Hendra Gunawan is an artistic creator respected for his role in actively stimulating the development of modern art at the beginning of Indonesia's Independence years. His paintings depicts daily lives of people from different levels of society.
Hendra's growth was supported by his being allowed to paint behind bars, and even teach painting to whoever was willing to learn from him. An important factor that should be noted from this period is the change of color choices in Hendra's painting. Dark, gloomy colors transformed into bright and vibrant colors. These color choices are believed to be influenced by Nuraeni's paintings, Hendra Gunawan's second wife, whom he met in prison.
The Painting Estuary Flower is a visualization of these immortal words. After spending hours or days at sea, the fisherman returns to land, going through the same experiences over and over, life events that never stop being missed. "To you my flower my soul finds heaven", say his man in calm weather.
In the year this work was made, Hendra reaffirmed his position in being one of Indonesia's noted artists. After the years of captivity, his work became bolder following his first solo exhibition in 1979. "Only to his wife and children will a husband and father be anchored. A man's soul will only find peace within his family"
A few experts observe that the women playing the role of mother in Hendra's paintings are heavily influenced by memories of his mother, who was a significant influence in his life. The women figures are always depicted as having a multiplicity of roles that illustrate strength and bravery, but also grace and nurturing.
The unfinished Diponegoro figure in this painting inspires multiple interpretations. Some have said the unfinished painting refers to the unfinished struggle of Diponegoro that is passed to the next generation. The Dutch won the war and arrested the oldest son of Sultan Hamengkubuwono III, yet the painting still inspires strong patriotic feelings.
copyright 2017 Ciputra Artpreneur
Texts taken from:
Curatorial notes by Aminudin TH Siregar
Hendra Gunawan: A Great Modern Indonesian Painter by Agus Dermawan T. , Published by Ciputra Artpreneur
Photo credits: Ciputra Artpreneur documentation