Padang, West Sumatra, artist Stefan Buana is known for his outspokenness. He has little time for polite conversation, preferring to speak what in his heart and on his mind. This "as I am" approach is reflected in his work of clear colors and strikingly stark images. His unvarnished style of expressing is also reflected in his use of rusty steel as a supporting medium in some of his works.
Stefan does not merely speak to us via his works of art, but also screams, demanding our attention and consideration of his unique take on life. Buana's statements are an admixture of the soft and hard; the whispered and the shouted; and soft persuasion and loud demands for a change in attitude.
His August –September exhibition at the Tonyraka Art Gallery
in Mas on the southern outskirts of Ubud, Bali will try to accommodate Stefan's desire to speak out about the worrying condition of his native land. Employing a tried and tested means of warfare – he described his art as a form of "guerrilla warfare.""Guerrilla warfare is the battle of the small and weak against the strong. Guerrilla warfare can not, in and of itself, secure a final victory; guerrilla warfare can only squeeze the blood from the enemy. The final victory will only be achieved by employing organized forces in conventional warfare, for only such an army can undertake the offensive that will crush the enemy. A guerrilla war is a war of ideologies. A guerrilla war involves an entire populace. However, guerrilla warfare does not necessarily mean that all people must be directly involved in open warfare. Guerrilla warfare is total warfare by the people – military war, political war, social-economic war and psychological war – these are the fundamentals of guerrilla warfare:
- A.H. Nasution (1918-2000)
In reflecting on his current exhibition, Stefan Buana insists he is more interested in depicting modern struggles than the historical battles of the past. Born to a military family, Buana was influenced from an early age by stories of patriotism and heroism and the need to struggle and persevere to achieve goals.
In expressing himself, Buana uses both conventional and avant garde
mediums and materials ranging from canvas, candle smoke, rusty steel, charcoal, nails, sawdust and string. He also does not hesitate to tear, hit and hole his canvases to make an artistic point. Refusing to be boxed into any specific means of artistic expression, Buana roams the divisions between abstract, figurative and other schools of expression.
Stefan Buana's current exhibition reflects the artists concerns and attention about the current state of his nation. Canvas are folded and attacked with a staple gun; soldier wearing metal hats are on parade; and troops on dark horses create ominous formations. This is not, according to the artist, a desire for militarism, but, rather a call to fight for true freedom in Indonesia's post-revolutionary age.Mental Gerilya – A Guerrilla's Mentality
A Solo Exhibition by Stefan Buana
Tonyraka Art Gallery – Jalan Raya Mas 86, Ubud, Bali
August 17 – September 17, 2010
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