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ARTISTS | Dadang Christanto


Born in central Java in 1957, Dadang Christanto has spent his career honouring the countless victims of political violence and crimes against humanity. His large scale paintings, which are mostly spare renderings on raw linen using the human head as a recurring motif, express the suffering of victims and lay bare the anguish and grief that is endured in silence. The sincerity and rawness of emotion in his work is due in part to the circumstances of his own father’s disappearance when Christanto was a boy, yet the artist continues to produce art which pleads for compassion regardless of differing faiths and political beliefs.

Christanto was the first Indonesian artist to represent his native country at the Venice Biennale in 2003. He has been curated into many other major art events worldwide including the Sydney Biennale (2010), the Yogyakarta Biennial, Indonesia (2003), Kwangju Biennale, South Korea (2000), the Bienal de Sao Paulo, Brazil (1998) and the first and third Asia-Pacific Triennials of Contemporary Art, Brisbane (1993 & 1999).

Christanto currently divides his time between the central coast of New South Wales and Central Java.



Grandma Tells to Granddaughter | Dadang Christanto

Dadang Christanto's works are overtly political and deeply human, unafraid of the inconvenient truth. His compassionate and unwavering devotion to honouring the victims of crimes against humanity is evident in this newest body of work. Contact the gallery to receive an e-catalogue for Dadang Christanto.
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Gallerysmith launches its 2023 exhibition program with a group exhibition which celebrates 15 years of gallery operations. This exhibition features works by more than 50 artists who have shown at the gallery between 2008 and 2023....
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Sydney Contemporary 2021 | Explore

Gallerysmith Presents Kate Ballis, Dadang Christanto, Fiona Hiscock, Susanne Kerr, Waldemar Kolbusz and Catherine Nelson at Sydney Contemporary Explore 2021.

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Surrounded by Cactus | Dadang Christanto

Dadang Christanto was born and grew up on Java, the largest island in Indonesia. In this tropical environment, cactus and succulents were not familiar to the landscape and only ever seen at the cinema or on tv.
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Archive | Dadang Christanto

ARCHIVE unapologetically documents incidents which occurred in 1965-66 during Indonesia’s anti-communist purges. It is an extension of 2015 series titled Genocide which marked 50 years since the Indonesian atrocities began.
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Once Upon a Time | Dadang Christanto

This exhibition brings together religious iconography and imagery from ancient Javanese scrolls in a bid to preserve important cultural practices which are slowly being lost in the new generation. The work explores the legacy of the many cultures and religions which make up Indonesia. Dadang Christanto is an internationally recognised…

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Dadang Christanto, Missing, 2013, cast aluminium, enamel, gold leaf, 60x60x45cm

Hidden | Dadang Christanto

Drawing from his personal experience of racially fuelled violence in South East Asia, Dadang Christanto continues his quest to honour the victims of crimes against humanity. Christanto’s 30 Wuku heads in this exhibition represent the 30 days of the Javanese Pawukon calendar reminding us that people are victims from every day of the year.
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Catherine Nelson, Mareeba Wet

Out of the Darkness: a group exhibition | Gallerysmith

When shadows lurk in the darkness, senses heighten, sound is amplified, the pulse races, unease escalates. While light allows us to see, the darkness makes us feel. Out of the Darkness examines some of these sensory responses by bringing together a selection of work that employs dark and light as…

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Dadang Christanto

Born 1957, Tegal, Central Java, Indonesia, arrived Australia 1991

Solo Exhibitions

2018    ARCHIVE, Gallerysmith, Melbourne2015    1965-1966 Genocide, Gallerysmith, Melbourne

2014    Once Upon a Time, Gallerysmith, Melbourne
2014    Survivor, Lumpur Lapindo Sidoarto, Indonesia

2013    Dadang Christanto, painting and sculpture, Sydney Contemporary 13, Sydney
2013    Lost and Found, Jan Manton Art, Brisbane

2012    Remembering Silence, Yuz Museum, Jakarta, Indonesia
2012    Seeing Java, Sangkring Art Space, Yogyakarta
2012    Hidden, Gallerysmith, Melbourne

2011    Lost Horizon, Jan Manton Art, Brisbane

2010    Dadang Christanto: Wounds in our Heart, Drill Hall Gallery, ANU, Canberra
2010    Behind the Veil, Gallerysmith, Melbourne
2010    The Rivers, Jan Manton Art, Brisbane

2008    Batik has been Burned, Jan Manton Art, Brisbane

2007    Work of Body, Jan Manton Art, Brisbane

2006    Pilgrim Project, Gaya Fusion Gallery, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

2005    Testimonies of the Trees, CP Art Space, Jakarta, Indonesia
2005    Heads and Trees, Sherman Gallery, Sydney

2004    Head from the North, Marsh Pond, Sculpture Garden, NGA, Canberra

2003    Count Project, Northern Territory University Gallery, Darwin, NT
2003    They Give Evidence, Asian Gallery, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney

