Solo Arts Exhibition of Aris Budiono

March 22, 2013

Arts Holy War Against Corruption

By Winarto

“Hanoman Storm Fury” painted by Aris Budiono

ARIS Budiono Sadjad is really angry. The fury of fifty two years old artist is caused by the corruption cases that have been rampant in Indonesia. Corruption here is like cancer cells which spread into almost parts of our body as a nation. So, the fighting against corruption should be done totally to yank out root of the killer cells. Corruption has threatened this nation. The war against corruption is to save the nation. It is a holy war!

Based on the thought Aris Budiono holds his solo exhibition with title: The Holly War  Against Corruption. The exhibition has been held at Bentara Budaya, Jakarta, in March 14-23, 2013.

Through twenties his paintings Aris expresses his very anger to corruption. He uses wild boar that is known as dirty and greedy animal to illustrate corruptor. In other side he takes some knight figures from wayang (Indonesian traditional puppet show) such as Hanoman and Bima to represent ideal law apparatus to wipe out corruption.

Wild Boar versus Knight

His work entitle “Hanoman Storm Fury”, for example, shows the knight beats up some wild boars with his very stormy power. Hanoman is a white monkey knight that so brave and strong. In Epic of Ramayana he defeates Dasamuka or Rahwana, a giant king with ten heads that wants to take Dewi Shinta as his wife. Shinta is a wife of Raden Rama Wijaya, the Prince of Ayodya Kingdom.

“Empat Cakil Rakyat” painted by Aris Budiono

Aris Budiono uses Hanoman as the executor to eliminate corruptors. His work “Hanoman Samurai” draws how this white monkey knight tears a wild boar’s stomach with a samurai as if he wants to take whatever outside from the stomach.  While his other work “Hanoman Punishment” illustrates this knight handles a gun and is ready to execute punishment to some figures that have giant face.

Beside Hanoman, Aris presents one of  ‘Pandawa Five Knights’ that is Bima. Five Knight of Pandawa are key figures in Epic of Mahabharata. They are symbols of integrity to enforce fairness for people. In episode  of “Bharatayudha” (the war of Bharata’s brotherhoods)  Pandawa fight against Kurawa as symbol of ruthlessness.

In his paintings Aris shows Bima’s role like as Hanoman’s to punish corruptors. His “Bima Banting” draws Bima throws a wild boar so this boar is overturned. From boar’s mouth come out various things such as cars, motorcycles, ships, buildings, etc. In other painting, “Omnivora” Aris illustrates two wild boars hold a party and swallow many things like as buildings and properties.

It seems that Aris couldn’t hide his anger to corruption. Nevertheless, he was in a worry and also disappointed about the handling of corruption cases in his country. This is looked at his work “Super Sakti” (“Very Powerful”). Here he draws a human with wild boar head is riding a wild boar. Without afraid he is facing the rain of arrows from knight troops. This painting makes us to remember some big corruption cases that couldn’t be overcome by law enforcement institutions including KPK (Commission for Corruption Eradication).

His other paintings have been satire. Look at, for instance, his work “Empat Cakil Rakyat” (Four People’s Cakil). This painting illustrates four humans with evil giant faces (Cakil) are riding four wild boars. At background there are some high modern buildings. The title of this painting uses word “Cakil Rakyat” (Cakil is an evil giant)  that is heard  like as “Wakil Rakyat” (parliament). It seems that Aris Budiono wants to  make allusion about parliament members who partly as like as “Cakil” those just prefer to get political power and riches for themselves than think about people wealth.

Arts as Social Criticism

As an entertaining medium, the art is also able to become social criticism institution, as the battleground for fighting against authoritarian state or corrupt political power. The arts history in Indonesia showed the involvement of various artists in the struggle against corrupt political power.  In literature we have a well known poet, Rendra, with his poems that made the authoritarian New Order regime trembled with fear. We have also known some theatre groups such as Theatre Gandrik, Gapit and Koma that often present resistance themes against the political power. In music there has been Iwan Fals with his social criticism songs.

Art painting is also potentially to become social and political criticism medium. This such role has been taken consciously by Aris Budiono. For this, therefore, we have to respect to him. Have a holy war, Aris!


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