HERI DONO: THE BROKEN ANGELS
2006 UNESCO-Aschberg Bursary Laureate. Supported by Arts Victoria.
In 2006, Gertrude Contemporary and The South Project presented an exhibition of new work by internationally acclaimed Indonesian artist Heri Dono. Dono has participated in numerous festivals, biennales and exhibitions around the world, and for the two months preceding the exhibition had been artist-in-residence in Gertrude's Studio 18, as the recipient of the 2006 UNESCO-Aschberg bursary. Entitled The Broken Angels, Dono's exhibition dramatically suspended seven handmade angel-like figures from the ceiling of Gertrude Contemporary's Front Gallery. Assembled from recycled materials, newspaper, scrap metal and rudimentary mechanical parts, the angels' wings flapped eratically, suspended in status quo. Accompanying this installation were several large-scale canvasses which acted to combine Dono's ongoing fusion of traditional Indonesian iconography with contemporary imagery and basic electronics. Narrating the story of Indonesia's Reformasi (Reformation) movement - which saw the fall of Suharto - and the country’s subsequent socio-political chaos, The Broken Angels presented as a critically incisive, yet humorous and compassionate exhibition, connecting local politics and culture to wider concerns about power, oppression and popular history.