Tag Archives: Galeri Nasional Indonesia

Penangkapan Diponegoro restoration


The forty grand dollars worth of restoration made way to Raden Saleh’s three paintings. The 1857 realistic painting Penangkapan Diponegoro implies pejorative meaning towards the Dutch colonials.

A masterpiece by the first indigenous professional painter Raden Saleh, the Capture of Diponegoro in its various versions always embody the prestige of Indonesian art.

It is the glorification of “fall from grace” theme.

It is now the most celebrated Indonesian historical artwork, but repairing the damage done after being displayed for several decades in State Palace suggests a mistreatment at the hands of our own.

The patron of Indonesian old masters

The first president of Indonesia Soekarno was an art patron at the time when Indonesian art and aesthetics barely received world recognition.

His pride of Indonesian artisans went to a point that he appointed state palace official painters such as Basuki Abdullah, and later, Chinese-Indonesian painter Lee Man Fong, whose artworks were displayed in the state palace to make it more like Soekarno’s private art gallery.

The succeeding regime changed much of what the walls in state palace looked like. Many paintings were tossed away, like paintings by Henk Ngantung, a painter-turned-governor of Jakarta in 1964-1965, or carelessly kept in the humid storage room.

Half a century later, Lee Man Fong’s paintings are consistently fetched at exorbitant price at international auctions, arguably the most expensive name among Southeast Asia painters.

Currently it is reported that there are over 20 priceless surviving collection there, which are in talks between government agencies to be exhibited in National Gallery.

Hopefully the public gets the lesson beyond the mere exhibition, a lesson that can turn our attention such as to Henk’s scattered paintings, which his widow had to sold to make a living. The ones yet to be sold face a far more severe condition.

Ahmad Sadali in retrospective

Galeri Nasional

The  late Ahmad Sadali (1924-1987) was touted as the father of Indonesia’s abstract art. But the artist himself made a unique statement when he shunned people’s reference to him as an abstractionist, although he confided to his son that culturally there is no other way to describe his works besides an abstract.

In light of this puzzling dichotomy, Galeri Nasional from 25 June until 14 July once again showcased the local maestro’s works to bring back to life the arguments about the way this archipelago country perceives the language of visual expression.

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Huang Fong’s half century works in retrospective

huang fong

77 paintings of Huang Fong, a 77 year old proclaimed Indonesian master painter (pictured above) from Genteng, Banyuwangi,  is on exhibition in National Gallery, Jakarta, this month.

It is a retrospective of his 50 years dedication as a realist painter. Fong, a non-chalant artist who spent most of his life in Indonesia’snumber one tourism spot, Bali, delivered a speech that had helped the audience to forget it easily, a simple thank you wrapped in a sentence.

Him as a social being is a reflection of his abundant paintings, completed but kept undisclosed in the dusty corners of his room. The septuagenarian shows impeccable health as he is already renowned as a trainer for the morning exercise chores in his community.