Arts & Culture

Antonius Kho: Connecting Countries Through the Arts

Is an art gallery still relevant?

Words by
Joice Tentry

Born in Central Java’s Klaten in 1958, Antonius Kho is an experienced artist who has been working for over a decade, and whose work focuses on sculptures and paintings. He has received many national recognitions and much international exposure for his artworks. Some of the awards he has received include the 1st Prize Mask at the Art Addiction Annual in Venice and the Gold Masks Diploma of Excellence in Italy.

Antonius has held dozens of solo and group exhibitions not only in Indonesia, but also in countries like Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, the U.S. and Vietnam. In 2018 alone, he had seven group exhibitions in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nepal and Taiwan, and four solo exhibitions in China, Indonesia and South Korea. His latest group exhibition, Art Connection, is an art exchange project between Sri Lankan and Indonesian artists that he pioneered. The art exchange project was exhibited in Lionel Wendt Gallery, Colombo (Sri Lanka) and ARMA Museum, Bali (Indonesia).

That wasn’t his first art exchange project.

In fact, he has done numerous projects with artists from other countries like Art D’Asia with Taiwanese, Singaporean and Indonesian artists; Yangon Bali Chiang Mai with Myanmar, Thai and Indonesian artists; and No Boundaries with Indonesian and Cambodian artists. All these projects aimed to introduce each of the country’s arts and culture and provide a platform for each country to communicate through its artworks.

At present, other than actively producing more paintings and sculptures, Antonius is also managing Wina Gallery, which he founded in 2002. Located in Ubud, Bali, where he now lives, Wina Gallery is an art gallery, studio and his residence.

We understand that you have a background in painting and sculpture. How would you describe your style of art and what are some of your inspirations to create?  

My background is in painting. From 1984 to 1992, I studied at the FH-Cologne Academy of Art in Germany, majoring in textiles painting and glass painting. Since 2006, I have been making sculptures with materials such as wood, glass, aluminium, stone and bronze. Because of my educational background, the style of my paintings is more to the flow of cubism, mosaic in my life, and my works are a blend of East and West.

Besides making work, you’re also currently managing Wina Gallery. Are there certain values or philosophy you want to convey to visitors?

Since my return from Germany in 2002, I’ve been residing in Ubud, where I founded Wina Gallery & Foundation. Wina is a gallery, studio and house. I live and work there. The front is a gallery, and my studio and home are located in the back.

Besides showing my own works, Wina also displays the works of several other artists, especially the young ones.

What is the role of the gallery in today’s world, where almost all experiences are being digitised?

The gallery is a real display space. But there are also online galleries displayed on social media like Instagram and Facebook, and also on my website. Both (physical and digital galleries) are run together.

From making art to giving space to other artists to showcase their art, you have now organised an art exchange project, Art Connection. Tell us more.

In 2004, I created an art foundation and started art exchange activities with other countries. I’ve done this art exchange project about 20 times with various countries in Asia and Africa, such as Cambodia, China, India, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Réunion Island, Singapore, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

The mission and vision of the art exchange project is to introduce Indonesia’s contemporary art and artists to other countries, and vice versa.

How do all your endeavours within art inform or support one another?  

Since I’ve held several art exchange projects, I’ve provided many opportunities for young artists to participate, so that they can learn and get to know art and culture from other countries.

Any advice to young Indonesian artists today?

In the current digitalisation era, there is a lot of information about global art activities that can be easily accessed, especially for young artists and millennials, and I hope to provide input into their works.

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