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.