Heri Dono

Heri Dono is one of Indonesia’s most internationally renowned artists. Since graduating in the late 1980s his international profile has increased through a series of exhibitions and residencies around the world. Heri Dono is perhaps best known through his installations which are heavily influenced by, and the result of experimenting with, the most popular Javanese folk theater: wayang. Wayang performances combine a number of artistic and extra-artistic elements––visual arts, singing, music, storytelling, mythological promotion of a philosophy of life, social criticisms, and humour. Dono combines these elements to form multimedia performances, which often use the physical space of the performance as well as interactions with the audience, in the process revitalising the traditional art so profoundly rooted in Indonesia. References to wayang are also integral to Heri Dono’s paintings: from out of wild deformations and free fantasies emerge characters from the traditional wayang stories, which are mixed together with his profound knowledge of children’s cartoons, animation films, and comics. The resulting canvases are populated by astonishing characters and strange juxtapositions, the fantastic and absurd joined by the everyday to create new and vibrant stories in which he inserts his own critical remarks on socio-political issues both in Indonesia and abroad.