’ve been to the Victoria and Albert Museum just once. It’s fabulous. If only they served beer. Or maybe they do!

      Liked by 2 people

      • The Whitechapel Whelk / Oct 19 2019 4:37 pm

        You may well regard that as a possibilty, Pegleg. I couldn’t possibly comment.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Oct 19 2019 8:23 pm

        Next time I’m in London, I’ll shout you a beer at the V&A.

        Liked by 2 people

  15. bythelbblog / Oct 19 2019 11:57 pm

    These pieces are interesting and lovely! Art is such a personal reflection of culture that you’d otherwise only see from afar. That inside peek is endlessly fascinating to me. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Diane / Oct 20 2019 1:26 pm

    What interesting exhibits! Thanks for sharing them…I love your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. vinneve / Oct 20 2019 6:54 pm

    Different artwork indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sy S. / Oct 21 2019 12:06 pm

    The first think that comes to mind about Indonesian Artwork and related is “Indonesian Shadow Puppets” And you have a image of this and interesting that the screen (which is usually black and white (shadows on puppets) is an illuminated Digital Screen and in color. The Indonesian Family Portrait Series has 4 pieces of artwork and each had one boy and one girl. The 1001st Island, is a reminder how the oceans are being destroyed with litter, very bad. And finally I Love colors so the Carnival trap 1 and 2 get my vote.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Oct 21 2019 10:17 pm

      I love colours and red, so my votes go to the first and last.


  19. CarolCooks2 / Oct 22 2019 12:15 am

    I love the carnival pieces so vibrant you have captured some beautiful images and memories some outstanding exhibits 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Oct 22 2019 9:02 am

      I think the colour reflects the fact that Indonesia society is brighter.


  20. Phil Huston / Oct 22 2019 2:04 am

    I would have to vote for the Collective Memory light sculpture as those sorts of things mesmerize me. Art as purification of dialog is a concept to me, not a creation. The modern art within art piece full of reds makes the dialog statement. And god forbid there is a floating mass of plastic the size of Mexico off the South American coast! And dancing in a ceramic art panel dress? Brings modern dance to a whole new level that would require the panels to be projected on the stage for the audience…Cool stuff! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. pvcann / Oct 22 2019 2:26 am

    I like them all, but number 1 is my top one because of the concept of redeeming events, speech, etc. hope!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. jeanleesworld / Nov 4 2019 2:28 pm

    So many fascinating pieces! I feel like these would all be larger than life in person.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. tony / Nov 19 2019 1:06 pm

    This was a really important exhibition at the NGA. I think you captured the works and the spirit of the exhibition extraordinarily well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 19 2019 1:21 pm

      Thanks Tony. Very glad we got to the exhibit.


  24. Stuart Bush / Nov 26 2019 4:45 am

    I found Ladies and gentleman! Kami, present Ibu Pertiwi!, 2018 by Zico Albaiquni a really interesting paintings. The colours have strength, warmth and energy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Nov 26 2019 8:27 am

      I agree. It’s a powerful and intense artwork.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Stuart Bush / Nov 26 2019 8:23 pm

        Reminds a little of Degas, ’Combing the Hair’. If you ever fancy cross-posting you know where I am. Nice to meet you and read your blog. Stuart

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Nov 26 2019 8:59 pm

        I don’t often cross-post, but will be happy to when I find a good fit.



  1. Contemporary Indonesian artworks on display — Where to next? – Truth Troubles

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