Jumaadi, Boekan Katjoeng (Not the ‘katjoeng’ (The Savage)), 2019. Acrylic on cotton primed with rice paste, 152 x 330cm. Courtesy: the artist, and Mosman Art Gallery, Sydney.
My Love is in an Island Far Away is a new contemporary art exhibition by international Javanese born artist, Jumaadi, which will open at the Mosman Art Gallery as a precursor to the 2020 Sydney Festival, in which Jumaadi will also feature. The exhibition also coincides with the 70th anniversary of the international recognition of Indonesian independence, and will travel to Galeri Nasional Indonesia in 2020, marking 75 years since Indonesia’s original declaration of independence in 1945.
Jumaadi draws inspiration from a major but little-known story in the shared dark and traumatic histories of Indonesia and Australia. Utilising traditional and contemporary art practices, Jumaadi has explored themes of colonialism, separation, exile, love and independence. Jumaadi’s gentle reflections on the concepts of origin, home, migration, love loss, longing and hope have humanity at their heart. His work asks the larger questions about what it is to be human. “Jumaadi has drawn his ideas from one of Indonesia’s most notable twentieth century poets, Chairil Anwar and his 1946 work ‘Cintaku Jauh di Pulau’ (My Love is in an Island Far Away)”, says Katrina Cashman, Assistant Director and Senior Curator of Mosman Art Gallery.
A central part of the narrative of this exhibition is the internment of Javanese political detainees who were forcibly removed from Java in the early twentieth century. They lived in exile firstly in the notorious Dutch penal colony of Western Papua in 1927-43 and then eventually in Cowra, NSW in 1943-44 at the request of the Dutch colonists during the second world war. “The stories of the two camps in Indonesia and Australia made their indelible impression on Jumaadi and have remained a strong inspiration within his artwork ever since,” added Cashman. The exhibition consists of more than 350 pieces of new work including a huge installation work of a ‘house’ with 120 paintings on the walls representing the 1200 Javanese detained at Cowra, an installation of 200 small postcard sized paintings and works on buffalo hide and rice cloth.
Exhibition Opens 6pm—8pm Wednesday 4 December 2019