Struck by a nationalistic fervor that had emerged from post-independence Indonesia, artists strove to articulate a recognizable Indonesian identity in their works. Moved by similar desires, Javanese artist Haji Widayat shifted from the predominantly Dutch Bandung school to the Indonesian-run ASRI academy in Yogyakarta. Under the tutelage of Hendra Gunawan, Widayat’s work transitioned from the sweet, Mooi-Indië (Beautiful Indies) landscapes into the epochal, ‘magical-decorative’ style that marked his mature oeuvre. More on Widayat, Haji
Widayat, Haji (1919–2002) is a prolific and influential Javanese artist, Haji Widayat is recognized for his “dekora-magis” (magical-decorative) contribution to Indonesian art. Throughout his five-decade artistic career he experimented widely, working in an array of themes, styles, and media. Greatly admired for his extraordinary versatility and imagination, Widayat freely appropriated and adapted imagery from various cultural sources creating his own distinctive modern expression. He is best known for paintings of enchanted, fantastical worlds inspired by nature, myths, and folklore, religious literatures, and primordial states; his work featured Javanese legends, Judeo-Christian narratives of genesis and creation, and Papuan statues. Widayat often portrayed dense forests, deep-sea fish, birds in trees, primitive objects, and events around him rendered through a rhythmic repetition of flat meticulous motifs that densely filled the entire field. Alongside these stylistic investigations, he regularly explored abstraction and other modernist tropes. Although he predominantly produced oil and acrylic on canvas and watercolor on paper, he practiced etching and dry-point printing and painting on ceramics, and at times sculpture. Widayat was also an inspirational art educator: he lectured for over 30 years at the Akademi Seni Rupa Indonesia (ASRI – Indonesian Academy of Fine Arts) in Yogjakarta. By Clark, Christine
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