Arya Pandjalu: ‘Phone number my hand’

Sandra Siagian ,  The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Thu, 10/15/2009 10:09 AM  |  Arts & Design

Bird: JP/Sandra Siagian

Bird: JP Photo/Sandra Siagian

A simple but essential body part we use everyday has provided the inspiration for an artist’s latest collection.

“Phone Number My Hand”, Arya Pandjalu’s second solo exhibition, is currently on show at Plaza Indonesia in Central Jakarta.

Arya started painting when he was 18, graduating from the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta, in 2005. He then started his career by collaborating with other artists to work on public art.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that Arya, now 33, started branching out on his own, pursuing his solo ideas.

Five months in the making, “Phone Number My Hand” expresses Arya’s attitude toward the simple and everyday things we use in life, in particular, our hands. The inspiration behind the collection came from a very simple idea.

“I wanted to try introduce and improve an everyday theme in a simplistic way according to the community that is close around me,” said Arya, who is based in Yogyakarta.

“The inspiration is primarily from the hands. I wanted to involve the use of our body parts and for this occasion I chose the hands, because it is something we are always using.”

The talented artist, whose themes usually address social issues, wanted to express his ideas using a straightforward concept.

“The artwork reflects the close relationship with the body and how we work by hand,” Arya said about the collection. “Basically, in this exhibition the hands act as a symbol of a worker.”
Arya uses a variety of media and methods to explore his theme, with sculptures and paintings, spray painting and carving.

Hands 3: JP/Sandra Siagian

Hands 3: JP Photo/Sandra Siagian

His creativity bursts forth in pieces such as his set of hands carved out of black paint set in contrast to balls spray painted in bright neon colors. The related art pieces are simple yet eye-catching, as the hands alternate between releasing, capturing and holding the neon balls.

The versatility of his concept is also shown with his abstract miniature sculptures, involving mannequin arms with a range of clenched and open fists.

The piece the artist names as his favorite in the collection is a pale yellow sculpture of a creature with an eagle-like head and human body, its arms extended.

“The bird looks like it is offering something,” Arya says of the piece. “I like the symbolism it holds and how it is the first piece guests will see when they enter the exhibition.”

Among the collection of hands-inspired pieces is a painting of an elephant against a yellow background. At first, this artwork seems out of place against the theme uniting the others; but here too, however, the symbolism has a definite purpose in the exhibition.

“If you look at the exhibition from afar you can see that the elephant is at the front, leading the hand parade,” Arya says.

“The elephant represents the work by hands, leading a parade behind him.”

The whole collection is thus connected by the main concept of hands both symbolically and realistically. The collection is vibrant with the contrasting colors and effective with its mix of paintings and abstract sculptures. Arya has successfully turned his simple idea of hands into a thought-provoking exhibition.

Phone Number My Hand

Solo exhibition by Arya Pandjalu,
from O Gallery
Until Oct. 22
Plaza Indonesia
Central Jakarta