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Untung Suropati as interpreted by Sudjojono (lot # 108)

108

This is S. Sudjojono’s interpretation of Untung Suropati, an historical character who happened to be honored as an Indonesian national hero in 1975. It seems that the character might have caught Sudjojono’s attention when he was doing research for the large mural about Sultan Agung’s 1628-29 unsuccessful siege of Batavia (completed 1974), displayed at the Jakarta History Museum on Taman Fatahilah.

According to the epic Babad Tanah Jawi, Untung Suropati was a slave who originated from Bali. A Dutch officer by the name of Moor attributed the rise his career and the increase of his wealth to his acquisition of his new slave, and decided to call him “Untung” (which means “fortune”).

Later, when he found out that Untung and his daughter Suzanne were getting involved deeper and deeper in a love affair, he decided to imprison him.  However Untung gathered his prison mates and managed to escape from prison and became fugitives.

Untung eventually acquired the named Surapati from the Sultan of Cirebon. He went on to Kartasura, where he was kept under the aegis of Sultan Amangkurat II. Untung Surapati was best known for killing Captain Tack, a Dutch officer who was sent to Kartasura to capture him, in 1686.

Untung Surapati went on to become the ruler of Pasuruan, still under the auspices of Sultan Amangkurat II. Following the Sultan’s death in 1703, his successor Amangkurat III came in conflict with Pangeran Puger (a son of Amangkurat I) and fled to Pasuruan. When the Dutch forces launched an attack on Pasuruan in 1706, Surapati retreated to Bangil, where he was killed. Amangkurat III continued to fight the Dutch with Surapati’s sons until their surrender in 1708.

 

A piece of paper with Sudjojono’s text is affixed on to the reverse of the canvas:

SS Suropati tulisan smaller

Untung Suropati

 

Paringi padang, Gusti

Mugi gamblang ingsun garap

Cahya kangcekap

Pangetrapan kang wajar

Sapa sira, jalma hurip

Sing bisa nututi krentek ingsun

Aku pepundening Sang Resik,

 

– – – – – –

 

Nyuwun pangestu, Gusti

Niat ingsun tancap suku

Ing siti bumi, tirta ngamuk

Prahara ngebut, ngeprak-eprak prahu

lan lirik2,

Nggonjing kiwa,

Miring tengen

Sang prahu lampahnya alon

 

– – – – – –

 

Sirna kowe, polang2ku hurip

Aku mlaku

Aja ngira, aku menceng,

Lakuku ngadep, orang noleh,

Rawe2mu tak rantas

Palang2mu tak putung

Karepku bener,

Tekadku paring pangestaning Sang Nyipta

 

S. Sudjojono

Jak, 1975

 

The text seems to be a kind of evocation to The Almighty, so that he will remain on track in pursuit of truth. He uses the metaphor of a journey on a boat or ship through rough waters to portray life. In the painting, Untung Suropati is depicted as if he were on a boat together with his love Suzanne.

It seems clear that Sudjojono identified himself with Untung Suropati, who like him, fell in love with a European woman. Be that as it may, Untung Suropati continued to fight against the colonialists in pursuit of freedom, and it is apparent that Sudjojono intended to follow this example.

 

 

For the e-catalog, click here: http://www.sidharta.co/fa2013/

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Djakarta pagi2 by S. Sudjojono

Djakarta pagi2 low res

Entitled “Jakarta in the Morning” shows a scene of what Jakarta’s main boulevard, currently known as Jl. M. H. Thamrin looked like in 1967, as seen from the raised platform of the Sarinah Building, looking south. From north to south, the buildings on the west side of the boulevard: the East Jerman Embassy, the Japanese Embassy, Hotel Ashoka and Hotel Indonesia can be seen quite distinctly depicted. On the east side of the boulevard, the buildings are less visible, but clearly the steel framed Wisma Nusantara which had been under construction since 1964, towers the landscape.

In the background, the mountain range of Mount Gede and Pangrango is also visible on clear days during that time, when Jakarta’s traffic was still at its infant beginnings, so to say. The painting also shows how the traffic was during that time: north-bound traffic on Jl. Thamrin was quite heavy, as the old town was still very much the center of business in those days. Traffic soufh bound on the boulevard is significantly much more quite. We can see a becak and a bemo on Jl. Sunda off the main boulevard.

While this painting is a tremendously intriguing testimony of what Jakarta was like in the 1960s, it is also a kind of self portrait. A figure of a man that is seated on the left side of the canvas, watching over a small child, is most certainly the painter himself in a cameo appearance. Indeed, Sudjojono often brought his family to enjoy Sarinah, which was at the time the most prominent department store in the city, particularly to be able to enjoy the views of their developing hometown from the building’s open air raised platform.

 

For the e-catalog, click here: http://www.sidharta.co/fa2013/

Collection of an Indonesian collector residing in Europe