The Jakarta Post
What appeared to be four large blackboards bearing random words welcomed visitors of SaRang Building in Yogyakarta’s Bantul in late January. Upon closer look, however, the boards turned out to be paintings. Titled “Blackboard Series”, the paintings presented intricate techniques and were the work of Jumaldi Alfi.
The paintings are among works featured in the painter’s solo exhibition Foot Note, which will run until Feb. 21. It showcases paintings and sculptures that Alfi created from 2011 to 2019.
From a self-portrait to objects such as a cactus, stone, skull and animal figures, Alfi’s creations vary and are often presented with text in unexpected compositions and in a way that feels contemporary.
“In all honesty, I still think my work is still far from [good] contemporary art. But if that’s how the public sees it, I’m fine with that,” Alfi said during the exhibition’s opening on Jan. 21.
He said his style of painting was adjusted to his need to express his thoughts. “I grew up in a Minang culture with hardly any visual references, unlike the Javanese which had wayang or batik. So when I try to express my ideas onto a canvas, I tend to ‘speak’ verbally or through texts,” he said.
Alfi believes that paintings are visual words. His realistic approach shows its virtue in the clarity of his work. The mixture of classic aesthetics and Alfi’s messages, delivered in a contemporary way, creates interesting narratives that are apparent in the exhibition.
The painter also said that the exhibition aimed to address the essence of creating art and evaluating current artwork. A snippet of Alfi’s thoughts on this objective can be seen in one of the “Blackboard Series” paintings.
Alfi added that he hoped the exhibition could stimulate a dialogue on art at SaRang Building. “For the last few years, SaRang Building has become more like a gallery. I wish to make it more open as a community space and a room for discussion for all forms of art.” (wng)
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