AHMAD SADALI

Indonesian (1924 - 1987)

As both an artist and academic, Ahmad Sadali (1924 – 1987) was a central figure in the development of modern Islamic art in Indonesia. Understanding painting as a means to “clarify the relationship between self and world,” he used bold impasto layers, gold accents and calligraphy to express his instinctive connection with nature. Taught by Dutch painter Ries Mulder in his early years, he developed a distinct manner of abstract painting which he used to depict the divine. 

Sadali was amongst the first generation of Indonesian students at the Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB, Bandung Institute of Technology). Immediately upon graduation in 1953, he became one of the academy’s first Indonesian lecturers. Subsequently, he received a scholarship from the Rockefeller Foundation to study art in the United States of America from 1956 to 1957. Alongside his artistic achievements, Sadali also established the Islamic University of Bandung and served as chairman of the ITB Salman Mosque Development.

Seeing painting as a spiritual act, the Bandung-trained artist meditated on the balance between opposing forces. With soft colour fields, his works mediate the tension between matte and glistening hues, rough and smooth surfaces, as well as angular and organic forms. The complexity of his experimental compositions is reminiscent of both batik textiles and landscapes, both of which were ever-present in his childhood. By uniting elements of nature and religion, Sadali pushed the boundaries of what constituted as Indonesian Islamic art.
A portrait of Ahmad Sadali (1924-1987)

GALLERY

ARTIST BIO
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1924 Born in Garut, West Java
1948-1953 Studies at Department of Fine Arts, Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB, Bandung Institute of Technology)
1952 Begins teaching at the Fine Arts Department in ITB, Bandung, Indonesia
1954 Attends Arts and Crafts seminar organised by UNESCO, Tokyo, Japan
1956-57 Receives a scholarship from the Rockerfeller Foundation, Division of Humanities
Studies at the Department of Fine Arts in Iowa State University, Iowa City, United States of America
Studies at Art Teachers’ Collage in Columbia University, New York City, United States of America
Studies at Art Student League, New York City, United States of America
1958 Becomes the secretary of the Fine Arts Department at ITB, Bandung, Indonesia
1962-1968 Becomes the chairman of the Fine Arts Department at ITB, Bandung, Indonesia
1968-1969 Becomes Dean of the School of Planning, Architecture and Fine Arts at ITB, Bandung, Indonesia
1969 Became a member of the National Committee of International Association of the Arts
1969-1970 Becomes senior designer for the Indonesian Pavilion EXPO 1970, Osaka, Japan
1969-1976 Becomes the Deputy Rector for External Affairs at ITB, Bandung, Indonesia
1970-1971 Awarded a study-travel grant from the JDR-3rd Fund for a five months work and study in New York City, and another seven months of travel throughout the United States of America, Mexico and Europe
1972 Granted the National Art Awards by the government of Indonesia, c.q. the Ministry of Education and Culture
Awarded the Jakarta Art Council award for the “selected painting: from the 1972 Grand Painting Exhibition
Attended the 1972 PATA Conference in Tokyo
Appointed full professorship in Fine Arts at ITB, Bandung, Indonesia
1972-1974 Appointed as Chief Committee for beautification and decoration of the Host Committee PATA
1975 Appointed as the Chairman of the West Java Cultural Council
1977 Receives an award from the government of Australia to visit the Melbourne Art Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
Appointed the Chairman of the Working Group for “Islam Education on Higher Education Institutions Curriculum” by the Ministry of Religious Affairs c.q. the Directorate General of Islam Education on Higher Education Institutions
1978 Receives the Jakarta Art Council Award
Wins third prize for design “1979 Year of the Child” poster
1979 Becomes a member of the jury for “Salon Malaysia 1979” at the National Art Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
1987 Passes away

SOLO EXHIBITIONS
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1987 Lukisan Sadali, Erasmus-Huis Jakarta, Jakarta, Indonesia
1979 Salle de Spectable, Cedust de Documentation Universitaire Scientifique et Technique de Bandung, Bandung, Indonesia
1976 Solo Exhibition, TIM with Cipta Gallery, sponsored by the Jakarta Art Council, Jakarta, Indonesia
Solo Exhibition, Soemardja Gallery in the Department of Fine Arts, ITB, Bandung, Indonesia
Solo Exhibition, Students Centre in Gajah Mada University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Solo Exhibition, Jakarta Art Council Award Exhibition
1973 Solo Exhibition, Maranthana Building, sponsored by the Surabaya Art Council, Surabaya, Indonesia
1972 Solo Exhibition, Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM) with Cipta Gallery, sponsored by the Jakarta Art Council, Jakarta, Indonesia
Solo Exhibition, The Chase Manhattan Bank, co-sponsored by Mr Alexander Papadimitriou, Jakarta, Indonesia
1970 Solo Exhibition, Goethe Institut, sponsored by the Goethe Institut of Jakarta, Jakarta, Indonesia

GROUP EXHIBITIONS
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1987 Lembaga Indonesia Amerika Exhibition, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
1985 Exhibition of Islam Calligraphic Painting, Jeddah and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
1979 Art Festival of the United World College of Southeast Asia, Singapore
1978 The 1978 Grand Exhibition of Indonesian Painting, TIM, Jakarta, Indonesia
1977 The 450th Anniversary of the City of Jakarta Exhibition, Taman Fatahillah Museum, Jakarta, Indonesia
1976 Salle de Spectable, Cedust de Bandung, Bandung, Indonesia
Grand Exhibition of Indonesian Painting, TIM, Jakarta, Indonesia
1975 The Daily Kompas Collection, Cipta Gallery Jakarta, Indonesia
1973 Group Exhibition, Surabaya, Indonesia
1972 ITB Fine Art Department Art Gallery, ITB, Bandung, Indonesia
1970 Indonesian Painting Exhibition, Church Centre N.Y.C., sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, New York, USA
1969 2 Bandung Artists, Goethe Institut, Jakarta, Indonesia
Indonesian Contemporary Art, several art galleries in England, including Eastbourne, Oldham, London, Birmingham, Reading, sponsored by the Indonesian embassy for the United Kingdom, London, UK
Indonesian Contemporary Art, Intercontinental Hotel, sponsored by I.O.S. Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland
X Bienale de Sao Paolo, Sao Paolo, Brazil
1968 3 Bandung Artists, Goethe Institut, Jakarta, Indonesia
Jakarta Art Fair, Jakarta, Indonesia
Indonesian Modern Art, sponsored by Mr Mochtar Lubis cs, Manila, The Philippines
1967 3 Bandung Artists, Goethe Institut, Jakarta, Indonesia
The Unseen Contemporary Indonesian Art, Rama Hotel, sponsored by Mr B. St. Rainsborough, Bangkok, Thailand
1966 11 Bandung Artists, Balai Budaya Art Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia
1964 Arte Contemporanea Indonesia, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1959 Bianco e Nero, Lugano, Switzerland
1958 Group Exhibition, Balai Budaya Art Gallery, Jakarta, Indonesia
1957 Indonesian Art Exhibition, New Delhi, India, and Hanoi, Vietnam
1955 Asia African Conference Art Exhibition, Afro-Asian Conference, Bandung, Indonesia
Bandung Painters, Balai Budaya, Jakarta, Indonesia
1953 Art Exhibition, Culture Office, Beijing, China
1952 Art Student Exhibition, Cultural Centre Foundation Building, Bandung, Indonesia
1951 Student Art Exhibition, organised by the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, United States of America (USA)

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