A.D. PIrous

Indonesian (b. 1932)

A native of Aceh, A.D. Pirous (b. 1931) is best known for his calligraphy painting inspired by Islamic scripture and his exploration of textures through etchings, serigraphy and masterful employment of modelling paste. In his earlier works, Pirous experimented widely in styles, techniques and paintings elements, employing unconventional mediums like jute and wielding thick brush strokes with a diverse colour palette to preserve metaphorical abstraction.

To Pirous, “An artist should be sensitive to his past cultural dynamism… to stand more firmly in his own land to contribute to the development of world culture.” His contemplations on identity and his nationalist sentiment led Pirous to explore the boundaries of an “Indonesian” aesthetic by infusing elements like the Jawi script and the tilam pandak from his native Aceh into his work, to express a local variation of the Islamic faith and to “awaken Indonesian Muslims to their common cultural heritage.”

Joining Sanggar Seniman (The Artist’s Studio) in 1958, Pirous organized its first open-air exhibition in 1960 along with his contemporaries Srihadi Sudarsono and But Mochtar. After finishing his studies at the Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB) he was appointed as a permanent teaching staff in 1964. Receiving the Rockefeller fellowship in 1969, Pirous travelled to the U.S.A, where his exposure to the Islamic arts in the Metropolitan Museum of Art prompted a stylistic metamorphosis and embrace of Islamic aesthetics.
A portrait of Affandi


1932 Born March 11 in Meulaboh, Aceh
1948 Joins the student military army (Tentara Pelajar) as corporal during the revolutionary period
1955 Journeys to Bandung to study at The Art Department, Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB)
1964 Completes his studies at ITB and appointed as permanent member of teaching staff at The Art Department—ITB
1966 Marries Erna Garnasih
1968 Appointed as Head of Graphic Studio, The Art Department—ITB
1969 Studies graphic design and printmaking at the Rochester Institute of Technology in U.S.A under a John D. Rockefeller III Foundation Fellowship.
1970 Wins Best Print Collection in Art Show of Napel, New York, U.S.A
1971 Returns to Indonesia from the U.S.A
1972 Appointed as Head of Graphic Design Studio, Department of Design, ITB
Appointed Senior Lecturer in Visual Communication Design and Fine Arts
1973 Founds the Decenta Studio in Bandung along with other artists and designers
1974 Wins Best Painting in the 1st Indonesian Biennale Exhibition, awarded by Jakarta Art Council, Jakarta, Indonesia
1980 Participates in the design of all artworks of the Sabilal Muhtadin Mosque in Banjarmasin
1981 Appointed as chief designer in setting up “The Historical Museum of the Asian-African Conference” in Bandung
Commissioned for high relief mural painting for the main office of the Ministry of Religion in Jakarta
1982 Becomes member of design team commissioned for renovating the mosque of Baiturrahman in Banda Aceh
1983 Becomes member of design team commissioned for Islamic wall calligraphy at the Istiqlal Mosque, Jakarta
1984 Appointed as Dean of The Faculty of Fine Arts and Design, ITB
Won Silver Prize, Seoul International Art Competition 1984, awarded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the republic of Korea
1985 Receives National Art Award for Contemporary Art, awarded by the Ministry of Culture and Education, Jakarta, Indonesia
Receives commission for a wall carpet for the main office of Bank of Indonesia in Jakarta
1989 Appointed as Senior Lecturer in Art and Design at Post Graduate Programme, ITB
1990 Becomes Chairman, Indonesia National Committee for the Asian International Art Exhibition
1994 Appointed Professor at ITB

1972 Islamic Calligraphic Painting Exhibition, Chase Manhattan Bank, Jakarta, Indonesia
1976 The Islamic Calligraphic Print Exhibition (Serigraphy), Chase Manhattan Bank, Jakarta, Indonesia.
1985 Retrospective Exhibition Painting, Etching and Serigraphy 1960-1985, Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta, Indonesia.
1986 One Person Show of Prints, St. Martin’s School of Art, London, England.
2002 Retrospective Exhibition II, Painting, Etching and Serigraphy 1985-2002, Galeri Nasional, Jakarta, Indonesia.
2003 Rereading the journey of A.D. Pirous (1964-2003) ITB, Bandung, Indonesia.
Words and Faith National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
2005 Jabal Fana (Ephemeral Mountain) Bank Negara Indonesia Building, Jakarta, Indonesia.
2007 The Modern Islamic Calligraphic Painting Galeri Soemardja, ITB, Bandung, Indonesia.
2012 Ja’u Timu, Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Bandung, Indonesia.
2015 Verses of the Universe University of Malaya Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
2016 A.D. Pirous: Spiritual Calligraphy, World Trade Centre 2, Jakarta, Indonesia.

