by Adi Bachmann
Adi: We often meet at openings of art exhibitions in Ubud. But still you seem to be one of the most mysterious characters in the scene to me: looking but seldom talking. Who are you? What is your background?
Anwar: I was born in Jakarta on July 18th, 1960. Since I was a boy I participated in the art world. I did attend openings, see various exhibitions, and listen to conversations about art because I lived near the centre of arts in Jakarta und the artists neighborhood. Than in 1976 I started to paint on my own. Later I became involved in theater and acting, I studied performing art and also the production of electronic arts. Late in 1997 I went to Bali and settled down in Ubud. I began to paint again, which Im continuing until now.
Adi: Did you in between – receive a formal education as a painter?
Anwar: No. My academy was the neighborhood in Jakarta and all the artists around. From early age on I saw and learned a lot from them and did my own paintings. During my time at theaters I had the chance to study human figures, movements and faces but also about nature and some problems in life. When I came to Bali in 1997 I painted directly on paper or carton minimum 50 sheets. My daily exercises I did with pencil, Chinese watercolor or oil-pastel-crayons. And sometimes a made the paper myself.
Adi: What happened that made you leave Java and move to Bali?
Anwar: Since I was a small boy I was on the move resettled moved & like a nomad. Also my living with some theatre groups caused many moves. I like the style of being small as a natural child, wandering around and create fantasies. I do many things by instinct. And it was an act of adventurous instinct, too, to come to Bali.
Adi: Was this the beginning of your career as a painter?
Anwar: After I arrived in Ubud, my instinct talked to me: In Ubud you must be a painter. The only value I had were the five paintings, I had from my father as a legacy. I sold the five paintings and used the money for living expenses and to buy materials and equipments I did need to paint. Than I had some dreams and set up some goals. A painter has to create paintings and show them to the public. I had the opportunities to exhibit some of my work in joint and solo exhibitions in Ubud, Kuta, Surabaya and Jogjakarta.
Adi: Did you become a professional artist, this means: do you live from selling your paintings?
Anwar: Its not that easy. But I do.
Adi: Who are your models, heroes and teachers in life?
Anwar: I learned a lot from peoples lives: from my father, until he became a hero and a model for many people. I learned from Mahatma Gandhis life and I learned from Musashi, the heroic Japanese Samurai character. And I learned from Putu Wijaja, the famous Indonesian writer and director from Bali, about creativity and the spirit of work and the necessity to foster a broad and unlimited imagination.
Adi: Huge heads – sometimes almost brutal in the manner you worked them out and also provocative in colors and wild brushstrokes often appear on your canvases. After I went through many of your actual paintings I wanted to name your exhibition in my gallery Talking Heads. You immediately agreed on this title. Why was this so easy for you?
Anwar: After a work is completed I never thought, what title it should have. Nowadays every activity, also fine art exhibitions, has to have a title. To me in the process of painting my trip already unites with the spirit, and the meaning of the colors, the rhythm and the scratches are parts of dialogue. Now you, as the gallery manager offer a title: Talking Heads. I agree on this title for my exhibition: because you are the gallery owner, its manager and you are an artist, too.
Adi: Anwar, you are 51 years of age now you are not young anymore. What expectations in life to you have as an individual and as an artist?
Anwar: As a child of nature I do hope, that it is right and useful, to live my life as I did until now: by instinct. As an artist I do hope to able to build up a private painting museum.
Adi: Anwar, thank you for your time.