Soni Irawan’s Art is the Best of Both Worlds

Self portrait at mural project in Gojek Headquarters, Jakarta, 2018.

To make the most understatement of the century: 2020 was like no other. The pandemic that has now swept across the globe making it difficult for travel. But despite it becoming a restrictive force, the current situation is a fertile ground for inspiration for artists. For many of us, we are living in a somewhat strange world because of the unfamiliarity. After all, the last pandemic of such a scale happened centuries ago. And to help make sense of what’s happening, artists play a pivotal role in offering some insights.

A Hundred Hopes (Tribute to Street Fighters) – used street shop signs, 25mX16m, 2018.

One such artist is Soni Irawan, an Indonesian creative that not only paints but is also a band member of the musical group: Seek Six Stick. This allows him to produce interesting artworks that incorporate two seemingly distinct modes of expression into a single painting. Avid followers of Soni would notice a transition in the colours since the onset of the pandemic. The paintings have gone darker which seem to emphasize human’s life during this bleak period. 

Against a dark background, Soni’s visual objects in his paintings become more poignant due to the contrast and it is also easier for viewers to observe the details. As mentioned, the pandemic provides the ingredients for artists to unleash their creativity and likewise for Soni, he wants to capture the happenings of the day and so a collection of paintings were made with its titles named after the accumulated number of coronavirus survivors each month. 

One has since lapsed and another change in Soni’s painting style was observed, he has reverted back to using bright colours and new symbols were also used. Could this signal a fresh start? Certainly, a life teeming with vigour awaits us at the end of a long and dark tunnel. In addition to the colours used, Soni has also used “crop technique” in making his collection for his exhibition, “Crop Season”. Just as the name suggests, he chooses a part of a painting and repeats a pattern he took in his next painting, and it goes on and on. This method is commonly used when creating a piece of music, where the best parts are isolated and then replicated. 

This is an interesting amalgamation that shouldn’t be missed and you can visit Soni’s latest exhibition between June 1 – 30, 2021.

Open daily from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm
Sunday and public holiday closed
Location: Artsphere
At Dharmawangsa Square level 2 unit 66
Jl Dharmawangsa, Jakarta Selatan

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