a r t i s t s


Umar Sumarta

Works 1 |  Works 2

In the small West Java town of Sumedang, not far from Bandung, Umar first saw the light of day in 1948. He was raised and brought up in a village outside of Sumedang. Life in the village, where Islamic belief is underlain with even older animist traditions, has had a lasting impact on Umar's artistic life.

Umar has chiefly devoted himself to motifs deriving from Sundanese traditions in West Java. The tradition is rich in spirits, ghosts, ceremony, magic, as well as daily village life. One of his favorite motifs is horses and their role in the certain local ceremonies. He ranges in style from surreal dream sequences to cubist to a unique discipline of stylized painterly detail. Umar's paintings are full of stories, just as the man himself is. His paintings invite the viewer into a world populated with real and imagined figures interacting in ways that often require intense active participation. Umar's paintings, indeed, reveal new discoveries of figure and narration at each encounter.

Because of the importance attached to having an academic degree in Indonesia (even for artists), Umar finished his university training in 1994 at IKIP, Bandung, after beginning his studies years before.

At twenty, Umar left the village to live in Bandung, the West Java provincial capital of 3 million. A prolific painter, he began exhibiting his paintings when he was 21-years old and hasn't stopped to look back since.

Devoted exclusively to painting, Umar now lives and works in Bandung. His newly built atelier is full of light, works in progress and the stories behind the paintings.  

Solo Exhibitions:

  • 1982: Balai Budaya, Jakarta; French Consulate, Jakarta; French Culture Center, Bandung.
  • 1983: Monoprint exhibition, French Culture Centre, Bandung
  • 1984: Monoprint Exhibition, Goethe Institute, Jakarta
  • 1985: Monoprint Exhibition, Bergheim Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 1986: Goethe Institute, Bandung
  • 1988: Lingkar Budaya, Jakarta
  • 1989: Art Erie Museum, Pennsylvania, USA
  • 1990: Nature Nuances in Abstract Art, Swiss Embassy, Jakarta
  • 1991: Kuda Renggong (Magic horse), Duta Fine Art Foundation, Jakarta
  • 1992: Little Pollution, Swiss Embassy, Jakarta
  • 1993: Abstracts (collage with original gold), Swiss Embassy, Jakarta
  • 1994: Kuda Renggong (Magic horse), Swiss Embassy, Jakarta
  • 1996: Nature Nuances, Bandung Gallery, Bandung
  • 1997: Cubism, Duta Fine Art Foundation, Jakarta
  • 1998: Life Transformation in Lines, Hidayat Gallery, Bandung
  • 1999: Lembanan Tanah Pasundan, Savoy Homann Hotel, Bandung
Group Exhibitions:
  • 1970: Lembaga Indonesia, Indonesia Amerika, Jakarta
  • 1976: Meadville Gallery, Pennsylvania, USA
  • 1980: Gallery Deschakel, Holland
  • 1981: Exhibition of Indonesian Teachers, TMMI, Jakarta
  • 1981: TIM Art Centre, Jakarta
  • 1986: TIM Art Centre, Jakarta
  • Hilton Hotel, Jakarta
  • Borobudur Hotel, Jakarta
  • Decenta Gallery, Bandung
  • Duta Fine Arts Gallery, Jakarta
  • 1989: Nusa Dua Beach Hotel, Denpasar, Bali
  • 1990: West Java Trade Centre, Bandung
  • 1990: Asia International Painters Exhibition, Balai Seni Lukis, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 1991: Asia International Exposition, Museum Tagawa Fukuoka, Japan
  • 1991: Arts exhibition, Istiqlal Grand Mosque, Jakarta
  • 1992: Asia International Exhibition, Bank NISP, Bandung
  • 1993: Interior Design Exhibition, Galeri Paradika Rekatama, Jakarta
  • 1993: Contemporary Wayang Arts, Manggala Wanabhakti building, Jakarta
  • 1994: Black and White Drawings Exhibition, Andy's Gallery, Jakarta
  • 1994: International Arts Exhibition, YSRI, Shangri-la Hotel, Jakarta
  • 1995: Abstractionism in Art, Andy's Gallery, Jakarta
  • 1995: International Cubist Exhibition (Indonesian and European artists), Duta Foundation of Fine Arts, Jakarta
  • 1996: Indonesian Artists, DANDIN Gallery, Ubud, Bali
  • 1997: Contemporary Islamic Artists, Museum Bayt Al Qur'an, Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta
  • 1997: Artists' Exhibition, Savoy Homann Hotel, Bandung
  • 1998: Exhibition of Contemporary Arts, Duta Foundation of Fine Arts, Jakarta
  • 1998: Abstract Art of Indonesia, Duta Foundation of Fine Arts, Jakarta
  • 1999: Contemporary Indonesian Artists, Regent Hotel, Jakarta
Umar Sumarta
Bandung, 2000
(photo by GC)