javafred.net

 
 

 
    a r t i s t s

 

Semsar Sirahaan
Profile

Works 1ReadingsExhibition 2008

Semsar
(photo by: Suzanne Von Borsody, Legian-Bali, 1987)

Lahir: Medan, Sumatra Utara, 11 Juni 1952
Meninggal: Tabanan, Bali, 23 Februari 2005
Ayah: Mayjen (Purn) Ricardo Siahaan

Profesi: Perupa dan Pelukis

Pendidikan:
- Kursus menggambar di Beograd
- Kuliah Seni Rupa di ITB
- Kuliah seni lukis di Prancis
- Kuliah di San Francisco Art Institute


Semsar
(Photo by T.W. 2002)

Karya, al:
- A Self Potrait with Black Orchid
- The Blue Scream of an Artist
- Buruh (3): Semsar’ Self Potrait
- Cerita Kami
- Confusion
- Homage to Cristo’s Mother
- Hak Berserikat Kaum Buruh
- Kecelakaan Kerja
- White Collars Workers
- Penghisapan
- Pintunya Harapan
- The Poet Who Disappeared
- Women Workers Between Factory and Prison

Alamat: Dusun Kesambi, Desa Jatiluwih, Kecamatan Penebel, Tabanan, Bali

(Source info: www.tokohindonesia.com)

Semsar
(Source of photo unknown)

See also: http://www.geocities.com/semsar_siahaan

Scroll down for info in English

Perupa Perlawanan Penindasan
TokohIndonesia DotCom (Ensiklopedi Tokoh Indonesia)


Dia perupa yang gigih menyuarakan perlawanan terhadap ketidakadilan, penindasan dan penghisapan manusia atas manusia lain yang termarjinalkan. Sejumlah lukisan pria kelahiran Medan, Sumatra Utara, 11 Juni 1952, itu menggambarkan kondisi sebuah negeri yang menderita akibat ulah dan penindasan tersistem oleh manusia yang berkuasa. Putra Mayjen (Purn) Ricardo Siahaan, ini seorang aktivis murni, yang rela berkorban bagi sesama.

Pelukis yang terakhir menggelar pameran tunggal di Galeri Nasional (2004), itu meninggal di Rumah Sakit Umum Daerah Tabanan, Rabu 23 Februari 2005 pukul 01.00 Wita. Jenazahnya disemayamkan di Galeri Cipta Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta. Dimakamkan di Taman Pemakaman Umum Menteng Pulo, Kamis 24 Februari 2005, setelah diadakan upacara pelepasan pukul 11.00.

Pria peranakan, ayah Batak dan ibu keturunan India, ini wafat saat berupaya membangun studionya di Dusun Kesambi, Desa Jatiluwih, Kecamatan Penebel, 16 kilometer di utara kota Tabanan, Bali. Saat itu, dia tiba-tiba terlihat lemas ketika mengawasi perataan tanah. Dia mengeluh rasa sakit di bagian dada. Kemudian kejang- kejang. Ahli gambar di atas kertas ini mengalami serangan jantung, yang merenggut nyawanya.

Sejumlah lukisan anak kedua dari enam bersaudara, ini bertema keseharian yang kritis merekam kebobrokan moral masyarakat. Salah satu lukisannya yang pernah dipamerkan di Galeri Nasional berjudul Pizza. Lukisan berbentuk piza yang di dalamnya ada potongan-potongan segitiga seperti piza, cukup menggambarkan berbagai fenomena kehidupan saat ini. Di antaranya, penggambaran tentang penjungkirbalikan fakta yang sering terjadi.

Perupa kondang yang memilih hidup berpihak pada kaum tertindas itu sering menggambarkan kegetiran para kaum buruh dari penindasan majikan. Bahkan kepeduliannya kepada kaum buruh tertindas tidak hanya terpancar dari karya lukis dan patungnya. Dia pun aktif sebagai salah seorang pendiri Serikat Buruh Merdeka bersama H Pongke Princent.

Dia juga sangat peduli terhadap masalah lingkungan. Sejumlah lukisannya bertema keserakahan negara-negara kaya yang membabat hutan di negara-negara miskin. Lukisan itu ikut dipamerkan di Galeri Nasional Indonesia, 17- 31 Agustus 2004. Bahkan pada tahun 1980-an, dia juga aktif di Sekretariat Perlindungan Hutan Indonesia (Skepy) yang menentang pembabatan hutan di berbagai daerah.

Dalam beberapa karyanya, seniman yang tidak mau diatur oleh kurator dan tidak mau didikte dalam berkarya, itu juga memosisikan diri sebagai objek, tidak selalu sebagai subjek yang merekam objek saja. Seperti tergambar dari lukisannya Self Potrait with Black Orchid dan Buruh.

