Gajah Gallery is proud to present seventeen works by the late Indonesian artist, Wakidi (1889 – 1979). Formerly from the collection of the artist’s family, these works will be shown in Singapore for the first time. Since the tender age of 10, Wakidi studied painting and was deeply moved by Raden Saleh’s romantic, idealized portrayals of the landscapes in Indonesia. Wakidi also identified himself with Van Dyck, whose sweepingly effusive style had an immense following up until the Romantic Period. Wakidi was coined a Mooi Indies (Dutch for “Beautiful Indies”) painter, often depicting scenes of blissful harmony and natural beauty in landscapes, people, and architecture during the Dutch colonization.
Wakidi’s paintings capture the spirit of the era, embedding the lush Indonesian greenery and details of daily life onto paper with painterly strokes. Along with fellow contemporaries Abdullah Surio Subroto and Pirngadie, these three leading romantic painters of their time responded to the local conditions and developments through art. While European art history and its influences were important to Wakidi’s work, his paintings are widely acclaimed for the marriage of his knowledge of European fine arts with a tender awareness of the social reality of Indonesia.