Indonesian (1927 - 2000)

West Java born artist Popo Iskandar (1927-2000) is best known for paintings inspired by nature that are rendered in bold colours and thick textures. In addition to being a prolific painter, he was also an established art critic who challenged the developments of Indonesian modern art through his writings.

Popo studied under the guidance of pioneering artists Barli Sasmitawinata and Hendra Gunawan at Keimin Bunka Shidosho (Institute for People’s Education and Cultural Guidance) in Bandung. In 1944, he gained recognition as a prominent emerging artist and presented works in a travelling show alongside senior painters such as S. Sudjojono and Basoeki Abdullah. In 1954, Popo returned to Bandung to complete his formal training at Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB, Bandung Institute of Technology) and later became a lecturer in the Fine Art Department from 1957-1961.

Popo’s distinct expressionist vocabulary was drawn from “plein-air painting” emphasised by his mentor Hendra Gunawan, as well as his training in abstraction under Ries Mulder. Together, these experiences honed Popo’s observation skills and ability to capture the essence of his subjects that spanned from landscapes to animals such as cats, tigers and roosters. Popo travelled extensively and had solo exhibitions in the Netherlands and Indonesia. His works had been included in group exhibitions in China, England, India, Japan, the Netherlands and the United States of America.
A portrait of Popo Iskandar


1927 Born in Garut, West Java
1933-1940 Attends Hollandsch-Inlandsche School (HIS) and moves between Pasundan Tasikmalaya, Ciamis and Garut
1941 Attends MULO (Junior High School) in Garut
1942 Attends Junior High School in Bandung during the Japanese Occupation
1943 Attends painting course at Keimin Bunka Shidoso (Institute for People’s Education and Cultural Guidance), Bandung under the guidance of Barli and Hendra Gunawan
1945 Attends SMT (Japanese High School) in Bandung for 3 months before moving to Garut to join Regiment TRIP Garut Becomes a poster painter in the Information section of Regiment TRIP Garut
1950 Enters the Architecture Department of the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB)
1953 Acquires Bachelor of Science from ITB
1954 Transfers from the Architecture Department to the Fine Arts Department of ITB
1958 Acquires Bachelor of Fine Arts from ITB Appointed as professor of fine arts at ITB Writes essays and critcisms on art in various mass media
1961 Appointed as professor of Fine Arts at Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (IKIP, Indonesia University of Education)
1970 Teaches at Lembaga Pendidikan Kesenian Jakarta (now IKJ - Jakarta Arts Institute) Becomes one of ten Indonesian artists promoted as a member of AKADEMI JAKARTA Becomes a member of the Anugerah Seni R.I. jury
1971 Becomes a jury member of Hadiah Seni Dewan Kesenian Jakarta (Jakarta Arts Council Arts Prize) Invited as an external examiner for the study of Fine Arts at Malaysia University
1972 Appointed to visit Singapore as Indonesia’s representative in the ASEAN Exhibition Appointed as Indonesia’s representative in the Mostra International Xylography Exhibition in Milan, Italy
1976 Invited by the Dutch and French governments to hold a cultural visit to Holland and France for six months Invited by the R.I. Embassy in Spain for a cultural visit
1980 Obtains Gift of Art from the Indonesian government as an artist and teacher of contemporary fine arts
1984 Becomes member of R.I. delegation at the Exhibition of International Fine Art in Bangkok, Thailand
1985 Invited by the Dutch government to do a comparative study on art education at various universities in Holland for a year.
2000 Passes away in Bandung, Indonesia

1994 Solo Exhibition, Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM), Jakarta, Indonesia
1993 Solo Retrospective Exhibition , Department of Education and Culture Fine Arts Building, Jakarta, Indonesia
1992 Solo Exhibition, TIM, Jakarta, Indonesia
1988 Solo Exhibition, TIM, Jakarta, Indonesia
1987 Solo Exhibition, BCA Building, Jakarta, Indonesia
1983 Solo Exhibition For 40 Years of Work , The Japan Foundation Hall, Jakarta, Indonesia
1980 Solo Exhibition, TIM, Jakarta, Indonesia
1978 Solo Exhibition, TIM, Jakarta, Indonesia
1977 Solo Exhibition, Erasmus Huis, Jakarta, Indonesia
1976 Solo Exhibition, Den Haag, Holland, organised by CRM (Centrum voor Recratie ed Maatschappelywerk)
1975 Solo Exhibition, TIM, Jakarta, Indonesia
1973 Solo Exhibition, Balai Budaya, Jakarta, Indonesia
1968 Solo Exhibition, Balai Budaya, Jakarta, Indonesia
1958 Solo Exhibition, Balai Budaya, Bali, Indonesia

994 The Best of Indonesia, Fine Arts Building, Jakarta, Indonesia
1993 Group Exhibtion, PAKIB (Indonesian Culture in America) on invitation by the Dutch government
1992 International Exhibition of Asian Fine Arts, Merdaka Building, Bandung, Indonesia
1986 Group Exhibition, Leiden, Holland
1980 International Exhibition, Fukuoka, Japan
1970 25 Years Commemorative Exhibition of the United Nations, New York, United States of America
1961 International Exhibition, Kuala Lumpur, Indonesia and New Delhi, India
1960 Group Exhibition, Indonesian Embassy, London, United Kingdom
1955 Asia Africa Exhibit, Bandung, Indonesia
1953 International Exhibition of Painting, Bejing, China
1950 Group Exhibition, Tasikmalaya, Indonesia
1944 Travelling Exhibition, several Indonesian cities