Agung Kurniawan – S.E.A. Focus

Agung Kurniawan

Indonesia / ROH

Agung Kurniawan (b. 1968, Jember, Indonesia) is a Yogyakarta-based multidisciplinary artist working with drawings, installations, and in more recent years, performances, theater, and happening arts. He looks at the socio-political as well as historical aspects of trauma and tragedy situated in a place or a nation by unraveling the stories from first-hand sources and recounting them with his own imaginative narration.

Kurniawan has been developing a new series of striking works that interweave complex layers of history and narrative with fiction based off of his ongoing interest in the Indonesian reformation period of 1965.


The God of Small Things is built out of thirteen almost identical-sized small oil paintings. Lines, composition and details become the anchor that maneuvers his narrative in each piece. Sensitivity allows him to be humbled towards these paintings. Through this series of small paintings, Kurniawan has found poetry, or a prayer or spell. There exists a whole other universe that needs to be considered and honored. The narratives deftly interwoven through his compositions act as sacred praise to the almighty nobody, whispered carefully – sincerely and in faithful order – just as a prayer or spell is cast for the big gods.