ISA Art Gallery presents the ‘Mother Tongue – Are You There?’ exhibition from 16 September – 17 October 2023, showcasing three generations of Bandung artists with diverse backgrounds and media. This exhibition highlights how Bandung artists blend their mother tongue with contemporary influences to create stunning artworks that unite tradition with modernity. 

Bandung is renowned as a city of art and creativity, it has given birth to many of the country’s prominent artists, dating back from the Dutch East Indies era to now. The art scene of Bandung started to kick off and converge with outside influences and style when European colonists who resided in the city brought their artistic skills to the local setting. Not long after, the Bandung School of Art emerged in the mid-20th century, fostering communities of artists who exchanged ideas and developed the city’s fine art scene.

The union between two contrasting cultures are often hindered by language barriers, this is where art plays its role. The words these artists speak may be different, but art is their universal language and through it, artists are inspired to create hybrid expressions that overcome any limitations. Through these exchanges, artists are learning new words and phrases that may or may not exist in their native language, this will lead into new innovative styles that will further influence a new generation of artists. 

In this ‘Mother Tongue – Are You There’ exhibition, artists who implement their mother tongue in their work might include cultural nuances, historical references, and emotional depth that would be difficult to express in another language. With a diverse lineup of artists with unique styles and approaches, visitors will be able to marvel and discover the stories and journeys behind the Bandung art scene, from then to now. 

Meet the Artists and Their Works 

Artworks from left to right; Srihardi Sudarsono, A.D Pirous, Erna Garnasih, Gregarious Sidharta and Sunaryo.

Bandung School’s influence is evident in the works of Srihadi Sudarsono, A.D Pirous, Gregarious Sidharta and Sunaryo, who draw from the Western art movements. Their art reflects traditional Indonesian elements and landmarks, demonstrating the fusion of global and local cultures. While Erna Garnasih’s works seek to exude the soft and warm colours of nature in her seemingly ‘formless’ shaped flowers with a light palette that represents the serenity of nature’s realm. 

Some art serves as an exploration of art movements, styles, and colours. Yet sometimes it also serves as a message for a specific audience or encourages the audience to instead become active participants in the work of art itself, such as in the works made by Wildan Sugara. Sjuaibun Iljas and Deden Hendan utilise photography as an art medium, capturing daily life while infusing their imagination into their work. 

Zikry Rediyansyah’s vibrant landscapes offer a nostalgic escape from technology-dominated life, while Zahwa Gunawan empowers women through batik art inspired by Greek mythological figures, depicting solid and confident female characters. Whereas Nandang Gawe uses colours and strokes to express his inner psyche, tense and almost violent with his strokes, his works are explosive and deeply express the thoughts of the artist. 

Artworks from left to right; Dzikra Afifah, Bandu Darmawan, Trio Muharam and Galih Andika.
Artworks from left to right; Erwin Pranata, Arin Dwihartanto, Syagini Wulan, Andiga Purwanto, Egga Jaya and Tina Nur Azizah.

Bandu Darmawan sees the rapid advancement of technology and the creation of new innovations as a new medium and a way to create works of art. While Trio Muharam creates art that pulls in viewer participation and blurs the lines between audience and the artwork itself.  Galih Adika, Egga Jaya, and Erwin Pranata are exploring the themes of colours and strokes. The utilisation of different thicknesses of strokes and colours may indicate the urge to create abstraction. Through the manipulation of these aspects of their art, these artists are able to pour out their emotions and expressions.

Arin Dwihartanto, like early Dada artists, employed the use of chance. By allowing the liquid resin and colours to freely flow, it creates a work ultimately born of uncertainty and volatility. Arin’s distinctive signature is his use of pigmented resin as a medium, influenced by his impatience with oil painting drying times. Tina Nur Azizah’s porcelain doll-like faces in military attire provoke thought about the struggles of modern life in Indonesia’s metropolitan areas. 

Other artists like Agus Zimo, Andiga Purwanto, Syagini Wulan, Dzikra Afifah, and Yosefa Aulia will also feature in this showcase, bringing their best work to the vibrant and diverse collection in this celebration of culture and art. For more information about this exhibition and other showcases held at ISA Art Gallery, visit or follow their Instagram page

Opening Hours: 
11.00 A.M – 06.00 P.M | Tuesday to Saturday | 16 September – 17 October 2023

ISA Art Gallery at WISMA 46 – KOTA BNI
Jl. Jendral Sudirman Kav. 1
Tanah Abang, 10220
Jakarta, Indonesia 
+62 811 1317 023

NOW! Jakarta

NOW! Jakarta

The article is produced by editorial team of NOW!Jakarta