Drawing Pen, Acrylic on Canvas | 260 x 325 cm

Carla Bianpoen

The painting is a juxtaposition of the revolutionary spirit that surged in France and spread to other parts of the world, including the island of Java. Similar to the power struggle between the monarchy and the bourgeois in France, the struggle for the sole power over the Sultanate of Mataram on Java eventually brought about a breakage: in France Charles X was toppled, while the struggle on Java resulted in two separate entities namely Yogjakarta and Surakarta.

The painter Eugene Delacroix was deeply moved by the revolution in his country, and his emotion deepened with literature accentuating the drama even further. Infused with such emotion Delacroix created his famous painting La Liberté guidant le people, with Marianne, as the French symbol held the tricolor flag high above her head as a sign that the country was ruled by freedom. The revolution toppled Charles X off the monarchy.

Photo Detail

In the same century, albeit at a slightly different point in time, on Java in another faraway part of the world, the spirit of revolt was also holding sway. Babad Giyanti chronicled an almost similar struggle, infusing the ballad composed by Yasadiputra. Here it was the struggle over the sole ruling power, which ultimately resulted in two entities, namely Yogyakarta and Surakarta with separate rulers.

Inspired by the visual (Delacroix’ painting) and the musical (Yasadipura’s ballad) and the lyrical (Babad Giyanti), Eddy Susanto’s created his painting La Liberté Giyanti as a contemporary work in which Delacroix’ figures in the painting are shaped by Javanese script telling the Javanese story.

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