FX Harsono wins inaugural Joseph Balestier Award For The Freedom of Art

FX Harsono, Pilgrimage to History, 2013 (still) Rewriting The Erased , 2009, Installation with wooden table & chair, Chinese ink on paper, video The Past of the Past/Migration, 2013 (detail), boat, electric candle, earth ware, wooden chair, la mpshade Variable dimension

Indonesian artist FX Harsono has received the inaugural Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art, consisting of a grant of US$5,000, a trophy and a winner’s certificate, jointly presented by Kirk Wagar, U.S. Ambassador to Singapore and Lorenzo Rudolf, founder and Fair Director, Art Stage Singapore. The award honours an artist or curator from Southeast Asia whose work is dedicated to the ideals of freedom of art, expression, and liberty, an ideal that provoked scepticism from some in the region, when the awards were first announced, due to the Singapore government's strict views on freedom of expression.

Since his engagement in the anti-establishment group Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru (the New Art Movement) as a student in the 1970s, Harsono’s practice has been committed to a political and social critique within his country. Born in 1948, he studied painting at STSRI "ASRI", Yogyakarta (Indonesia) and at IKJ (Jakarta Art Institute) and since 2005 has been a lecturer at the Faculty of Art and Design, Pelita Harapan University, Tangerang (West Java). Parallel to his art practice, Harsono regularly writes about social questions and the development of contemporary art.

Recent solo exhibitions include Things Happen When We Remember / Kita Ingat Maka Terjadilah, Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Bandung, Indonesia (2014), What we have here perceived as truth/we shall some day encounter as beauty, Jogjakarta National Museum, Jogjakarta, Indonesia (2013), Writing In The Rain, Tyler Rollins, New York, USA (2012), Testimonies, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore (2010), and The Erased Time, National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta (2009).

20 January 2015