A muscular man with fiery red eyes lunges forward ready to punch. His opponent, a much larger black boxer, grimaces but edges away in defeat.
“I was surprised when I saw this painting by I Nyoman Masriadi,”
says Jakarta-based collector Deddy Kusuma. “That was actually Mike Tyson who is a strong boxer but the other small guy was the artist Masriadi. Yet the title was ‘Masriadi is the Winner.’ So I thought he has very big ambitions even though he’s small.” Kusuma snapped up that painting for about USD 1,000 in the late ’90s but since then the artist’s prices have topped USD 1 million at auction.
A former souvenir painter from Bali who became an international sensation, Masriadi isn’t the only one punching above his weight. Contemporary Indonesian artists are increasingly catching the eye of investors who are waking up to their potential.
Meet the Top Dogs
Over the years, Kusuma has followed Masriadi’s career and continued to buy his work at auction despite the escalation in prices. “All my friends shouted at me and said you are so stupid. It’s so expensive. But I didn’t care,” he says.
Kusuma is among a handful of passionate Indonesian art collectors who exhibited works from their private collections at the newly inaugurated fair Art Stage Jakarta last weekend. Curated by Supriyanto, the show titled Expose offered a glimpse into what Indonesia’s wealthy hang on their walls.
Photo: I Nyoman Masriadi, Serta Merta, 2013 |Image courtesy of the private collection of Deddy Kusuma