2002    Unspeakable Horror, Bentara Budaya Jakarta, Jakarta, Indonesia

2001    The Dark Century, Raft Art Space, Darwin, NT

2000    Beginning of the Dark Age, Centre de Reflexion sur I’Image et ses, Sierre,,Switzerland
2000    Reconciliation, 24 Hour Art Gallery, Darwin and Watch This Space, Alice Springs, NT

1998    Cannibalism or Memoir, Guarrant Gallery, Canberra School of Art, ACT
1998    Switchback Gallery, Faculty of Art and Design, Gippsland, Vic

1997    About the Heads and Hearts, LIP Gallery, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

1996    1001 Earth Humans, Marina Beach-Ancol, Jakarta, Indonesia

1995    Terracotta or The Case Land, Bentara Budaya, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

1991    Contemporary Indonesian Artist, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA and VCA, Melbourne, Vic 

Selected Group Exhibitions

2017    Political Acts: Pioneers of Performance Art in Southeast Asia, Art Centre, Melbourne

2012    Controversy, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Melbourne

2010    Setouchi International Art Festival, Kagawa, Japan
2010    In the Balance: Art for a Changing World, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

2009    Temperature 2, Museum of Brisbane, Brisbane
2009    Niigata Water and Land Art Festival, Niigata, Japan

2008    Recovering Lives, Drill Hall Gallery, Australian National University, ACT
2008    Handle with Care, Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, AGSA

2007    Three Ways : Contemporary Sculpture from the Collection, Queensland Art Gallery

2006    Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial III, Niigata, Japan
2006    Artery-Inaugural Exhibition, Singapore Management University, Singapore

2005    Echoes of Home, Museum Brisbane, Brisbane
2005-06 Open Letter, touring exhibition, Sydney, Bangkok, Manila and Kuala Lumpur
2005    Future Tense: Security and Human Right, Dell Gallery, Griffith University, Brisbane

2004    Contact pre Text Me, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, NSW
2004    Contemporary Territory, Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory, NT

2003    They Give Evidence, opening exhibition for contemporary Asian space, Art Gallery of NSW
2003    Country-bution, Yogyakarta Biennial, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
2003    Interpellation, CP Open Biennial, Jakarta, Indonesia
2003    Witnessing to Silence: Art and Human Rights, School of Art Gallery, ANU
2003    Mourning Lost Paradise, Indonesian Pavilion, 50th Venice Biennale, Italy
2003    Austral-Asia Zero Three, Sherman Galleries, Sydney, NSW

2000    Kwangju Biennale 2000, Kwangju, South Korea
2000    From Asian Forests, Yokohama open-air art exhibition, Japan

1999    From Asian Forests, Kanazu Forest of Creation, Fukui, Japan

1998    The Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art 1999, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
1998    XXIV Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil
1998    Begegnung 3:3 in Yogya, Taman Budaya, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
1998    Plastic (or Other Waste), Center of Resources, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
1998    Bangkok Art Project, Bangkok, Thailand

1997    Art in Southeast Asia 1997: Glimpses into the Future, MCA Tokyo, Hiroshima CMCA, Japan
1997    Befragung Der Raume, Magdeburg Museum, Magdeburg, Germany
1997    Yokohama International Open Air Art Exhibition’97, Yokohama, Japan

1996    Tradition/Tension: Contemporary Arts in Asia, Asia Society Gallery, New York, Vancouver and Perth
1996    Linkage and Leakage, The Tanks, Cairns, Qld
1996    Mata Perupa, Pagelaran Kraton Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

1995    Realism as an Attitude 4th Asian Art Show, Fukuoka Art Museum, travelling exhibition
1995    Asian Peace Art, War and Art 1995, Osaka International Peace Centre, Osaka, Japan
1995    Osaka Triennial 1995: Sculpture, Dome exhibition Hall, Osaka, Japan

1994    Quinta Bienale de la Habana, Nasional Museum, Havana, Cuba
1994    Nur Gora Rupa, Taman Budaya Surakarta, Solo, Indonesia

1993    The First Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Qld
1993    The 9th Jakarta Art Biennial, Taman Ismail Marzuki, Jakarta, Indonesia

1992    Binal, Senisono Art Gallery, Yogakarta, Indonesia
1992    New Art from Southeast Asia II, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Apace
1992    Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Kirin Plaza, Osaka, Japan
1992    Mobile, Museum City Project, Fukuoka, Japan 


