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SINDOUTOMO SUDJOJONO (Indonesian, 1913-1986)


Sindoutomo Sudjojon was born in North Sumatara in 1913. His first artistic training came from Yudhokusumo, the father of artist Kartono. After his family moved to a new village, he studied painting with Mas Pirngadi and also the Japanese artist Chioyoji Yazaki. He received further education at the Taman Siswa Teachers’ College in Yogyakarta.

In 1938 Sudjojono and Agus Djaja co-founded the Indonesian Drawing Masters Association or PERSAGI, a group dedicated to revitalizing Indonesian art. The intent of this group was to work against the “Mooi Indie” style of naturalistic painting which was tainted by an association with colonialism.

According to the Jakarta Post:

A mountain, a coconut tree or rice field in Mooi Indie paintings in the eyes of Persagi artist S. Sudjojono were not merely objects, but reflected the ideology of a social system.

As Sudjojono matured as an artist, he developed a loose, expressionistic style akin to that of Van Gogh. He was politically active, and became a prominent political figure during the Japanese occupation. His art, including figures and landscape images, was increasingly dedicated to reflecting a socially realistic view of Indonesian life and culture.

After the war he was also one of the founders of the Young Artists of Indonesia — Seniman Muda Indonesia — in 1946. Sudjojono was also a teacher connected with Affandi who taught Trubus Soedarsono and others in Jakarta after WW II. In the 1950’s he worked with the Communist sponsored People’s Cultural Institute, and in 1955 he was voted into Parliament.

He was expelled by the Communist Party in 1958 — and in one anecdote he apparently chose his second wife Rose over the party — and this later saved him from the political consequences of the Communist purge in 1965.

In 1970 he received special recognition from the Indonesian government. Exhibitions of his work were held both in the Netherlands and, in 1980, at the Fukuoka Art Museum in Japan.

Sudjojono was active as a painter until his death in 1985. After his death his home in Jakarta became the Museum Padangwangi.

A major retropsective of Sudjojono’s work was held in Singapore in May, 2008.

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