In Memory of Amenkcoy: A Bold Voice and Social Critique in Graphic Art

“Dipreteli sugema, manufaktori odong-odong, rekayasa politik menelanjangi korporat, para pemuka agama kocar kacir, penggemar baju seragam anak perawan di balik bilik warung internet, hama bernama discount, swasembada obat perangsang, suara lantang dari kemiskinan, piston mesin ambigu, jual beli tikus kantor, buka tutup estetika posmodern, dan kamu yang bikin kesal aku terus!” (English: Stripped down complacent, manufactory odong-odong, political manipulation undresses corporations, religious leaders in chaos, school girl uniform enthusiast behind the curtains of the internet cafe, pests called discounts, self-sufficiency in stimulants, loud noises from poverty, piston of the ambiguity machine, sale of office rats, open closed postmodern aesthetic, and you, who keeps pissing me off!) These sharp and critical phrases accompany the straightforward and bold illustrations of Amenkcoy. The works of Mufti Priyanka, better known as Amenkcoy, have adorned exhibition walls, music posters, physical releases, and various product designs. Amenkcoy's passing at the age of 44 on June 7, 2024, left a sudden and profound sense of loss among Indonesia's art and design community.

Through his artwork, this graphic artist from Bandung captured the lower middle class urban life which is often overlooked by many. With satirical lines, Amenkcoy frequently depicted social-political phenomena in his illustrations—emphasizing messages of struggle and criticism towards those in power. The characters in Amenkcoy's illustrations often exhibit everyday gestures with a poetic flair. Additionally, many illustrations offer comedic gestures complemented by narratives pertinent to the people. Amenkcoy was also known for his vulgar illustrations; he openly depicted sexual activities and certain body parts, which, though taboo, are part of urban life.


In the journal "The 'Sleborz Aesthetic' of Amenkcoy a.k.a Mufthi Priyanka" by Lingga Agung and Novian Denny Nugraha, published by Atlantic Press for the 4th Bandung Creative Movement International Conference on Creative Industries 2017, it is stated that Amenkcoy's works dismantle the boundaries of establishment and can be interpreted as a rejection of the "truth," which turns out to be merely a construct by powerful groups. Responding to this, his works are contradictory to the establishment—what is planted as "good" in social, political, religious, and cultural environments.

In his graphic work, Amenkcoy tended to use traditional illustration methods with black-and-white colors and shading touches. Sometimes, his work consisted of scribbled words with social criticism messages on white paper. Amenkcoy generally explored color and form for album covers, merchandise, or music event posters. In the local music scene, Amenkcoy was a go-to graphic artist for collaborating with renowned musicians. Throughout his career, Amenkcoy designed visuals for White Shoes and The Couples Company, Melancholic Bitch, Seringai, Koil, THEMILO, Majelis Lidah Berduri, and many others. His collaborative works beautifully captured the character of each musician's music without losing his visual identity. News of Amenkcoy's passing was first officially announced by the band Seringai, followed by condolences from numerous musicians.


The loss was also felt by the zine scene, especially in Bandung, West Java. Amenk, as he was affectionately referred to, freely explored the zine medium named Sleborz. The Sleborz zine series—meaning reckless—also narrated urban life with a pop culture touch often found on the internet. Through this zine series, Amenkcoy empowered underground comics to be published. According to the official Bandung Bergerak site, Amenkcoy's involvement in the Bandung Zine Fest 2013 brought a new color by offering everyday issues in his visual narratives—not just trendy issues at the time. Sleborz broke existing zine conventions, making it a captivating visual experimentation platform for Amenkcoy. One of the most iconic Sleborz issues was the eighth volume. On the cover, Amenkcoy displayed artwork with a harsh expletive to the government, "Pemerintah Kontol" (English: The Government is a Prick [cock]) with the subtitle "Memulai Revolusi dari Tempat Tidurku” (English: Starting a Revolution from My Bed). This zine cover was considered very bold and defiant—challenging the government, which was quite strict in censoring visual works at the time. The name Sleborz was also used for his solo exhibition from June 24 to July 8, 2011, at Padi ArtGround, Jalan H. Ir. Djuanda, Bandung. The curatorial notes for the exhibition were written by artist Heri Sutersna, better known as Ucok Homicide.

Amenkcoy's passing is a great loss for the Indonesian graphic arts world, especially for those inspired by his courage and sharp social critique. As an uncompromising artist, Amenkcoy consistently stirred social awareness through works that combined the harsh reality of urban life with satirical humor and unfiltered vulgarity. Each of his strokes offered deep reflections on the social contradictions of daily life. Amenkcoy leaves behind a rich legacy of artistic and critical value, breaking societal taboos. His bravery has paved the way for young artists to continue exploring and expressing themselves fearlessly. In the spirit of postmodernism, Amenkcoy's works will continue to live on, inspiring and challenging our thoughts about art, culture, and everyday life.

Farewell, Amenkcoy. Your work will always record the voices of the oppressed and marginalized.

About the Author

Alessandra Langit

Alessandra Langit is a writer with seven years of diverse media experience. She loves exploring the quirks of girlhood through her visual art and reposting Kafka’s diary entries at night.