Dadang Christanto

B. 1957, Java, Indonesia
Lives and works in Central Java, Indonesia and New South Wales, Australia

Dadang Christanto is an artist born into an Indonesian family of Chinese descent. He has spent his career honouring the countless victims of political violence and crimes against humanity. He studied painting in Yogyakarta, where he became an active member of the arts community, and later joined the Bengkel Teater group led by the celebrated writer and poet WS Rendra. Here he started to explore social and political concerns through literature, music and performance. In 1987 Christanto joined the Indonesian New Art Movement.

His large scale paintings, which are mostly spare renderings on raw linen using the human head as a recurring motif, express the suffering of victims and lay bare the anguish and grief that is endured in silence. The sincerity and rawness of emotion in his work is due in part to the circumstances of his own father’s disappearance when Christanto was a boy, yet the artist continues to produce art which pleads for compassion regardless of differing faiths and political beliefs.

Christanto was the first Indonesian artist to represent his native country at the Venice
Biennale in 2003. He has been curated into many other major art events worldwide including the Sydney Biennale (2010), the Yogyakarta Biennial, Indonesia (2003), Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2000), the Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil (1998) and the first and third Asia-Pacific Triennials of Contemporary Art, Brisbane (1993 & 1999).


Country: Indonesia