Dede Eri Supria: Urban chronicles (1994)

artdesigncafé - art | 25 October 2011
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Dede Eri Supria: 1 | Footnotes and references: 2

Dede Eri Supria: Urban chronicles - Footnotes and references


[1] A bajaj is a small three-wheel motorized taxi, with a metal body over a motor cycle engine.

[2] Letter from the artist, February 1990.

[3] TEMPO is Indonesia’s "TIME magazine". An excellent example of one of Dede’s covers is that of 18 February 1978. It is a close-up portrait of a Chinese-Indonesian, wearing a batik shirt and pici (a hat associated in various ways with nationalism, Islam, and Sukarno). The portrait of the Chinese-Indonesian, who is laughing jovially so all his nicotine-stained teeth show, is overlaid with the title “The problem of the non-indigenous peoples” (masalah non-pribumi)— a term which generally refers to Chinese-Indonesians. This photo-realist portrait evokes the dual position of the Chinese in Indonesia— as both the owners of the majority of businesses, large and small, and as a politically oppressed and often persecuted minority. It is hard to tell whether this laugh is one of mirth or one that hides acute embarrassment or fear. At the top are four Chinese characters spelling “Felicitations at the New Spring”, a variation on the customary greeting at Chinese New Year. The presence of this inscription must be seen in light of the fact that the use of Chinese characters or any writings in Chinese has been banned since 1965.

[4] When the subject is LEKRA or LEKRA artists, articles are frequently anonymous. An article about Hendra, in which several bitter and frightening paintings were described, which could easily be read as allegories of the 1965-6 massacres, was also anonymous (TEMPO, 1979). Most of the articles on fine arts in TEMPO are signed, and during the late 1970s, the two major writers were Putu Wijaya and Bambang Bujono.

[5] The latter works are in the collection of John McGlynn, Jakarta.

[6] The portrait of Kartini, champion of women’s education and officially designated a national hero, is engraved on one of the Indonesian rupiah bills. The engraving is based on a well-known photograph taken of Kartini when she was twenty-two (Nieuwenhuis, 1988: 100). The hyper-realism with which Kartini is depicted, as well as the image of the hair-drier, is a direct quotation (whether conscious or unconscious) of James Rosenquist’s work, F111 (1965), which it is likely Dede saw either in original or in reproduction during his 1984 visit to the USA.

[7] Research questionnaire, 1988.

[8] Letter from the artist, February 1990; author’s translation.

[9] This is one of the last works I have seen of Sudjojono’s with a clear political and activist theme. In the 1970s and 1980s, his work, when not portraiture or still life, becomes richly allegorical (see reproductions in Liem Tjoe Ing, 1978: 30, and Joseph Fischer, 1990: 28, Pl. 16; 168, Pl. 109; 169, Pl. 111).

[10] Apart from my own communications with the artist, I am grateful to Umar Kayam for comments about Dede’s work and attitudes in this respect.

[11] Dede is the subject of at least one skripsi, the baccalaureate-level thesis written by students at art academies.


Benedict R. Anderson. (1990). "The languages of Indonesian politics". In Language and Power: Exploring Political Cultures in Indonesia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, pp. 123-51.

Bambang Bujono. (1985). "Kontras tanpa Keharuan", TEMPO, (10 August), pp. 56-7.

Dede Eri Supria. (1979). "Realisme, Gaya Seni Lukis yang Nkaris Bangkrut". In Jim Supangkat (Ed.), Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru Indonesia, Jakarta: Gramedia, pp. 88-9.

Joseph Fischer (Ed.). (1990). Modern Indonesian art: Three generations of tradition and change, 1945-1990. Jakarta: Panitia Pameran KIAS and New York: Festival of Indonesia.

Claire Holt. (1967). Art in Indonesia: Continuities and change, Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Liem Tjoe Ing. (1978). Lukisan-lukisan Koleksi Adam Malik, Wakil Presiden Republik Indonesia / Paintings from the collection of Adam Malik, Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, Jakarta: PT Intermasa.

D. Mulyantari Maksiani. (1988). "Dede Eri Supria’s Jakarta: A new wave in Indonesian painting". Indonesia Magazine, 03 / XVIII (June-July), p. 70.

Rob Nieuwenhuis. (1988). Met Vreemde Ogen. Tempoe DoeloeEen Verzonken Wereld. Fotografische Documenten uit het oude Indië, 1870-1920, Amsterdam: Em. Querido.

TEMPO. (1978). "Realisme Setelah Sudjojono", (14 January), p. 21.

TEMPO. (1979). "Cerita di Balik Lukisan", (14 July), p. 23.

Zaman. (1985). "Dede Eri Supria, Yang Penting Menggaet Kebenaran", (3 August), pp. 26-9.

Dede Eri Supria: 1 | Footnotes and references: 2