My Wife and I, at the Second Bell (1973) by Hendra GunawanCiputra Artpreneur
With free, sweeping strokes of his brush, and by using a deformative style, Hendra Gunawan depicts a man and a woman tightly embracing. The man is seen hugging her with great affection. The woman appears resigned and reluctant to be released.
This scene of the loving couple is set against a backdrop of walls and iron bars.
Hendra Gunawan's first wife, Karmini, spoke about this unique scene. She said that this scene was inspired by real events that happened in prison, when Hendra was put behind bars as a political prisoner in 1976.
Karmini would always visit Hendra in his cell, and usually a bell would ring 10 minutes before visiting hours ended and another would be heard five minutes later, which Hendra called, “the second bell.”
Hendra and Karmini would spend the remaining 5 minutes in an intimate embrace. They would sit together, hugging each other tightly until the third, final bell separated them.
On the bottom right of the canvas we see the word, "besuk," an Indonesianized adaptation of the Dutch word "bezoek," which means "to visit."
Hendra, the founder of the Pelukis Rakyat studio in Yogyakarta, was incarcerated from 1967 to 1978 in the Kebon Waru political prison, located in Bandung. From his prison cell, the painting My Wife and I, at the Third Bell on Visiting Day, was created.
copyright 2020 Ciputra Artpreneur
Texts taken from:
Painting description by Agus Dermawan T.
Prisoner of Hope: 100 Years Hendra Gunawan curated by Aminudin TH Siregar and Agus Dermawan T.
Photo credits: Ciputra Artpreneur documentation