Visual art in Indonesia. Introduction

  • Marianna Lis (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


The influence of the colonisers and the West on the emergence and development of modern Indonesian art is today still the subject of discussion among local historians and critics. Sanento Yuliman, the painter and art critic (1941 – 1992), often emphasised in his works that Indonesian painting was born from the encounter and intercultural relations between Indonesia and Europe. European painting was brought to Nusantara together with the arrival of Dutch colonisers in the early seventeenth century. Among the employees of the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie – VOC) were also painters who were primarily engaged in transferring landscapes and scenes of everyday life to canvas. Their paintings, offered mainly up as gifts to the local rulers, were probably the first examples of European painting to reach Indonesia. A similar position is taken by another critic Kusnadi (1921 – 1997), who emphasis that the encounter of local art with the art of colonisers was not a collision of two attitudes, but rather resembled the slow process of assimilation lasting from the arrival of the Dutch until the independence of Indonesia in 1945.