Pamugaran Gallery
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Photo Courtesy:History of Java, TS Raffles


 About Saman

It’s easy to meet the artist Suharyo Saman. He’s lived in the same modest house for decades. The house is cluttered with his work – the walls are full of his paintings; the floor is too. Guests are always welcome in his studio. It’s sometimes hard to believe that this friendly, unprepossessing man is Bandung’s senior artist-in-residence.

Yohanes Philiphus Sukimin Saman – known simply as Saman to all his admirers – was born in Purworejo, Central Java, on July 17th 1932. His passion was and remains painting, and his talent was detected at a very early age. He finished school in 1950, but this self-taught artist was fulfilling commissions from the age of 10. In those difficult times, two of his earliest commissions were for portraits of Tojo and Hitler – used by the occupying Japanese forces for propaganda purposes. It was not a commission he could refused.

In the years after the war the young artist’s talent became more widely known. Though he never restricted himself to portraiture, these commissions cemented his reputation: Bung Hatta, Presidents Soekarno and Suharto, Ibu Tien Suharto, Sultan Hameng Kubuwono IX, the West German President. Later he was to return to portraiture, painting many of Indonesia’s leading diplomats, businessmen and government officials.

In the mid-fifties, as his fame grew, Saman joined STICUSA (The Institute of Dutch-Indonesian Culture), exhibiting in Bali and Kuala Lumpur. He started moving in circles that included artists such as Affandi, Basuki Abdullah, Sumardi, Sujono Abdullah and Sukarji, and foreign luminaries like Antonio Blanco, Hart Smith, Le Mayeur, Hanssneal, Assine, and Aerman Kolth. The years 1957-75 saw him exhibiting worldwide, notably in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok and Amsterdam. His friendship with noted gallery owner, Balltdenger, has ensured that works by this most humble of artists are now found all over the world.

In 1964 he married his Balinese sweetheart, Ni Wayan Nurani. Together they moved to Bandung. Sadly, Ni Wayan Nurani passed away in 2012. Saman's passion for art still inspires him on a daily basis and you can find this reclusive  Artist in this studio residence working on several pieces at a time. His work will generate high prices in the years to come as his reputation grows in the wider art and collector and community.