On Tuesday, January 22, 2002, renowned Indonesian artist and Bali resident, Abdul Aziz died after being hospitalized for one week at Denpasar's General Hospital.
Born in Purwokerto in 1928, Abdul Aziz was a true renaissance man whose many skills encompassed graphic design, painting, sculptor, musical performance and violin making, Bapak Aziz's keen mind and natural artistic talent emerged in early childhood precocious drawings. During this period, musical talent also asserted itself as the young boy taught himself the violin and sang, at the age of 8 years, on the national radio network. Later, a childhood mishap in which he accidentally broke the "borrowed" violin of an older brother, compelled him to undertake emergency repairs, foreshadowing a life-long interest in violin manufacture, a serious pursuit during the last period of his life.
The recipient of 3 medals of honor from a grateful nation, including the Guerrilla Star, War of Independence I Medal, and the War of Independence II Medal, he contributed to Indonesia's fight for independence. Fittingly, his burial ceremony was marked by military guard of honor and a salvo salute at Gianyar's Cemetery.
Abdul Aziz: The Artist
Initially, Abdul Aziz's embarked on a circuitous route before finally finding his true vocation as an artist. In 1951, he studied Politics at Gajah Mada University in Yogyakarta, before changing his course of study to the arts at the Indonesian Fine Arts Institute in Yogyakarta. In 1959, he received a Scholarship from the Government of Indonesia to continue his studies at the Academia Di Belle Arti in Rome, Italy, where he spent five years and was awarded the Diploma in Painting in October 1962 and the Diploma in Decoration, in October 1964. Subsequently, he served as the cultural attaché to the Indonesian Embassy in Rome from October 1964 to September 1965. On his return to Bali in 1965, he taught Materials Science, the Basics of Technical Drawing, and Illustration and Graphics, as an unsalaried tutor in the Fine Arts department of Udayana University, Bali. He resigned this job in 1980 to focus his attention on his art, developing the unique 'trompe l'oeil' style, which became his trademark.
Abdul Aziz's paintings are prized parts of the collections of leading museums both in Indonesia and abroad and highly sought after via international auctions at Christies and other leading art houses. Emblematic of Aziz's distinctive "doorway" and "window" style is his famous 1975 painting, Mutual Attraction in which the frames play the part of doorways from which two Balinese youth exchange seductive glances of courtship. This painting, together with other compositions and sculptors by Abdul Aziz, form part of the permanent collection of the Neka Museum in Ubud.
Abdul Aziz leaves his wife, Mary Northmore, the founder of the world famous Seniwati Gallery of Art by Women in Ubud.
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