1960 Painting Exhibition: Artist’s Workshop at Balai Wartawan, Bandung, Indonesia.
1964 Arts Indonesia Contemporaria Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
1967 The Unseen Contemporary Indonesian Art Exhibition Bangkok, Thailand.
1968 Painting and Sculpture Exhibition by A.D. Pirous and G. Sidharta.
1970 Indonesian Painting Exhibition in Washington D.C, USA, sponsored by Department of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia and The Mobil Oil Corporation. Washington D.C. USA
1971 Prints Exhibition, by 5 Bandung Printmakers: Mochtar Apin, A.D. Pirous, Kaboel Soeadi, T.Soetanto and Haryadi Soeadi at Balai Budaya, Jakarta, Indonesia.
1972 The 8th International Biennale Exhibition of Prints at The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and The Museum of Modern Art ,Kyoto, Japan.
1974 The 1st Indonesian Painting Biennale, Cipta Art Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia.
1975 The International Cultural Manifestation Peace 75 UNO 30, Slovenj Gradec Art Gallery, Slovenia, Yugoslavia.
1976 Indonesian Prints Exhibition Galerija Donna, J.N.A, Beograd, Yugoslavia.
The 2nd Indonesian Painting Biennale Cipta Art Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia.
1978 The Western Pacific Prints Biennale Melbourne Organized by Print Council of Australia.
1980 The Contemporary Asian Art Show Fukuoka Museum, Fukuoka, Japan.
1981 Asian Art Exhibition, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The First of Asian Art Exhibition, Manama, Bahrain.
The ASEAN Exhibition of Painting, Graphic Arts and Photography, Bangkok, Thailand
The National Islamic Calligraphic Painting Exhibition, Banda Aceh, Indonesia.
1983 4 Grafische Kunstenaars uit Indonesia Rijswijke Museum, Holland
The Second ASEAN Exhibition of Painting and Photography, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
1984 The Exhibition of Painting and Khat, Tamaddun Islam National Gallery of Arts, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Third ASEAN Exhibition of Painting and Photography Manila, The Phillipines.
Print Exhibition, Intergrafik 84, Berlin, East Germany.
1988 The Exhibition of Indonesian Painting and Print Rotterdam Ethnological Museum, Holland.
1990 The Painting Exhibition of Two Images Mon Décor Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia.
1991 The Modern Islamic Art Exhibition Istiqlal Festival of Islamic Art, Jakarta, Indonesia.
1992 Exhibition of Paintings, Abdul Djalil Pirous, Sunaryo, Umi Dachlan Bali Padma Hotel, Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.
1993 Asia Pacific Triennale of Contemporary Art Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
Indonesian Modern Art, Gate Foundation, Amsterdam, Holland.
Paris – Jakarta, 1950—1960 Painting Exhibition CCF de Jakarta and Cedust Jakarta, Indonesia.
1994 Painting Exhibition Gelora Mutiara Ramadhan 1414H Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
1996 From Script to Abstraction Indonesian Contemporary Art Exhibition, Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, Amman, Jordan.
1998 Signifying Decorative Layers of Meaning organized by Australia—Indonesia Institute and Directorate General of the Arts and Culture of Indonesia.
2001 Bandung Art Event Biennale 2001, Morality in Tension at Griya Seni Popo Iskandar, Bandung, Indonesia.
2005 Pameran Seni Rupa Angkatan 60 Cipta Gateri 11, TIM, Jakarta, Indonesia.
2008 MANIFESTO Galeri Nasional Indonesia, Jakarta, Indonesia.
2010 Sang Ahli Gambar dan Kawan-kawan Exhibition Homages to S.Soedjojono at Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Bandung, Indonesia.
2011 1001 Doors: Reinterpreting Traditions, Ciputra Marketing Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia.