Cultural Critique and Powerful Imagery in the Work of Agus Suwage

Posted on June 01, 2017 by Alison Pierz

Frames and Stretchers recently had the opportunity to frame a powerful large work by internationally renowned Indonesian artist Agus Suwage. This job was the latest in our continuing association with the Ford Foundation, a client who always brings us incredibly interesting art to work with. We framed the massive watercolor, titled “Icono Fascismo II”, depicting fundamentalists as puppets on a stage, in white maple with spacers. The artwork was floated on museum board using Japanese handmade mulberry paper hinges and archival rice paste. The scale of the piece required that we use UV plexi and build a suitably grand strainer.

Agus Suwage Indonesian Art painting political art Ford Foundation watercolor

Agus Suwards “Icono Fascismo II” framed and ready for delivery

 Agus Suwage is considered to be one of the most important contemporary Indonesian artists working today. He was born in 1959 and received his Masters of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Bandung Institute of Technology in Bandung, Indonesia. He is a multidisciplinary artist working with drawing, painting, sculpture and installation. His themes include an interest in mortality, politics, man’s relation to animals, portraits and religion. His use of appropriation - borrowing ideas from his own works as well as other contemporary artists - relates to his interest in the idea of the cycle of life and death. This is heavily influenced by Java’s Hindu-Buddhist traditions. As a Christian converted to Islam, Suwage has adopted a multi-cultural approach and his work often critiques intolerance and attempts to impose monolithic structures on society.

Agus Suwage Indonesian painter watercolor political art Ford Foundation hinging Japanese paper

The hinging process in our studio

 “Icono Fascismo II” addresses these issues and is in keeping with The Ford Foundation's mission of inclusiveness and opportunity for all. Our most recent project for the Ford Foundation required us to frame a dozen images from a 1970s project called “The Peace Portfolio”. We were thrilled to once again get to work with such a worthy organization and their collection. Suwage is represented here in New York by Tyler Rollins Fine Art. Delivery for this museum worthy work of art will be by our collaborative partner, Art Delivery Van. You can follow them on facebook at

Agus Suwage Indonesian artist watercolor painting rice paper hinges

Detail of a Mulberry paper hinge being applied to support the artwork

Posted in #Agus Suwage, #Ford Foundation, #Frames and Stretchers, #Indonesian Artist, #political art