Painting : The Meeting (Otto Djaja - 1947)

Title : "The Meeting"

Artist : Otto Djaja

Year : 1947

Placard oil on paper.

Dimension : 88 x 65 cms.

The painting entitled “Pertemuan” (1947) can be interpreted in many ways as the objects and
their contextuality can lead to multiple potential narratives. A man and a woman sit before a bed.
The man, still wearing a complete set of clothes, with a suit and peci, while the woman’s kebaya is unfixed to reveal her bra. The gesture of the two suggest a relationship filled with intimacy, but can also be that of conflict, at the same time humor. The setting can be in a household, a romantic extramarital relationship, or can even imply, from some visual indicators, a portrait of a bordello in 1940’s. But more than that, the painting, by the treatment of the naïve figures, bright colours, and the linear strokes, can provide an astute comment on life. The works of Otto Djaja often do feature naïve characters and always able to capture the life-soul of the society, framed in a satirical colour of humor.

Other themes in his works also contain a lot of ridicule about the hypocrisy of social circles, as evident in his works depicting a reception scene, a batik market, or in the scenes of sorcery. To deliver it with humor and satire, the painter usually invokes the Punokawan, four jesters from Javanese wayang folklore, which makes his presentation about the darker side of humanity more lighthearted.