I was fortunate to find myself at an exhibition by two of Indonesia’s founding contemporary print makers at Galeri Soemardji when I was in Bandung in May this year.
The two artists, Haryadi Suadi and T Sutanto, now in their 80s, have worked and studied together throughout their careers.
They were young contemporaries in 1964 when they set about establishing a wood block and silk screen printing studio at Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB).
Their exploration of print making and a re-interpretation of traditional motifs and themes expressed the political and social realities of the times.
There was plenty to comment on in Indonesia’s rapidly changing society and both artists were also prominently published caricaturists and illustrators in addition to their work on teaching graphic design.
The Galeri describes the intent of the exhibition to ‘build public understanding about the life journey of Indonesian artists that have distinctive properties; unique, authentic and reflective.’
Pameran ini diharapkan bisa membangun pengertian khalayak tentang perjalanan hidup seniman Indonesia yang memiliki sifat khas, unik, otentik serta merefleksikan
It was a wonderful privilege to be in the presence of these artists and to walk through a retrospective of their contribution to contemporary art.
The confronting figures, shapes and strong use of monochrome as well as bolder colours throughout the works reference an embodied arts tradition transitioning to contemporary practice.