You know the economy is picking up when works of art start to sell for record breaking prices:
A 1960s oil painting of Balinese villagers by Indonesia’s Lee Man Fong fetched a record HK$25.3 million ($3.3 million) in Hong Kong, the top lot at an Asian art auction marked by signs of return to pre-credit-crisis prices. Lee’s 2-meter-long “Bali Life” depicts a rustic scene of the islanders at rest.
Lee Man Fong painted classic Bali scenes and was - for obvious reasons - one of Sukarno’s favorite painters.
And the buyer of “Bali Life”? An unidentified Asian private collector, according to Sotheby’s (let’s just hope he’s not an employee of the Indonesian tax office).
Interestingly, 78 of the 145 artworks at the auction were done by Indonesian artists.
They include Affandi’s “Cuenca,” I Nyoman Masriadi’s “I’m Still Lucky” and Agus Suwage’s studies of human psychology, “I See, I Hear, I Feel” and “Don’t Be Amazed, Don’t Be Entitled.”
Affandi is of course an Indonesian legend, and while it is worrying that many of his artworks have gone overseas it may for the better given that high air humidity and high temperatures are raising concerns about the condition of his paintings kept in the Affandi museum in Jogyakarta.
And as for Agus Suwage, well you may remember him for the controversy surrounding his wonderful Pinkswing Park exhibit at Jakarta's international biennale a number of years back.
Who could ever forget that, eh?!!!