Christian Elements in Indonesian and Singapore Contemporary Art Essay

Christian Elements in Indonesian and Singapore Contemporary Art Essay

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The Art-Religion Symbiosis originated from the inceptive purpose of commemorating and exalting the divine through art-making. Christian elements in contemporary art are apparent from the previous influence of colonialism in South East Asia. This essay compares Indonesian Artist Ariadhitya Pramuhendra (Pramuhendra) with Singaporean Artist Boo Sze Yang in the use of Christian elements and its extent in their artworks and how this is affected by their individual societal backgrounds and distinct local influences.

Christianity made inroads into Indonesia’s art history during the 9th century with Christian missionaries and traders forming a small community on “Batak” island. (a collection of ethnic groups found in north Sumatra, Indonesia). Today, contemporary Christian art in Indonesia is prevalent within a group known as ‘Seni Rupa Kristiani’(SERUNI), set up in 2010, a vehicle for the development of Christian art in Indonesia. Its conception has seen collaborations with churches, art institutions, reviving the world of Christian art, opening another form of worship other than music. Pramuhendra is part of Indonesia’s new rising contemporary artists which uses his religious beliefs to assess the Self in relation to what constitutes identity, the moral and social in contemporary Indonesia.

The pivotal first step of Christianity in Singapore began within 6 months of Sir Stamford Raffles’ establishment of Singapore as a British Colony; Protestant missionaries came to set up a local ministry, establishing churches with the first Mass in 1821. Singapore’s multi-cultural melting pot results in the promotion of harmonious living as a national interest amongst all racial and religious groups so the 1988 Religious Harmony Act was set in p...


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...Ariadhitya. Accessed 25 Mar.2014


• ‘Tolerance for Christians Plunges in Indonesia’. Persecution. 27 Feb. 2014. Accessed 25 Mar. 2014

• Rogers, Benedict. ‘Indonesia's Rising Religious Intolerance’. The New York Times. 21 May. 2012. Accessed 1 Apr. 2014

• Ambarita, Victor. ‘Harsh Era Looms in Aceh, Indonesia’. World Watch Monitor. 16 May. 2012. Accessed 1 Apr. 2014


• Christian Solidarity Worldwide: Indonesia Report. 14 Feb. 2014. Accessed 5 Apr. 2014

• Seni Rupa Kristiani. Accessed 1 Apr. 2014 < https://serunii.wordpress.com/>

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