Although the physical connection to one another during these recent times is much less than before, the world is more connected than ever globally through news and media.

Yoga calls for our human empathy for humanitarian cases despite the vast distance between us and the epicentre of the issue. Through his paintings, Yoga reflects on the refugee issue and how it relates to world history. 

The Road on the Bilad Syam 2
2021, Oil on Canvas
200 x 160 cm

The Road on the Bilad Syam 2 depicts a family of refugees having nowhere to go, forced to leave their homeland, walking and stranded on the road day and night. Bilad Syam or Bilad Al-Sham is the historical name for a wide area encompassing the middle of Damascus, Palestine, to Hejaz. In this area, many people have become uprooted from their homeland and families. Because of Yoga’s deep empathy and concern towards the refugee issue, Bilad Al-Sham has become a constant inspiration and subject matter in Yoga’s paintings. His artworks do not stress the political ideology or social issue that causes chaos in this region, but rather the need for basic human empathy in viewing others’ struggles.

2021, Oil on Canvas
140 x 120 cm

The subject in his most recent painting titled Mindfields still follows the theme of Bilad Syam, yet has developed a different attitude of art-making. The painting depicts a date tree with jute sacks covering the bunches of date fruits. The farmers need to cover and ‘incubate’ the fruit to protect it from pests and hot weather and keep its sweetness. Yoga witnessed this practice in real life and felt that this act reflects the inner workings of his mind during the recent isolated times. He views the increased studio and reflective time as a mental incubation to develop his artworks, lines, colour, gestures, and concepts. The time in his studio also helps to keep his thoughts from distractions and keep his focus sharp. Mindfields is the first piece of his upcoming series of works.  

Herru Yoga
(b. 1989, Batusangkar, Indonesia)

Herru Yoga pursued his passion and dedication for the arts through an unconventional route. Unlike his peers, he decided to leave the Indonesian Institute of Art, Yogyakarta, in 2008 to pursue French literature, graduating from Département de la Langue Français in 2014. His love for literature and culture, in turn, nourishes the contextual depth of his artworks. Yoga is the First Place winner for the Qatar Doha Youth Innovation Award for the visual arts (Globe Contemporary Art Categories) and the runner up for Asian regional (Contemporary Art Categories) Dhaka Youth Capital award, Bangladesh, 2021.

Yoga juxtaposes two historical painting techniques: the Baroque era’s mastery of chiaroscuro and the gestural handling of paint indebted to Abstract Expressionism. Yoga’s narrative works tend to raise the theme of history, humanity, current issues, identities and world figures, while at the same time attempt to build the epic and colossal energy missing from many contemporary art oeuvres.