Hometown: Bukittinggi, West Sumatra
Lives and Works: Padang Panjang, West Sumatra
Born in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, Ibrahim Sutan Parpatiah (b.1975), or Ibrahim, is an abstract artist distinguished among the art communities of Indonesia. Ibrahim began his basic fine arts training at Sekolah Menangah Kejuruan Seni Rupa (SMSR), a vocational arts college in West Sumatra. He later pursued a formal education at the Institut Seni Indonesia—Yogyakarta (ISI) in 1996, finishing his fine arts degree with a focus in painting in 2006.
Ibrahim returned to West Sumatra in 2006 to pursue a new venture in teaching at the ISI Padang Panjang, yet he remains focused on exploring and enhancing his creative work. While he is occupied in the world of academia, Ibrahim continues to push himself to investigate the possibilities of color and further cultivate his experiments on canvas. Though physically removed from his friends and from the community that berthed his artistic career, Ibrahim works diligently to stay connected to the excitement and vigor of Yogyakarta’s boisterous art scene.
Since receiving his fine arts degree, Ibrahim’s approach to painting has been rooted in characteristics of abstract expressionism—a visual language shared among many of his pupils such as the prolific Minang artists, Yunizar, Handiwirman Saputra, Yusra Martunus, and Zulkarnaini. Ibrahim’s method of painting is founded on an acute awareness of feeling; emotions experienced day-to-day, at home or at work, are integral to his creative decision-making. For Ibrahim, allowing emotions to direct his artistic approach is the most effective way to articulate both his inner and external self. Inspired by the works of abstract-expressionist pioneers Willem de Kooning (b.1904) and Jackson Pollock (b. 1912), Ibraham pursues a creative process grounded in visceral instinct and spontaneity.
The fruit of his particular process in abstraction is a sense of beauty unrestricted and free of ideological, psychological, and political encumbrance. Ibrahim’s arrangement and juxtaposition of every stroke, line, unresolved shape or unfixed contour is an exploration, and a means by which to achieve the painting’s final composition. Ibrahim’s paintings are often untitled, encouraging viewers to attach their own personal and subjective experiences to the pieces. This quality thus creates space for a unique and intimate engagement between the artwork and its spectator. Through his work, Ibrahim attempts to intervene with a burgeoning human experience that has severed the connection between people and objects, altering the collective conscious mind. For Ibrahim, a painted canvas does not indicate a final product—but rather presents the inception of a potential shared human experience.
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