In 2012, Galeri Hadiprana entered its 50th year of operation. That makes it the longest operating gallery promoting fine art in Indonesia. The gallery has continuously distinguished itself with its programs, its promotion of arts and its occasions to develop oneself.
Oasis in the bitterness.
It is being said that, upon returning home after graduating from Akademie Minverva Afdeling Architektuur, Groningan, Netherlands in 1958, Hendra returned to Jakarta. His beloved capital city was still confused, difficult to live in, poor, and many parts of the city were more like buffalo-ponds. But, amid the appalling conditions of the capital that Hendra described as being closed to despair, there was a flower garden growing that was a real thrill for the heart.The flowers were the fine arts, the exhibition that he saw in the Des Indes Hotel, situated on Gajah Mada street, in the Harmony area, was like the incarnation of that reality.The building is now known as Duta Merlin Shopping Center and Carrefour Hypermarket. The exhibition showed paintings by Indonesia painters that were very aesthetic and were for him quite an artistic discovery!
Hendra was greatly surprised by the contrast he saw when comparing the harshness of the reality with the garden of paintings. His experience of seeing the astonishing paintings in poor Jakarta was similar to that of reaching an oasis in the desert. And this experience led him to believe that fine arts could appear anywhere and in any conditions. The awakening he saw rose from the extraordinary spirit of the Indonesian painters. After that, Hendra felt he had to stay close to those people called painters.
He recounts that Painters are one of the few professions that can grow and uphold their name when face with severe difficulties. Based on these observations, Hendra decided to start visiting the painters houses or studios all around Indonesia. Every week, every month, from Jakarta to Bandung and from Yogyakarta to Bali by boat, he looked for the artists.
During his visits, Hendra got the same message from the artists: he should build an art gallery. It was for him a highly interesting idea and it kept him awake at night for quite a while. The problem was that creating a gallery required a lot funds and as a young architect, he felt he did not have enough money to do it all. Later, he met Oetojo Goemilang who made Hendra’s idea more doable. Oetojo Goemilang was offering funding and Hendra would be in the position of manager.
May 28th, 1962 was a historical day for the 33 year old Hendra Hadiprana. On that day Prasta Pandawa Art Gallery, located at Jl. Paletehan I Kebayoran Baru, was officially opened. The beautiful gallery was inaugurated by Minarsih, the wife of well-known shipping company owner in Indonesia, Soedarpo Sastrosatomo. Right after the opening night, people interested in art, started coming in. At that time, the area of Jalan Paletehan was relatively quiet. Some roads were only paved with raw stones but it did not a matter for art lovers.
In this new gallery, the artists that were already good friends with Hendra offer their creations in consignment. Beside paintings from modern Indonesian artists,
there were also traditional and post-traditional arts and craft. These high quality creations should not only be offered to the appreciation of the public but should also be for sale. For sale? Yes, for sale. This raised a serious question; was it possible for Prasta Pandawa Gallery to sell arts and crafts in the economic turmoil of 1960’s. Were there any people able and interested in buying works of art in a country that was in a state of social commotion, faced with political frictions and inter-group conflicts?
Gallery for Art Appreciation.
Hendra, being supported by Jennewati, his wife of 16 month, managed the gallery professionally.His goodmanners, sophisticated social skills and ability to communicated in several foreign languages, allowed him to maintain the Prasta Pandawa Gallery operating at a high level. Not only art lovers and prominent Indonesian intellectuals, but also ambassadors, corps diplomatic members, and expatriates came to buy works of art.
In 1970, Hadiprana developed Prasta Pandawa into an all-new concept. Located at Jl. Paletehan I no. 38, just across the road from the existing gallery, Hadiprana named the new space, the Hadiprana Gallery as his partnership with Oetojo Goemilang had ended. Under his ownership, Hadiprana was free to develop the mission of the gallery as he saw fit with a view exploring more opportunities to offer and sell fine art to a wider public. Meanwhile, the idea of a gallery offering all kinds of works of art within an interior design approach grew considerably and was wildly supported by numerous groups and Indonesian artists.
In this new premise the space was more spacious and interesting. There was an in-house garden and pond. Next to a stretch of walls to hang paintings, there was a room to show sculptures. The room on the other side, Taman Batik, was devoted to displays of batik textiles. Some of the rooms upstairs were used as offices for the Hadiprana Architects Engineer & Interior Consultant firm.
Hundred of events have been held in the Galeri Hadirpana with good results. Ultimately, he moved the gallery in new premises on Jl. Kemang Raya 30, in South Jakarta. Given the available space in the new building, Hadiprana let parts of the building to other businesses in line with the gallery concept. These tenants are called “Mitra”, hence the name of Mitra Hadiprana for this elegant building devoted to art. Since 1997, Galeri Hadirpana has held numerous events under the direction of Puri Hadiprana, one of Hendra’s doughters.
From successes to successes, the gallery reached the age of 40 in 2002. Sweet memories came back. Many artists who have had contact with the gallery were invited to celebrate and thank God. From the gathering, numerous praises served only to strengthen the status of Galeri Hadiprana as a legend. Here are some of the comments that were made at the opening of Pameran Akbrar 40 tahun Galeri Hadiprana.
“Galeri Hadiprana not only provide an opportunity to grow as an artist but it also offer an occasion for the artists to meet and exchange” said Danarto, a painter and prominent Indonesian author whose writtings are considered equals to world class writer, William Blake.
“Galeri Hadiprana takes the unique approach of taking the artist under its wing. So, at all time, the artists feel some affection for Hadiprana, and the gallery has been able to exist for 40 years” said Yusuf Affendi, now a professor of art. In the book, “Mengenang Lintas Seni, 40 Tahun Galeri Hadiprana” we can find some comments made by the artists: “Having an exhibition at Galeri Hadiprana is an exceptional honour for a painter. The selection made by Hadiprana is such that the exhibited works could be used as a barometer of quality” Mulyadi W.
“I am a painter and dancer who frequently journeys abroad on goodwill missions. Being personally close to Hadiprana, he has helped me when traveling in arranging my production according to my flexibility” Bagong Kussdiardjo, painter, choreographer and dancer.
Taking 1962 as the year of its birth, it can be said that Gallery went through 4 periods: initial phase: politic as main preoccupation (1962-1965), transition phase: politic and economy (1965-1975), phase three: the economy as prima donna (1975-1998), phase four:reformation (1998 until now). The world of fine arts went through an era of liberalism that led to atmosphere of creation of total freedom. Also, the art market has become groovy and is mainly thinking about money, profit or loss.
Galeri Hadiprana is going into a new era with a new concept, strategic appreciation and actualization. At the end of 2006, Galeri Hadiprana officially occupied a larger and more modern space. Characteristic of the new space are the moving walls which allow for a flexible layout and size for the room, it can be modified in very little time. The look of the new gallery is very attractive and each section of the gallery is facing the Forum Lounge that provides chairs for guests to sit down and mingle, read a book and sip a cup of coffee. The Forum Lounge can be rented for special events.
One interesting room in Mitra Hadiprana is “Gerbang Wedari”. This room is specially design to showcase Graha Cipta Hadiprana creations in the field of architecture, interior design, landscape, special lighting, and artwork. The guests can see the works in various medium, photos, miniatures, and video screen. During the construction of this room, one of the senior architects in Graha Cipta Hadiprana, Wedari Hambali passed away. To honour her memory, Hendra gave her name to the room, Gerbang Wedari (Hall of Wedari).
In the renovated Mitra Hadiprana building which stands tall, grand and spacious, Galeri Hadiprana stands side by side with its partners, Hadiprana Jewelry, Tenun Baron, Boutique HL&Co, and H-Accent with its interior and home accessories. There are also the Mitra Hadiprana Art Classes highly in demand for children and adults. We can also find the Green Door Hair & Beauty Salon and Kemang Dental Clinic with a stylish presentation. Everything inside the Mitra Hadiprana building is “not too far remove from art.
Galeri Hadiprana, bravo ***
Agus Dermawan T,
Art critic, born in Rogojampi (Jawa Timur) 1952
Writter of 20 book of fine art, including Istana-istana Presiden
Republik Indonesia. Award “Jasa Budaya” from
Kementrian P dan K 1998 dan Dinas Permuseuman Jakarta 2004