RESEARCH & ESSAY.
Born in Surakarta (Solo) in central Java in 17th September 1919, Dullah was well-known as a painter of realism style, and he was derived from Pembatik family, a method (originally used in Java) of producing colored designs on textiles by dyeing them, having first applied wax to the parts to be left undyed. In January 1946, the capital of the recently proclaimed Republic of Indonesia moved from Jakarta to Yogyakarta. This event also caused many artists to move to Yogyakarta. Under Presiden Soekarno, the first President of Republic of Indonesia, Dullah had a close relationship with Soekarno, which began during the Japanese occupation (1942–1945) continued in Yogyakarta. Based on S. Sudjojono’s recommendation under Japanese colonialism, Dullah joined Poeptra (Poesat Tanaga Rakyat) or the Center of People Power. Dullah learned the painting from S. Soedjojono and Affandi, then he was a member of the Indonesian Young Artists (Seniman Indonesia Muda, SIM), led by S. Sudjojono.
In 1950, Dullah established Himpunan Budaya Surakarta (HBS) or the Community of Surakarta Culture. Sukarno asked Dullah to join him at the palace. From then, he served as palace painter until 1960. In 1956, Dullah ever compiled the first and second Palace book of art volumes “Lukisan-lukisan dan Patung-patung Koleksi Presiden Soekarno, while the third and fourth volumes were compiled by Lee Man Fong. See: Bukit-bukit perhatian: dari seniman politik, lukisan palsu sampai kosmologi seni Bung Karno, Agus Dharmawan T, 2004, p. 73. As the Palace painter, based on Soekarno’s direction, Dullah involved in improving the layout of Indonesia sign ‘Garuda Pancasila’ formed by Sultan Hamid II, thus have become the formal format until today. See: Prosiding Kongres Pancasila IV: Srategi Pelembagaan Nilai-nilai Pancasila dalam Menegakkan Konstitusionalistas Indonesia, Yogjakarta, 31 Mei – 01 Juni 2012, PSP UGM, p. 170.
During his first year as palace painter, Dullah received a valuable opportunity: the chance to live in Bali. Sukarno provided this opportunity so Dullah would be able to familiarize himself with various sectors of the art world, including those foreign artists who lived in Bali (Letter from Sukarno to Le Mayeur, 30 October 1950). The relationship between Sukarno and Dullah was very close. At times Sukarno would visit Dullah in his quarters while Dullah painted, where he would not only observe Dullah’s process but discuss and debate issues of painting. Because he was required to always be available, he frequently slept with his shoes on, to be ready if Sukarno called. See: Dullah Raja Realisme Indonesia: Riwayat Hidupnya, Pandangan Seninya, Karyanya, Sanggar Pejeng, Bali, Sudarmaji. 1988. Pp. 26 – 33. The relationship between Sukarno and Dullah continued to develop with trips abroad. The artist was almost always invited on official state visits abroad. Between formal events, Sukarno always made time to visit museums, galleries, or institutions related to art. His aim was to create a comparative understanding of agriculture/gardening, interior design, city design, restoration, and museum management. Such opportunities were utilized to learn more about the management of collections and museums.
After Dullah left the palace, Lee Man Fong and Lim Wasim replaced him as palace artist, serving from 1960 to 1968. Their duties were little different than those of Dullah and Gapoer. However, Lee Man Fong was unwilling to live in the palace, and would not be there every day. Rather, it was Lim Wasim who stood by at the palace. Lee Man Fong only came to the palace when he had work waiting for him there. See: Lekesan, Interdisciplinary Journal of Asia Pacific Arts, Volume 1, Issue 1, April 2018, p. 23.
Entitled “Menggendong Adik or Holding a Little Brother’ on the present work, Dullah elevated the nuance and tradition of villagers in Indonesia. Deciding who cares for elderly parents is a major practical issue, especially in case of smaller number of siblings, which the old brothers have the responsibilities taking care of younger siblings. The parents set ground rules for acceptable behavior for their children to let them know that the older brother should be care of the younger brothers, and they should be safe, important, and loved, and that their needs will be met.
Bukit-bukit perhatian:dari seniman politik, lukisan palsu sampai kosmologi seni Bung Karno, Agus Dharmawan T, 2004, p. 73.
Prosiding Kongres Pancasila IV: Srategi Pelembagaan Nilai-nilai Pancasila dalam Menegakkan Konstitusionalistas Indonesia, Yogjakarta, 31 Mei – 01 Juni 2012, PSP UGM, Mahfud MD, Taufiq Ismail, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwana X, Hamdan Zoelva, Ahamd Syafii Maarif, Muhammad Jazir ASP, Harjono, Arief Hidayat, A.R. Wetik, Achmad Sodiki, Sri-Edi Swasono, Siswono Yudo Husodo, Harjiyanto Y. Thohari, Heri Santoso, Daud Aris Tanudirjo, 2012, p. 170.
Dullah Raja Realisme Indonesia: Riwayat Hidupnya, Pandangan Seninya, Karyanya, Sanggar Pejeng, Bali, Sudarmaji. 1988. Pp. 26 – 33.
Lekesan, Interdisciplinary Journal of Asia Pacific Arts, Volume 1, Issue 1, April 2018, p. 23.