2015    Nineteen Sixty Five, QUT Art Museum, Queensland
2015    For Those Who Have Been Lost, 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art as part of 48HR Incident
2015    Nineteen Sixty Five, Australian Experimental Art Foundation as part of Art After Dark

2012    Survivor, Gallery 4A, Sydney (touring to regional Qld, NSW)

2010    Survivor, Museum of Contemporary Art forecourt, Sydney

2007    For those: Who are poor, Who are suffer(ing), Who are oppressed, Who are voiceless,Who are powerless, Who are burdened, Who are Victims of violence, Who are Victims of a dupe, Who are Victims of injustice (1993), Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Qld

2005    Searching Displaced Bones, Old Canberra House, Australian University, Canberra
2005    Litsus, Griffith University, Brisbane

2004    Family Portrait, Old Canberra House, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT
2004    For Those Who Have Been Killed, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT

2003    Litsus, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, ACT

2000    Reconciliation, 24 Hour Art Gallery, Darwin and Watch This Space, Alice Springs, NT

1999    Api di Bulan Mei, The Third Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art 1999, QueenslandArt Gallery, Brisbane

1998    Violence, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth, WA
1998    For Those Who Have Been Killed, Switchback Gallery, Gippsland, Vic

1997    Violence, Western Front, Vancouver, Canada; Magdeburg Museum, Magdeburg, Germany
1997    For Those Who Have Been Killed, Dock 11, Berlin, Germany

1996    Earth Man in Jakarta, Marina Beach-Ancol, Jakarta, Indonesia
1996    Violence, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns, Qld
1996    Violence, Z Gallery, New York

1995    Man in Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

1994    Earth Man in Solo, Solo City, Indonesia

1993    For Those Who Have Been Killed, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Qld
1993    Museum Affandi, Yogyakarta and UNS, Solo, Indonesia

1992    I’m Human Being, Daimaru Shopping Center, Fukuoka, Japan
1992    Earth Man in Tenjin, Tenjin Area, Fukuoka, Japan


2007    School of Visual Arts, Manukau, Auckland, New Zealand

2004    School of Art, Australian National University

2003    School of Art, Australian National University

1999    Ecole Cantonale d’ Art du Valais (ECAV), Switzerland

1998    Australian National University, Canberra, ACT
1998    Monash University, Gippsland Campus, Vic

1997    Western Front, Vancouver, Canada

1997    Magdeburg and Berlin, Germany

1991    University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA


Education / Teaching appointments

2004      Lecturer, College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Sydney

1999–03 Lecturer, School of Art and Design, Northern Territory University, Darwin

1980–86 Studied painting, Indonesia Institute of Arts (ISI), Yogyakarta, Indonesia

1975–79 Studied painting, Sekolah Menengah Seni Rupa (SMSR), Yogyakarta, Indonesia

1975–77 Studied painting, Pawiyatan Sanggarbambu, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

 Grants and Awards

2004    Australia Council grant

1997    The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York


Courtney Kidd, ‘Voice for Freedom’, Profile, Art Collector, July-September issue, 2013
Agung Hujatnikajennong, ‘Mengingat Senyap (Remembering Silence)’, ex. cat. 2012
Caroline Turner & Nancy Sever (eds), Wounds in our Heart, ex. cat. ANU Press, 2011
Alison Kubler, ‘Temperature 2: New Queensland Art’ (Review) ARTWORLD Issue #8, APR-MAY 2009, pp. 162-163
Wolfe, Ross., ‘Visual Arts in Adelaide’, Eyeline Magazine, Number 66 2008, p. 41
Anne Kirker, ‘Dadang Christanto’ , ARTWORLD Issue 4, Aug / Sep 2008, pp. 180 – 183
Felicity Fenner, ‘HANDLE WITH CARE’ Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, 2008
‘50 Most Collectable Artists’, Australian Art Collector, Issue 43, Jan – Mar 2008, p. 122
Sally Butler, ‘Dadang Christanto’, Art and Australia, Volume 45. Spring 2007, p. 132
Louise Martin-Chew, ‘Works of nature’s betrayal honour life’s preciousness’, The Australian, May 2007
Andrea Stretton, ‘Reading; Dadang Christanto’, Art & Australia, Volume 42, No. 2, summer 2004, pp. 271-273 


Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Australian National University, Canberra
Fukuoka Museum of Modern Art, Fukuoka, Japan
Kanazu Forest of Creation, Fukui, Japan
Magdeburg Museum, Magdeburg, Germany
Murdoch University Art Collection, Perth
Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory (MAGNT), Darwin
Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
Oie Hong Djien Museum, Magelang
Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane
Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane
Wesfarmers Collection, Perth
Yuz Museum, Jakarta, Indonesia

Private collections national and international


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