“Aren’t people bored to disagree and spill their blood on the earth we love?”, our differences are what make this life beautiful, but it wouldn’t it be nice to find some common ground?
In some cultures Bahaudin means, ‘The magnificent of the Faith’. As a young man with a powerful name, and an equally powerful set of skills, Bahaudin harnesses his talents for the greater good. Depicting messages of peace and love, regardless of one’s individual affiliation or creed, this Indonesian artist has dedicated his career to unveiling the deep-seated mysteries of humanity and the issues which it spawns, through vibrant and childlike imagery.
You are now established in Yogyakarta which can be considered as the art capital of Indonesia. Tell us more about your first steps as an artist?
I’ve liked drawing since i was in elementary school. My mom was the first to tell me that she really loved the stories my drawings told. My knowledge and artistic experience has increased since studying at Indonesian Institute of Art. Apart from completing the academic process, my artistic experience was also influenced by working as part- time art handler with Serrum.
In 2015, I conducted my first solo exhibition at IAM Gallery Yogyakarta as a form of initial introduction to the public. The work showcased printmaking techniques as an achievement in visual techniques. Several months after the solo exhibition, there were many things that I still needed to learn and develop in order to become an artist. Luckily, I met Anton Subiyanto, who is also an artist. I had learned many things from him over a period of 2 months, he gave me many tips and taught me how to survive as an artist.
Working as an art handler was one of the most important career decisions I made. Through that experience, I discovered a lot of beautiful works from various artists and I was proud to display their work. The experience boosted my self confidence, inspiring me to immediately start my career as an artist and end my side job as art handler.
Your art is vibrant with vivid colours and cartoonish characters – yet it is easy to sense a not-so-hidden criticism of our modern societies. What message do you wish to send across in your art?
I really love the pattern of peace. For this reason, many of my works always start from a question within oneself, “Aren’t people bored to disagree and spill their blood on the earth we love?” Differences of opinion are common in the living patterns of life. Differences make colors in the beauty of life, however, it would be nice if these differences are always sought for a common thread so that they do not turn into futile feuds.
The inclusion of sunflowers in your art is quite frequent, what is this a symbol of?
The sunflower is not a single symbol. But to be more precise, any flowers in my works including sunflowers are part of the hopes and prayers related to beauty and peace in life.
What is your creative process like? Where do you find your inspiration?
Confusion in today’s problems is very mature in terms of perspective. If a red thread is drawn, my work is related to the value of peace. One of the supporting elements of the word peace is the ability to know ourselves more deeply so that we don’t always have problems outside ourselves, if there are people who do not share our understanding. I always use the packaging for the meaning of love to see other people so as not to prioritize bad prejudices.
I use a lot of colors in my work even though there are some works that use monochrome colors. For me, each color has its own energy which reinforces each other. Just like humans who have their own strength within each person.
Reference to think before making a work is about how to rearrange whatever is seen and the ideas that are caught by translating them back together with the method of contemplation. Emha Ainun Nadjib is one of the people who helps provide a bridge for broad-mindedness because he always talks about life and many things that are used as self-learning. As for me I have a close friend the curator Arga Aditya who has always helped to become a partner for discussion about anything. But the most important thing for me is the goodness of God for allowing me to get inspiration for His creation to be made into artwork.
You love to express yourself outdoors. You enjoy when your art is visible to all. In your mind, what is the role artist play in the society? How important is the space given to artists in modern Indonesian society?
Because artists are part of society itself, by merging artists into society, many things will be obtained such as understanding directly the problems in society and then using their own perspective to draw a common thread that can be used as a simultaneous learning curve in each work. At least for self-introspection, it is grateful if it is useful for others. Space for artists is very important because apart from being a place for work presentation, it is also a place to exchange ideas.
Any current or past Indonesian artist who has influenced you?
I have great friends, they don’t hesitate to share anything with me about the world of art namely Pupuk DP, Eko Nugroho, Ronald Apriyan, M.Lugas Syllabus, Justian Jafin, Gilang Fradika, Danni Febriana, etc.
The five words that best describe your art?
Believe, Contemplation, Sharing, Energy and Peace.
In which city can we expect to see your next solo exhibition?
I am in the process of preparing and looking for a suitable place.
Can you let our readers which is your favourite art museum in Indonesia?
MACAN Museum is my favourite as it offers many things. Beyond displaying visual works on the walls and providing available space, this museum has created several programs that invite people to know more about fine arts.
Where can we see some of you work online, are these for sale?
You can visit my Instagram to find out more.
If you were to name one mentor who has inspired you in your life and path as an artist, who would that be?
Because I love peace, the figure of Emha Ainun Nadjib offers quite a lot of perspectives on the reasoning of thinking from interpreting the debris of life so that it becomes meaningful and does not become mere waste. Mahatma Gandhi, Abdurahman Wahid and Emha Ainun Nadjib they all have their respective functions regarding peace. Emha Ainun Najib has also influenced the wisdom of living life. Becoming an artist is not just talking about the ability to understand technicalities but also formulating ideas.