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A journey through Asian art


Episode 6: Independence

The mid twentieth century in Indonesia, like many of its neighbours, was a time when the people struggled against colonial power. Art became a tool in the drive for independence from the West.

Alison Carroll talks about Hendra Gunawan’s Hello Hello Bandung, which was painted as the Japanese left and the Dutch tried to resume their colonial control of Indonesia. Gunawan uses the angular form of the wayang puppets when depicting the soldiers.

Vietnamese artists were also looking to traditional techniques and merging them with modern ideas. To Ngoc Van’s Lighting a Torch to go to Night Class, was painted just before he died in the battle of Dien Bien Phu against the French.

In the Philippines, Alison Carroll talks with Brenda Fajardo about how she combined depictions of people throughout the independence struggles with mystic symbols of the tarot cards to make a political statement.

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