Gajah Gallery is delighted to announce our participation in this year’s S.E.A. Focus, where we highlight two promising Indonesian artists: Rosit Mulyadi and Ruth Marbun. Merging traditional and contemporary techniques, their practices seek resilience in vulnerability, seeing strength amid the fractures and frailties of both the body and society.
Based in Yogyakarta, Rosit juxtaposes classical painting techniques and internet ‘remix culture’ to comment on contemporary social realities. His process involves recreating Old Master works in art history, then obscuring them with text or paint – rendering the original subjects and narratives elusive. Yet, he simultaneously imbues these works with new meaning and relevance to his locale. His works for S.E.A. Focus will explore a phenomen ubiquitous in his rural hometown in Ciamis, where many inhabitants move abroad in search for a better fortune. As majority of these workers are women with children, Rosit employs the iconic mother and child motif to capture poignant feelings of yearning that underpin the lives of these migrant workers’ families.
Jakarta-based artist Ruth Marbun is known for her visceral, contorted figures that capture subtle paradoxes of the human condition: fragile yet resilient, individual yet inherently part of a collective struggle. In her practice, she employs watercolour and acrylic paint along with layers of fabric to visualise figures that are constantly in progress, rather than fixed. Moreover, she emphasises imperfections in her work as part of her quest to document truth and embrace one’s flaws – seeing them as symbols of strength and humanity’s adaptability. Her works for S.E.A. Focus will continue her explorations into this resistance ingrained in human nature, using layered compositions to expose the myriad memories, mistakes and decisions that are at once deeply personal yet universal.
S.E.A. Focus runs from 15-23 January at Tanjong Pagar Distripark, where Gajah Gallery Singapore is also located. Coinciding with the fair, we will be holding a show at our space entitled Reframing Roots, which runs from 13 January to 6 February. We hope to see you at our booth and Gallery!