Wedhar Riyadi / Indonesia b.1980 / Noise from the Fertile Land (Keributan dari negara subur) no.3 2012 / Oil on canvas / Purchased 2012. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art / © Wedhar Riyadi

Wedhar Riyadi
Noise from the Fertile Land (Keributan dari negara subur) no.3 2012

Not Currently on Display

In his 2012 painting Noise from the Fertile Land (Keributan dari negara subur) no.3, Wedhar Riyadi depicts an Indonesian family in European-style clothing, rendered in sombre grey tones. Based on a historical photograph, the faces and torsos have been overlaid with cartoonish, grotesque forms.

This dramatic contrast is characteristic of Riyadi’s practice, which draws heavily on pop-cultural forms including sci-fi, comics, manga and anime to represent the impact of modernisation and stories of violence over the period the photographs have survived.

By combining photorealistic painting techniques with fantastical, brightly coloured motifs, Riyadi’s work reflects the rapid social, economic and political changes experienced by Indonesia over the past two decades.

Wedhar Riyadi was born in 1980 in Yogykarta, Indonesia. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Indonesian Institute of Art in 2007.

Riyadi’s wide ranging practice encompasses drawings, murals, comics, stickers, posters, illustrations, and limited-edition toys and clothing, in addition to large-scale oil paintings. In this way, Riyadi represents a generation of Indonesian artists whose works defy the traditional boundaries of fine art and popular culture.

Discussion Questions

1. What stylistic differences can you see between the original photograph and the overlaid painting?

2. What aspects of history is the artist manipulating through his reworking of these old photographs? What new meanings are created?

Classroom Activities

Create a new artwork that borrows elements from well-known images from art history and popular culture. Reassemble the elements to create a composition that suggests new visual meanings. Explore how certain combinations might produce a social or political message.