The Modernist Series #6: Hayat
: Art Agenda, JKT


I try to evoke humanity through my paintings. - Affandi 

Affandi (1907-1990) is arguably Indonesia's most celebrated modern artist and a globally recognised expressionist artist. His oeuvre spans the period around Indonesia's independence, and is central in the emergence of a modernist attitude in Indonesian art. The breadth of Affandi’s vision is on show in this sixth edition of our The Modernist Series with subject matter ranging from majestic trees to intimate scenes, reflecting his hunger to paint. Hayat, which translates to 'life' in English, honours the legacy of Affandi – where life is inseparable from art.  


Affandi lived modestly, often painting on the streets, in markets, and other public places wearing paint-splattered pants. He sought to experience the life of the homeless to understand the struggles of those without homes or jobs. Be it the illustrations he made inspiring resistance against Dutch colonialism or the steadfastly humanistic subjects of daily life he painted over and over, Affandi's paintings went beyond mere depictions of his surroundings; they reflect his empathy for and great generosity towards fellow humans and an earnest and enduring interest to understand the world by capturing commonplace scenes of daily life.


Affandi’s works largely appear only in auction sales and it is rare to find more than a couple of works of his on public display at any one point in time, globally. The world’s most prestigious art show, Venice Biennale 2024, has just opened and features Affandi’s Self-Portrait, 1975 amongst works by other 20th century artists of the Global South.


From Venice to Jakarta, our exhibition Hayat in The Modernist Series is a rare occasion to appreciate and understand the life and works of the celebrated expressionist artist through a collection of key works that reveal how he evokes, and reflects humanity, in his art.


See Affandi’s works in person at Hayat, opening 4 May and running till 31 May.


View the works on display here.


Read Wang Zineng's piece in Art & Market discussing the Venice Biennale exhibition, which prominently showcases Affandi's portrait painting here.

Enquiry: Nabila +62 8588 221 9268


Affandi: Hayat
Art Agenda, JKT
Wisma Geha (JKT Art Hub) lt. 4, Jl. Timor 25, Central Jakarta 10350
Wed - Sun, 12 - 7 pm
Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and public holidays

Public Programmes

Affandi Hour
Sat, 25 May 2024, 2 – 3pm
Free, register at
Art Influencer Bill Mohdor and Art Agenda Founder Wang Zineng sit under the banyan tree to unravel Affandi's life and artistry through candid conversation.

Batik Workshop
Sun, 26 May 2024, 2 – 4pm
Fee is IDR 250,000 per person. Register by 23 May to Krisna 0859-4652-6426 (WhatsApp)
A 2-hour hands-on Batik workshop. Each participant will be given their very own batik-making kit: 50 x 50cm cloth, canting, wax, paint.

Potret Diri
Fri, 31 May 2024, Doors open: 6pm
Ticket is IDR 100,000 per person. Limited seats available. Registration open until seats are full. 
Register to Krisna 0859-4652-6426 (WhatsApp)

A cello recital by Billy Aryo, performing an array of compositions that draw inspiration from the life and works of Affandi. This recital is jointly presented by Art Agenda and SenyuMuseum.