Haris Purnomo

Haris Purnomo born 1956 in Indonesia, graduated from Sekolah Seni Rupa Indonesia (School of Art), Yogyakarta, 1975 and Sekolah Tinggi Seni Rupa Indonesia ‘Asri’ (College of Fine Art), Yogyakarta,1984. He began his career in the late seventies joining Indonesia Art Movement, founded in 1975 in Jakarta, and today is among the most important contemporary Indonesian artists. He has refined his technique over the years through tireless research work....

Haris Purnomo started painting babies covered with dragon tattoos over 20 years ago and has slowly included women and men into his oeuvre. Initially starting illustrating babies because “they were cute”, Purnomo quickly realized they could be a effective symbol for the Indonesian lower class. His portraits now include all ages, demographics and classes. Like some sort of branding or gang symbol, the faces he paints all bear a marking of a certain culture. They all belong to the same time and place. Purnomo was a painter during the time of the military dominated government of Suharto and his work shows a certain sort of forced introspection – a focus on pain and mysterious, subtle symbols.

His paintings are highly political as well as highly stylized. As a member of the Gerakan Seni Rupa Bary, The New Art Movement, and of PIPA, two innovative art movements from Indonesia in the seventies, he not only challenged Suharto’s power and the preexisting aesthetic, but also people’s understanding of their own culture. These are his own thoughts on why he produces artwork and it’s social importance:

"Once we are faced with the necessity to make a choice or a stand, everything that makes up our..."

Purnomo’s artworks are not only culturally relevant for Indonesia, but can teach us a whole lot about the human condition, it’s strength, fragility, resilience and adaptability.
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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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