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Indonesia’s Gifted Painter: Srihadi Soedarsono (In Indonesian)    
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Today’s A Journey through Aesthetic Realms will be presented in Indonesian, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish and Thai.

Thoughtful viewers, welcome to A Journey through Aesthetic Realms on Supreme Master Television. The beautiful archipelagic nation of Indonesia is known for her biodiversity and rich ethnic traditions. Thousands of years of respect for Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are evident from her architectural heritage and tribal dances, as well as contemporary arts such as paintings.

In today’s program, we will meet the great Indonesian painter Srihadi Soedarsono, whose artworks are sought after by both local and international collectors. They have been exhibited in museums and galleries as far as Japan, United States, and the Netherlands. The artist has won awards including the Piagam Anugerah Seni Award in Indonesia and the Australia Cultural Award. Like elevating poetry, Mr. Soedarsono’s paintings use flowing colors and light to depict the spirituality and richness of folk culture as well as the confidence and inner beauty of the Indonesian people. Let’s hear from Mr. Srihadi Soedarsono about the themes of his creations.

If certain objects are moving, that's what I love the most. But certainly they have their own characteristics, whether it is a landscape, a human object, or the dances, these can go on together. So I cannot tell which one I prefer, which one I like. Because it goes with a freedom to feel and face the objects which are very interesting. All are very interesting to express actually.

Once on the journey searching for experiences, I come to a point of dwelling on pure abstract form. From there, eventually I deeply understand the objects I work on. Just like the feeling improves during that searching.

Mr. Soedarsono is well known for his achievements in illustrating the lively movements of dancers on canvas. One great example is his depiction of a Balinese dance in “The Spirit of Legong.” Because of this exceptional ability, he became the only artist who was granted the opportunity by the Solo Sultanate Palace in Central Java to paint the royal “Bedhoyo Ketawang” dance ceromony. “Bedhoyo Ketawang” is only performed during the coronation of a new sultan or his birthday.

Bedhoyo Dance differs a lot from Legong Dance or Bali Dance. The relationships are different on the reflections on those two dances. These can differentiate our feelings. We enter into a soul, to understand that object.

I am also pleased to have the opportunity to work on that ancient and great royal culture, Bedhoyo Ketawang. Well, this is just a metaphor actually, the figures or the dancers in there, the metaphor. I have to express their inner quality and whether it is physically visible, but we have to put them as one to be a work of art, the accumulation of creative power, feeling and intention. And after putting them as a creation, that reflects the spirit which is seen on my work.

Mr. Soedarsono’s talent of portraying inner qualities is reflected not only in his works of ethic dances, but also in his paintings of still objects such as Borobudur, the largest Buddhist monument on Earth constructed in the 8th century. During the restoration of the temple by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizaion (UNESCO), Mr. Soedarsono’s artworks were chosen for its awareness posters.

On the examples of Zen Buddhism, there is a feeling moving in there. Well, eventually in searching for those essences, this feeling enters into some reflection, or through the course of time, the reflection bears a feeling or is driven by a feeling that pierces through space and time.

We see not only those objects. For instance in Borobudur, we only feel the freedom to feel, exist in there. So we do not see the freedom objectively; it is only a pile of buildings, consists of stupa and stones. No. But the freedom is based on our feeling and our soul drives. That it is the same, when looking at the dynamic figures’ movement in dancing.

On canvas, Mr. Soedarsono is a master in using colors to express his feelings.

When we start to learn to recognize colors, like we saw colors when we were kids, whether with many kinds of chalks, coloring pencils, these have their limitation as it is. But we have to use them for creation. Through our experiences, sometimes we cannot always get the color that has much range, until we have many types of colors, like the kids when they draw in school, have to look for the right color, until they give up.

They should not. With even one or two available colors, we have to be able to make use of them. We have to be able to express what we are going to do. So we have to create even with limited colors. Sometimes we have nothing at that time, there are only two or three colors. But we should be able to create a sense... it's enough. And actually, color is without limit, for example, with the nuances we can produce a work. So between green and black, it's just two. But the nuance is really so much.

That's actually a lot. We can feel it. Only with the sense we go in there. Thus it becomes an unlimited color actually. But initially there are only two.

When asked about his achievements, Mr. Soedarsono gives us a humble response.

Achievement, it’s actually difficult to answer, whether it has been reached or not. There is no limit on it actually. I myself also do not know when to stop, because when we started out on something, there are no rules when we must start or stop. Because it runs in our lives.

After these messages, we will be back with more on Mr. Soedarsono’s creative process. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Welcome back to A Journey through Aesthetic Realms on Supreme Master Television as we continue our show about renowned Indonesian painter Mr. Srihadi Soedarsono. As the subject of our discussion turned onto his career, the artist’s wife, Mrs. Farida Srihadi, shares with us a little anecdote about his childhood.