Semsar Siahaan, yang akrab dipanggil Sam, dikenal sebagai perupa yang kritis dan sering melakukan aksi protes. Pada saat kuliah di Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) tahun 1981, dia pernah membakar karya lukisnya sendiri karena dianggap hanya bersifat suvenir. Ia menggali lubang-lubang kubur dan mengisinya dengan patung-patung mayat di dalam Bienalle Seni Rupa Jakarta IX di Taman Ismail Marzuki Jakarta.

Lalu, pelukis yang sering melakukan aksi demonstrasi di era pemerintahan Orde Baru, itu pun dipecat dari ITB karena melakukan aksi membakar patung berjudul Irian Dalam Tarso, karya pelukis Soenaryo, dosennya, yang dianggapnya sebagai seni kemasan yang mengeksploitasi orang Papua dan mendapatkan uang dari situ, sementara orang Papua tidak dapat apa-apa. Saat itu, dia membungkus patung karya Soenaryo, sehingga orang mengira itu patung karyanya sendiri. Patung itu dibakar, akibatnya dia dipecat dari ITB.

Dia pun pergi ke Prancis. Di sana dia mendalami seni lukis. Ia juga menyempatkan diri kuliah di San Francisco Art Institute. Bukan kali ini saja dia belajar seni di luar negeri. Ketika mengikuti ayahnya yang menjadi atase militer di Beograd, Semsar juga sempat kursus menggambar.

Beberapa tahun kemudian, tepatnya 1984, dia kembali ke Tanah Air. Dia pun menunjukkan integritas dan dukungan pada gerakan mahasiswa yang prodemokrasi dengan menggelar pameran lukisan yang disertai diskusi keliling di sejumlah kampus di Pulau Jawa. Ketika itu, lagi-lagi membakar puluhan lukisannya di hadapan para aktivis.

Ketika Tempo, Editor dan Detik dibredel penguasa Orde Baru, dia pun ikut bergabung demonstrasi. Saat itu (27/6/1994), dia bahkan pasang badan melindungi seorang perempuan yang dianiaya aparat. Dia cedera berat, kakinya patah dan harus dirawat berbulan-bulan di rumah sakit. Namun, kakinya yang patah tidak bisa disembuhkan total, dia cacat. Dalam kondisi demikian, dia pun ikut membidani berdirinya Aliansi Jurnalistik Independen (AJI) bersama aktivis pers lainnya di Indonesia.

Dia seperti punya dua nyawa, tak merasa takut mati. Namun, pada 1997, saat situasi politik dalam negeri dalam keadaan galau ditandai dengan penculikan terhadap beberapa aktivis, Semsar meninggalkan tanah air, pergi ke Kanada. Ia dibujuk sahabat ayahnya, sekalian untuk berobat.

Sepulang dari Kanada, dia pun memilih akan lebih baik tinggal menetap di Dusun Kesambi, Desa Jatiluwih, Kecamatan Penebel, 16 kilometer di utara kota Tabanan, Bali. Di sana dia punya tanah yang dibelinya dari seorang petani yang tanahnya tergadaikan karena tidak mampu membayar utang. Di atas tanah seluas lebih 3000 meter itu dia membangun studio.

Sejak 1 Januari 2005, dia telah memutuskan akan menetap di situ. Sebelumnya dia sempat berniat menetap Pematang Siantar, kampung leluhurnya atau di Banda Aceh, kampung putri Aceh yang pernah dinikahi dan memberinya seorang anak, namun meninggal dalam usia sehari. Namun, Semsar boleh berancana untuk hidup dan berkarya menetap di Jatiluwih, tetapi kehendak Tuhan jualah yang jadi. Dia dipanggil, menghadap kehadiratNya. ►tsl

 

© Mia Johnson

Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria
Victoria BC • Jul 25-Aug 7 2001

Semsar Siahaan is an internationally recognized artist, human rights activist and a prolific expressionist painter of social narratives. Since the late 1970s, he has been one of Indonesia's foremost contemporary artists.

His work is inspired by the suffering of ordinary people, particularly the poor and oppressed in industrial countries. Like his exemplars Kathe Kollwitz and George Grosz, Siahaan's paintings express a demand for social realism in art.

His large-scale acrylic canvases are explosive and emotionally intense. Painting in his trademark mural style, Siahaan takes on issues from clear-cutting and Indian rights to political torture and poverty. He abruptly confronts cool contemporary approaches to art-making with larger-than-life statements about civil liberties and political atrocities. For example, within glorious abstract swirls of deep-hued colours can be found a montage of Goya-like figures and body parts. In another, within a deep, moody setting of blues and blacks, a splayed figure hangs inverted from a cross like meat.

In the current show, his third in Victoria, Siahaan portrays themes of his adjustment to life in Canada. His images contain a swirling melt-down of graffiti art, autobiographical figuration, and topical themes and characters like George Bush and the twin towers of Manhattan.

