Irsam (1942 - 2006)

DUA ANDONG ( Two carriages )
70 x 100 xm 
Oil on canvas

Irsam was a painter with a strong sense of decorative style. His works were always poetic and contained symbolic messages. This painting is interesting because it is his last expressive work that used his signature strokes before he shifted to the decorative period in 1970. It also marked the time when he left the city of Jogja and moved to Jakarta due to his duties as a civil servant for the Directorate General of Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia. Previously, Irsam was a lecturer at ASRI (Indonesian Academy of Fine Arts) in Jogjakarta. After he moved, he chose to live in Bogor and commute to Jakarta every day by his motorbike. The mode of transportation was a pleasure for Irsam, as it was also his hobby.

This painting depicts dokar or also known as andong in the Indonesian language. It is a horse carriage that is common in Indonesia. A typical horse carriage of Jogjakarta has four wheels pulled by two horses. These two carts of horses seemed to be resting, parked in a row while they grazed. It might depict the north town square of Jogja, where the grass is green. With his background and contextual knowledge of rich history, Irsam often presents themes of rural nature, family, mother and child, relationships, and mythology in Javanese society.

The typical Jogja horse-drawn carriage is still an icon of the city. It looks majestic, different from horse-drawn carriages in other regions of Indonesia. The history goes back to the "chariot," which is the vehicle for Mataram kings. Irsam showed us a cultural change, where horse-drawn carriages, which used to be vehicles for kings and nobles, turned into transportation for the general public. That makes dokar or andong in the city of Jogja look special. Fortunately, the palace never objected to the shift. Perhaps this phenomenon describes best by the mandate of Sri Sultan HB IX in his famous phrase "Throne For The People". The grass is a symbol of a king who is "grounded" and loved by the people.

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