Mr. Srihadi was born in an artistic family. His grandfather made traditional high class batik cloth during the Dutch period. So when Mr. Srihadi was four year old, he designed his own batik cloth.

Since I was young, I have loved to make sketches, drawings.

But, at the time, I also did not realize when it started, because this is a long process, so it became experiences. Actually, it is like an accumulation of experiences, events, ultimately we have to create something.

It is a long journey. During formal education, we just learned to make art works, fine art, paintings, we just learn its elements. There is a line here, there is color, until it forms a composition. Now this is only the beginning of formal education. At a certain age we should have other sense of meaning, I mean, is there something interesting to see? I finally leave what we have in this formal education. Finally we enter into a feeling. What we want, we eventually have to create it on the basis of our own self.

Mr. Soedarsono explains that our feeling and desire to create is inspired by what’s around us and our introspection.

We ourselves interact with everything, whether it is natural scenery, or the things that happened in this world. We should start on the basis that everything is good. Nature is good. So, the inspiration came from the love for the environment. It is no wonder that we can start at anytime, whether it is on the land, in the sea, anywhere.

And whether to take figures or human activities as a theme.

Also with our consciousness, if we see reflection within ourselves, we see that we are just a being, created by something. Beyond our own power, there is the existence of this world or cosmos. So in our reflection, we are just a tiny part within this mighty power, which is the Almighty. Here we see the extraordinary creation beyond our human capability. Truly it is a beauty. Actually, the most beautiful thing is that we are also just a being created by the Almighty.

So we should only keep what is already good.

Do not damage it.

We even must maintain it. Because for me, I was amazed by the creation, whether I face the sunrise or sunset. So we must ponder it, and it eventually becomes a work of creation on canvas, for example. It is a process like that. It takes time, for sure. Reflecting, for example, viewing, or feeling astonished at how the sun rises above the horizon, how it emerges. This feeling also doesn’t come suddenly.

If Divine inspiration is the seed of creativity, then motivation is the sunshine and water. Mr. Soedarsono shares with us the purpose of his creations.

Nothing else but to work wholeheartedly, that gives benefit to others, because eventually we’ll leave behind everything we made. There is another saying, also Javanesse philosophy: “Memayu hayuning bawana.” This also means we do our best of what we will leave behind because all are for the world’s welfare. “Memayu” means to preserve. “Hayuning bawana” means everything is for this world beauty. That is my explanation.

But creating something, it must also be based on our desire. From the beginning, we wanted to create something good. That is the direction. So there is awareness here. Our consciousness will also try its best to make the work meaningful.

Mr. Soedarsono summarized the creative process as the combination of three elements.

It is the essence of three things: creative power, feeling and intention. If these are combined as one, if we deeply understand inside, if it starts from creative power, it is a creation. Feeling is to feel on something. Intention is a will.

We have a certain will, such as looking at the scenery we are going to paint. That process of feeling is also inside. So finally, it is also supported to be a creation. But we must understand all these three to be a unity of will until it becomes a creation of creative power, feeling, and intention.

Mrs. Farida Srihadi is Mr. Soedarsono’s art curator and a lecturer at Jakarta Institute of Art. She gives us a nice summary of the qualities of a good artist.

The core or soul of the artists’ works comes from their understanding of cultures, the philosophy of the culture of the artist itself.

So by observing daily lives, especially being honest to themselves, loving the environment, deeply understanding the spirit of the soul of the culture which nurtures them spiritually, they stand firm in their own world but they (also) have a vision that is very universal. Universal means being open to all possibilities or aspects of foreign cultures.

Any culture in the world, all of them have the same roots, which is humanity with culture, the civilized one. And I think it cannot be separated from humanity, the love to our fellow human beings, the love of culture, the passion and pride in one’s profession, one’s dignity as a human being.

Finally, Mr. Soedarsono has a message to today’s younger artists who wish to express their ideas.

With the relatively easy access to formal education, my suggestion is that only by hard work, looking for education that can achieve something, that supports their work well, you can find experience yourself, until you obtain a satisfactory result. Now it is up to those who would like to pursue their passion to work hard until they achieve something from that.

Our heartfelt thanks to Mr. Srihadi Soedarsono and Mrs. Farida Srihadi for shaing with us the spiritual and cultural perspectives of his unque creations. May your uplifting work inspire many to respect and preserve our world’s precious cultural traditions.

Appreciative viewers, thank you for your wonderful presence on today’s A Journey through Aesthetic Realms. Up next on Supreme Master Television is Vegetarianism: The Noble Way of Living, right after Noteworthy News. Wishing you many days of peace and happiness.

Appreciative viewers, thank you for your wonderful presence on today’s A Journey through Aesthetic Realms. Up next on Supreme Master Television is Vegetarianism: The Noble Way of Living, right after Noteworthy News. Wishing you many days of peace and happiness.

For more information on Mr. Srihadi Soedarsono’s paintings, please contact:
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