CMAJ • February 4, 2003; 168 (3)
© 2003 Canadian Medical Association or its licensors

A very political art

Yvonne Owens

The story of Semsar Siahaan's artistic emergence reads like the script of The Year of Living Dangerously, Peter Weir's depiction of the social upheaval in Jakarta before President Sukarno's fall in 1965. There were times when Siahaan's practice of his art endangered his life, and other times when it saved him. In profiling his career, there seems no way to divorce his art from his humanitarian convictions and political activism. There is nothing "virtual" about this painter.

Siahaan was born in Medan, North Sumatra, in 1952. His father was one of the founders of the North Sumatra People's Army, formed in the 1940s to resist Japanese and Dutch colonialism. The senior Siahaan was appointed by Sukarno as the first chief commander of Medan, charged with defending North Sumatra from Dutch troops in their second move to reoccupy and recolonize Indonesia.

Siahaan started making works of art very young. "The first time I got art lessons was in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, from 1965 to 1968, when my father was an Indonesian military attaché to Yugoslavia," Siahaan recalled in my interview with him. In 1975, after graduating from high school, he studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute. He moved back to Indonesia to study sculpture at the Institute of Technology in Bandung, West Java, from 1977 to 1981. There followed various brushes with cultural and political authorities; he moved to the Netherlands, where he was active with expatriot Indonesian political dissidents and published a bulletin called For the Sake of Democracy and Human Rights in Indonesia. After returning to Indonesia in 1984, he applied his talent to making graphic banners and posters for political demonstrations and spent most of the proceeds from his drawings and paintings on funding grassroots coalition movements. In 1990 he went to Australia for a six-city tour of his exhibition and lecture series, backed by the Democratic Socialist Party and Greenpeace.

In 1994 Siahaan received the Best in Show award at the Jakarta Biennale IX, an exhibition of contemporary indonesian art. The work that gained him this prize was an installation piece, Redigging the Mass Grave. In late June 1994, after the government had banned three magazines and a leading newspaper, Siahaan was involved in organizing an alliance of Indonesian NGOs into the Indonesian Pro-Democracy Action, which held three days of huge peace demonstrations. On the third day, Siahaan recalls, "hundreds of military reacted violently to the peaceful demonstrators." He recounts his experience:

Twenty three were wounded. I was beaten up by seven soldiers. They knocked me down on the street, and broke my left leg into three pieces. They didn't stop kicking me in the stomach, legs and head with their boots, creating bruises all over my body. They threw me into the army truck, from which then they again threw me to the ground near the local police headquarters. My condition was such that my left leg was spinning around and in hellish pain. Two hours later an army ambulance came and took me, very roughly and by force, to the military hospital. There, they tortured me, bending my broken left leg like a V. They set the leg, improperly, in a thick plaster cast. Then they put me in an isolation room for two days, while the military colonel interrogated me.

In 1995 Siahaan's career, and possibly his life, was saved by an invitation to participate at an exhibition at the inauguration of the Singapore Art Museum. This was followed by shows in Australia and Japan. By 1997 he was an internationally recognized artistic voice. But this was also the year that military squads in Indonesia started kidnapping pro-democracy activists, including artists, students, professors, journalists and outspoken intellectuals. Dozens of youths were shot and killed in military operations against civilians across Indonesia that spring, and in May Jakarta exploded in riots that rapidly spiralled out of control.

Siahaan again escaped to Singapore, and later arranged his immigration to Canada. Since his arrival in 1999, he has achieved a visibility that even established Canadian artists have difficulty attaining. His third solo show in Victoria, presented at the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria Gallery last summer, featured 25 works painted in 2001 and 2002.

Siahaan paints in oil, using a muralist style that sometimes incorporates elements of graffiti art. His works are allegorical narratives that collapse temporal and spatial relationships between episodes and frequently appropriate motifs and characters from myth and current events to refer to, or satirize, Western cultural imperialism and Eurocentric values. His paintings contain diverse references, such as George W. Bush enthroned (wearing Presidential-Seal-encrusted cowboy-boots of office), the ghostly Twin Towers, the Summarian goddess Ereshkigal, Christ, and a transcendent bird-man figure. Despite these external allusions, these works also depict a personal journey.

Although his injured leg now prohibits Siahaan from marching in political demonstrations, his posters, banners and signs are carried by students in rallies in Canada and the US. His recent works are unsparing, depicting the emotional narratives of an immigrant from the warm-blooded societies of Indonesia in Anglophile Victoria. His political beliefs and faith in humankind are a blend of warning and of hopefulness. As he comments, "[There] is a global, young people's unity emerging to build a new, humanized life-vision through their activism and works of art."

Yvonne Owens Ms. Owens is a Victoria-based art critic currently pursuing graduate studies at the University of York, England.