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Heri Dono

Born in Jakarta in 1960. A Yogyakarta based leading contemporary artist and the first Indonesian to break into the global art scene in the early 1990s. Heri Dono is unquestionably one among the Indonesian contemporary artists from the late 1980s generation that are best known to contemporary art international community.

Since early in his career up to now he has been around the world to respond to exhibition and workshop invitations in various countries. Heri Dono is known through his installation that results from his experiments with the most popular Javanese folk theater: wayang. 

In the wayang performance a number of artistic and extra-artistic elements – visual arts, singing, music, storytelling, mythology promotion of a philosophy of life, social criticisms, and humor – merge into a coherent unity to make a generic performance comprising complex elements of multimedia.

Moreover all this is coupled with the setting of a wayang performance event that provides space for social interaction among the audience. Heri Dono installations give the best example of the attempts at creatively revitalizing traditional art practice profoundly rooted in Indonesia. In a lot of his installations and performances, Heri Dono effectively makes use of performativity and interactivity potencies so that the works are involved in intense dialogs with their audiences.

In his paintings, Heri Dono makes the most use of wild deformations and free fantasies out of which emerge characters of wayang stories. Adding his profound knowledge of children’s cartoon films, animation films, and comics, Heri Dono’s canvas is always filled with highly astonishing characters of intertwined fantastic and absurd stories. In all these Heri Dono will sometimes insert his own critical remarks on socio-political issues in Indonesia and abroad.

Heri Dono participated in no less than 31 international biennales. The only contemporary Indonesian artist to have been invited to the Biennale Arte’s own curatorial exhibition in 2003 (Zone of Urgency). Award winners of the Prince Claus Award for Culture and Development (1998), the Unesco Prize in 2000, and the Anugerah Adhikarya Rupa (Arts Award) from the Indonesian Goverrnment in 2014. Participated in 270 exhibitions including 31 international biennales; the 50th Venice Biennale in the Arsenale’s Zone of Urgency, Guangzhou Triennial (2011); Gwangju Biennale (2006 and 1995); Sharjah Biennial (2005);  Taipei Biennial (2004); Venice Biennale (2003); Asia Pacific Triennial (2002 and 1993); Yokohama Triennial (2001); Havana Biennial (2000); Shanghai Biennale (2000); Sydney Biennale (1996); São Paolo Biennial (2004 and 1996).