Cowra visit inspires winning art work

Indonesian artist Jumaadi, who spent time in Cowra, with his winning entry in the 2017 Mosman Art Prize

Indonesian artist Jumaadi, who spent time in Cowra, with his winning entry in the 2017 Mosman Art Prize

Sydney based Indonesian artist Jumaadi has taken out the 2017 Mosman Art Prize, with a work originating from the artist’s study trips between Cowra, his home studio in Sydney's Mosman and regular excursions to Java.

Jumaadi won the $50,000 acquisitive main prize with a work titled Some kind of record, 2016, a 24 x panel acrylic work that explores the artist’s cultural roots while displaying a refreshingly honest and open approach to storytelling.

Jumaadi’s winning work was selected for the art prizes’ 70th Anniversary year and now enters the celebrated Mosman Art Collection.

“I found these boards at a garage sale in Cowra during a residency program in mid 2013,” Jumaadi said.

“The focus of my residency was to trace the history of 1,200 Indonesian political prisoners previously detained in Dutch New Guinea and taken to Cowra in 1943 by the Dutch.

“Some prisoners made it home after the war, some remained in Australia, and some died as soon as they arrived in Cowra.

“This residency followed my encounter with some poetry written by the prisoners.

“The descriptions of the landscape in their poetry about the hills, this mist and the wind, is actually one of the earliest portrayals I have encountered of Indonesians responding to the Australian landcaspe, especially in NSW.

“The boards have been in my custody the last few years and the conversation taking place in various studios - Cowra, Sydney, Java, until we arrive in a conclusion - the composition. 

“Each painting contains notes, sketches, unfinished picture and line of poetry (not uncommon within my practice).

“In this work, layering and hybrid of images construct a composition to build a grand narrative.

“Displacement, longing, admiration of beauty, personal poetry of places and pictures … although they remain open to me and to the audience,” he said.

Judge Kirsten Paisley, Deputy Director, National Gallery of Australia said Jumaadi’s work work stood out amongst the 758 entries for being unique in subject and construction.

“Jumaadi’s work is gentle and poetic, much like a storyboard which threads together disparate moments of reflection, operating as a meditation on the meeting point of earth and sky, animated by the weather and its associated evocative moods,” Ms Paisley said.

The work continues Jumaadi’s interest in the history of migration and exchange between Australia and Indonesia.