Painting : The Dusk (Sudjana Kerton - 1987)

Title : "The Dusk"

Artist : Sudjana Kerton

Year : 1987

Oil on canvas.

Dimension : 125 x 148 cms.

“Senja”, painted in 1987, depicts a duck herder with a bamboo stick in his left hand standing amidst a flock of ducks, feeding them. In the background is the crimson sun setting in the horizon, as though bidding farewell to living beings before entering its bed. Sudjana Kerton has the ability and empathy to understand the subjects of his paintings, as he becomes part of them.

In this painting he presents a unique moment from the world of the ordinary people: a duck herder at sundown. With his ability to empathise, Kerton manages to capture it in a very delicate perspective. He is able to convey the burdens of life in the movements of the duck herder, while presenting it with such humor and naïvette, with the sun setting down in the background and ducks clustering in a diagonal formation, conjuring up a mood that is at once poetic and stressful.

This painting shows the achievement of his late period, after his return to Indonesia and taking residence in Bandung. Kerton followed the abstract expressionist tendency that was developing at the time when he was living in America and Europe, but finding his own way of expressing form in his unique individual style. He did not seek to find the form of human anatomy, but tried to express the psychology of the life he was living. The psychology of the ordinary and marginal people ultimately became the one that touched him the most and easily moved his aesthetic impulses. This “Twilight” painting is one such expression of his honest efforts to capture that life.