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Heads From the North, National Gallery, Canberra [Sculptor: Dadang Christanto]

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Comments (12)

Ian Stehbens on July 16, 2007

Dadang Christanto currently lives in Darwin, where is a lecturer at University of Northern Territory. He works in many media but his thematic focus is on liberating humanity from social injustice and its consequential suffering. I understand that he was born in Central Java, Indonesia in 1957 and has been in Australia since 1999. This installation in the Sculpture Garden at Australia's National Gallery is evocative. It is my assumption that the Japanese invasion of SE Asia including of Indonesia in the 1940s is the grand scale commitment to violence and its oppression that is interpreted here. I also suspect that his living in Darwin may have made him more aware of this invasion (that preceeded his birth), for Darwin's history includes the attack by the Japanese airforce. The realism of the sculptures brings the humanity both of the aggressors and the victims of political repression evocatively alive for me. Dadang's empathy seems to identify with the victims of oppression. He is a human rights artist.

Trudi on February 5, 2008

Hallo Ian, I like this photo and this art. For Australians every thing is "from the north" I think. For me these are haeds from the South (or if you mean Japanese; heads from the east).

Ian Stehbens on February 5, 2008

Hello Trudi.

It is nice to find a friend who appreciates this art. It has been posted for quite some time now. I enjoy a wide variety of the arts, though I am not good at many of them. I would love to sculpt but I have never made the time, so I enjoy works such as this one.

Your Dutch relatives of a previous generation who were part of the colonial administration in Dutch East Indies at the time of the Japanese invasion, certainly regarded that invasion as coming from the north! Yes I understand our different frames of reference.

Isn't GE good for that reason. You just keep turning it around, any way at all, so there is no fixed point of reference - we all are a global people, now.

And it is nice to communicate with someone from Fryslân! I loved your part of the world - in the summer mind you.



Magdalena U on May 3, 2008

very interesting photo

Ian Stehbens on May 4, 2008

Thanks for your appreciation and visit, Magdalena.


Ian Stehbens on June 5, 2008

I appreciate your letting me know of your reaction, queenmum (and if it really true that you are Mother of the Queen, which Royal Family do you belong to?)


hej jano on January 8, 2010

Interesting photos of art work, but it is a difficult issue many views, few comments.


Ian Stehbens on January 8, 2010

Thank you, Fiala for your interest and thoughts. I think the main reason it has had many views is because it is of the sculpture garden at the National Art Gallery and gets many hits on GE.

So it is good to have a Panoramio friends find one of my 'art' pictures and respond, too.



Bulbas on April 14, 2010

Photo intriguing imagination!!!))) Ian

With the best regards from Rostov on Don, from Bulbas

Ian Stehbens on April 17, 2010

I am very pleased that you found this image in my gallery, Bulbas. It is quite a powerful image for those who lived in this region of the world during the War in the Pacific. It speaks not only of events but also of perceptions.

Warmest regards from Brisbane.


Bulbas on April 17, 2010


Ian Stehbens on April 17, 2010

History indeed. And very expressive artwork as well.



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Photo details

  • Uploaded on July 14, 2007
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens