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Bhagawad Gita - The song of the Lords, 130x75 cm oil on
On the eve of the great battle with his cousins
in the war of the 'Bharatas' (Bharatayuda) - Arjuna turns in distress to his
divine mentor 'Krishna', he does not want to fight and to kill, feeling that his
own death is preferable to slaying his kin. But the pain
and doubts of this great conscientious objector in the wayang mythology are
overidden by Krishna exposition of the mystic of caste duty - 'there is nothing
nobler than a righteous war'. When a warrior slays, he must do so with
detachment, without hate. Soedibo captures the essence of this metaphysical
doctrine, all worldly experience is illusory. The universal Self is eternal and
imperishable. Only the body in which it dwells perishes.
Arjuna Wiwaha, both sized 150x100 cm oil on
Arjuna's meditation (Semadi) in the cave
hermitage on the mountain Indrakila was successful, for having withstood a
number of trials including temptations by the celestial nymphs sent down by the
gods to disrupt his mystic exercise. Arjuna's meditation
was undertaken in order to acquire special powers by which he could conquer the
demon king Nitakawaca. He received from the God Shiva a magic arrow (Pasopati)
which make him victorious over many battles including the great war of
The Buddha of Borobudur, left 105x90 cm,right
100x80 cm, oil
The terraces of this great monument was divided
into three spheres. The base represent the sphere of desire - the Kamadhatu. The
sphere of forms - the Rupadhatu - on the middle level, and the sphere of
formlessness -the Arupadhatu- the absence of forms, at the top.
The lowest sphere, the Kamadhatu is symbolized
the 'burried foot' of the monument, the base terrace. Its outer walls have been
carved with reliefs depicting the early existence (karma) of human beings in the
power of desire, their good and evil deeds and their corresponding rewards and
The spere of forms, the Rupadhatu, symbolized by
the four galleries above the base, contains all the visible reliefs, depicting
the episodes from the life of Prince Siddharta Gautama untill he became
On the highest square terrace, the Arupadhatu, no
representations divert one's eyes, where form is absent or has been surpassed.
Only the perforated bell shaped dagobas arrayed in circles suggest invisible
presences: within each a seated Buddha image is enclosed.
Soedibio artistically picked out some details of
the Borobudur monument on his canvas with a complete Buddha image as being fucused on,
symbolizing the Buddhist cosmology, a hymn to the Buddhist way of
Size 150x110 cm, oil on canvas
Size 300x125 cm, oil on canvas
The story of Ramayana
Rama the first born son of Dasarata, King of
Ayodya, was the incarnation of God Wishnu - who was to fight and conquer the
king of demons Rawana, who ruled Alengka. Rama displayed amazing prowess and
skill in archery. Rama surpassed all his rivals in an archery contest at the
court of king Janaka and won the beautiful princess Sita for his bride.
The aged king Dasarata appointed Rama his heir,
but the king's other wife, Kaikeyi, reminded him of a vow made to her long ago,
in which Dasarata has promised to fulfill anything she might wish. Kaikeyi
demands the banishment of Rama and the coronation of her own son Barata.
The king is forced to keep his vow, but dies soon
afterward. Rama honors his father's obligation and goes into exile followed by
Sita and his devoted brother Laksmana. They wander through the forest and go
deeper into the woods beyond the reach of his relations and people. With Sita
and Laksmana he finds asylum with hermits and saints, including Agastya, who
gives him a magic bow. With the help of Laksmana a cottage is built in the
forest of Pancawati.
Then Sarpakenaka, the sister of the demon-king
Rawana. while wandering in the wood happens upon Rama, falls in love with him,
and tries to win him for herself. Rama repulses her and Sarpakenaka furiously flees to her
brother Rawana, who orders his servant Marica to assume the shape of a marvelous
golden deer. Sita enraptured by the sight of the golden deer, begs Rama to
capture it for her, despite Laksmana's warning. Rama disappears in pursuit of
the golden deer, leaving Sita in Laksmana's care. But soon they hear Rama's
voice calling for help, which is actually Marica's last cry before he dies,
pierced by Rama's arrow. Sita forces Laksmana to go to what she believes is
Rama's rescue, and she remains alone.
Then Rawana himself appears and grasps Sita and
carries her off, soaring into the air as he assumes his own terrible shape of
many heads and arms.
A brave bird Jatayu, tries in vain to rescue Sita
by attacking Rawana in flight, but is mortally wounded and only manages before
dying to tell Rama of Sita abduction.
The big search begins. Wandering with Laksmana
through the dense and dangerous woods, Rama in vain seeks some traces of Sita.
Then a white monkey, Hanoman, appears and leads Rama to the king of the monkeys,
Sugriwa, who had been deprived of his throne by his brother Subali.
Rama helps Sugriwa regains his throne by killing
Subali with his magic bow. Out of gratitude, Sugriwa offers Rama his assistance
and orders his monkey armies to search the world for Sita in all four
The armies going south are commanded by Hanoman,
and Rama and Laksmana join them. After many adventures they finally reach the
shore opposite Alengka. In a daring leap across the sea, Hanoman lands in
Alengka, and eventually comes to a garden of Rawana's palace, where he discovers
Sita. Hidden in the foliage of a tree, he witnesses Sita refusing to yield to
Rawana and threatening to commit suicide.
After the frustrated king of demons Rawana
retires, Hanoman sings of Rama's message and of Rama's coming to Sita's rescue.
