Renowned Indonesian abstract artist Hanafi has a long association with Ubud’s Komaneka Fine Art Gallery, stretching back over fifteen years. The versatile artist with an international reputation presents his solo exhibition of paintings, Hanafi: Coming Home by a New Road, opened the 7th of January at Komaneka and is up until the 7th of February.

text and photos © Richard Horstman


Hanafi shot onto the national spotlight in 1997 as one of the ten best finalists in the country’s then most prestigious award, the Phillip Morris Art Award. Since his first solo presentation at Komaneka, Keheningan Sayan in 2001, Hanafi has returned to exhibit in 2004, 2010 and 2013, this will be the third in the “Coming Home” series.

For Hanafi, Komaneka is a kind of homecoming.

Born in Purworejo, Central Java in 1960, Hanafi studied at the Indonesian Arts High School (SSRI) in Yogyakarta 1976–1979. In the 1990s he moved to Jakarta where he still lives and works at Depok. He has exhibited in the United States, at the Saatchi Gallery in London and at the Museum of Girona in Spain. His work has also been exhibited in Canada, China, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He has participated in over 80 art exhibitions including the National Gallery of Indonesia in Jakarta in 2002.

Hanafi is very concerned with the experience of chaos and indecision. “It’s a kind of questioning, a reconstruction,” said Hanafi. “It is important to always take a new road, even to a familiar destination, it will entail indecision and confusion.” For Hanafi indecision is an energy: a state of mind fertile for discovery, and creativity.



Part of Hanafi’s stoic work discipline is to seek to liberate the line from its function and apply it instead as a pattern. This requires a continual inner interrogation. Home has long been a theme of Hanafi’s work, expressed in architectural patterns in his canvases, while his use of color is spare and is inspired from the urban earth of his childhood: terracotta roof tiles, cement.

The works are compelling and beautiful. Hanafi said, “Beauty is like an orchestra. It’s composed of many elements: there is cleanness, emptiness, polemics; there is order and confusion, flatness and volume.”


“Mencari Jalan Baru”  series 1 – 160


Komaneka Fine Art Gallery, Jalan Monkey Forest, Ubud, Tel: +623614012217

Open Daily: 8am – 9pm

Art activist Richard Horstman (b.1964 Melbourne) first visited Ubud in 1986. The former sculptor is a journalist, writer, art tourism presenter and behind the scenes doer in Bali art scene. Dedicated to contributing to the development of Balinese and Indonesian art, he regularly contributes to the Jakarta Post on a range of art related topics and may be contacted at: