Reflecting on the Journey of Indonesian Glass Painting

On Saturday (03/02), Dia.Lo.Gue played host to the exhibition CERITA KACA: Perjalanan Seni Lukis Kaca Indonesia (English: GLASS STORY: The Journey of the Art of Indonesian Glass Painting). Curated by Chabib Duta and Hermawan Tanzil, the exhibition showcases many remarkable glass paintings selected from various collectors and museums. The display delves into the long history of the art from its origins in 14th century Europe to its rising popularity in 70s through to 90s Indonesia.

CERITA KACA showcases many glass paintings from the collections of AD Pirous, Asmoro Damais, Benny Hadisurjo, Bentara Budaya, Cici Sulisto, Keluarga alm. Eddy Hadi Waluyo, Edward Hutabarat, Ghea Panggabean, Guntur Santoso, Ignatius Hermawan Tanzil, Iman Anggoro Soenarto, Iwan Ramelan, Janna Sukasah Joesoef, Krittayawan Boonto, Keluarga alm. Haryadi Suadi, Keluarga Rastika, Museum Gunoroso/Boediardjo, Museum Pangeran Cakrabuana-Cirebon, Max Suriaganda, Rosalia Sciortino & alm. O’ong Maryono, Popo and Melati Danes. These artworks are then divided into six zones according to the different themes and glass painting styles in Indonesia.

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The first zone consists of paintings with wayangs (Javanese shadow puppets) depicting the epic of Ramayana and Mahabarata. The second encompasses paintings with religious themes—showcasing the influence and culture of Islam brought from the Middle East and its interactions with Indonesian cultures. The third zone’s theme is folk tales that highlight glass paintings as fold art. Zone four consists of miscellaneous glass paintings placed in various functions. The fifth are depictions of the Chinese Princess and the Champa Princess—popular themes amongst Indonesian glass painting enthusiasts. The last zone is dedicated to spotlighting Rastika and Haryadi Suadi, two masters of Indonesian glass painting who played a huge role in influencing the techniques and styles within the craft. 

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The Indonesian archipelago first came across the glass painting practice some time in the 19th century. The practice steadily persisted before reaching its greatest demand in the nation from the 1970s through to the 90s. In this golden age of Indonesian glass painting, interest in the craft from the middle to upper class fueled the artform. With the elite patronage of the government also playing a significant part in pushing glass painters to evolve the craft through numerous new approaches. Today, local interest in glass painting is steadily dwindling with the number of both glass painting enthusiasts and artists growing smaller and smaller.

Glass painting, in the peak of its popularity, thrived in an acculturative environment. Keeping that in mind, as Hermawan Tanzil explained at the opening of the exhibition, CERITA KACA aims to revive the interest in folk art and introduce the rich history of the glass painting craft to a new generation of enthusiasts and practitioners. Hence the exhibition’s broad scope of the varying contexts of the glass painting practice, celebrating the craft’s perseverance throughout the shifts in Indonesian culture and society. CERITA KACA is open for visits at Dia.Lo.Gue, Kemang until April 19, 2024. 

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About the Author

Kireina Masri

Kireina Masri has had her nose stuck in a book since she could remember. Majoring in Illustration, she now writes, in both English and Indonesian, of all things visual—pouring her love of the arts into the written word. She aspires to be her neighborhood's quirky cat lady in her later years.