Before leaping back to India's coast, Hanoman
manages to wreck havoc in Rawana's capital. The demons capture him and set
fire to his tail in an attempt to burn him. But Hanoman, freeing himself, jumps
from roof to roof and sets houses on fire. His capital aflame, Rawana is alarmed
and decided on war.
rushes to the sea and leaps back to the mainland. The monkey armies are then
ordered to throw rocks into the sea in order to build a
causeway. The armies cross to Alengka and violent battles ensue. In the end Rawana is
slain by Rama, and then Rama and Sita are reunited.
But suspicion that she may not have resisted her
captor, poisens Rama's mind, and Sita is subjected to an ordeal by fire which
proves her stainless virtue.
Thereupon Rama, Sita and Laksmana return to
Ayodya, and Rama is consecrated as king of Ayodya.
However this great epic has a melancholy sequal.
Sita's captivity in Rawana's palace continues to cast shadows upon her
reputation, the previous ordeal notwithstanding. Yielding to public pressure, Rama banishes his devoted wife
and Sita finds
shelter in the forest hermitage of the sage Valmiki.
Soedibio depicts on his huge canvas (300 X 125 cm) the sequence of
episodes of this great epic in a very artistic arrangement
and in a mesmerizing colour composition.
A Panji Romance,
150x125 cm, oil on panel
Raden Panji or Raden Inu Kertapati, prince of
Kuripan is in despair when on the eve of their wedding his beautiful bride
Chandra Kirana (means 'radiant ray of the moon') the princess of Daha,
mysteriously vanishes from their bridal
chamber.Raden Panji's long wandering in search of
Chandra Kirana are filled with
adventures in battles as well as in hard sufferings, always untiringly seeking
for traces of his lost bride.
Chandra Kirana, with the advice of the gods, that
she must assume a male disguise in order to finally reunited with Raden Panji,
is also going through her own series of adventures as a satria (warrior) and
eventually becomes the king of Bali- a monarch renowned for his courage as well
as for some distinctly feminine skills such as embroidery and laceworks.
The climax of the story is reached as Panji and
Chandra Kirana oppose each other on a battle field. The gods say that she could
win back her beloved prince only in a face to face combat in which his blood
flow. Then they fight with swords and later with arrows and Chandra Kirana can not harm her
opponent, however, untill she slyly resorts to her hairpin as a weapon. Panji is
wounded, reveals his identity and the two are happily reunited.
Soedibio depicts on his huge canvas ( 150x125cm) the happy reunion of prince
Panji and Chandra Kirana after so many years of separation and hard sufferings.
The happy couple then decide to return home to regain the throne of Kuripan and
Size 125x90 cm, oil on canvas
The journey to the eternity
A few months before he dies, Soedibio manages to
finish his last painting, titled 'The journey to reach
heaven'. In this painting, sized (125x90cm), he depicts the mood as if he is already
aware of the devine signal that his life in this world will soon come to an end.
On a deep pruisian blue canvas, Soedibio illustrates the human bare hands that
emerge outward from the earth have not been able to grasp anything in the realm
of the meta
This depiction symbolizes Soedibio's conviction
that all worldly grandeur and sophisticated material achiements are illusory and
perishable. The inner self which dwells in this impermanent mortal body is
eternal and imperishable, and with sufficient spiritual provisions one will finally
regain his own way to
reach the eternal universal Self.
After having signed his initial on this painting
at that very same day in December 1981 Soedibio faints from a severe
heart attack, and dies not long afterward at the age of almost 70 years.
Size 80x100 cm (left) 50x65cm (right) oil, canvas
Gunungan as The Tree of Life
In the wayang world, the Gunungan or Kayon stands
for the cosmic order, the realm of the gods, the
universe.Though the elements of its internal design vary, they are always mythological
symbols of the eternal. The mountain is the mountain of gods, the World
Mountain, the tree is the Tree of life, the Celestial Wishing Tree of myth,
bearing a solar symbol. When in the course of the shadow play there is an
ominous commotion in nature (gara-gara) a sign that cosmic order is being threatened,
the Gunungan agitated, flattering shadow streaks across the screen, indicating
portentous storms or conflagration. Gunungan also appears between the play's
major periods and finally at the conclusion of the wayang
The gunungan created by Soedibio in this painting also expresses
the Tree of
Life with the lush foliage dominatnly fills the figure. Birds, monkey and
other animals are also included and the waters or the underworld is symbolized by
the appearance of the swimming fishes at the foot of the
tree. Soedibio's imagination wishes to perpetuate the ancient perceptions of a
dominant world order symbolized by a harmonious balance of nature as well as the
Unlike the usual gunungan design in the actual
wayang play, in this painting Soedibio includes the images of Kamajaya and Dewi
Ratih as the symbol of the 'eternal love' that oversee all creatures on earth to
accomplish a happy and peaceful life.
'Size 120x90 cm, oil on canvas
The CosmicTree of Life
This is the second last painting that Soedibio
has finished before he starts working on his last painting 'The journey to the
Eternity'.This painting is also another version of the 'Gunungan ' figure, or
the Tree of Life philosophy, in which Soedibio predominantly ilustrates the
human images in the form of a pair of celestial trees embracing the globe in the
space of a galaxy, holding out against the commotion of a cosmic storms.
Soedibio considers himself as having entered the
realm of the mysteriousness, symbolizes by his footprints left behind in the
foreground of this depiction. A squeesed tube of oil sprays various colour of
paints symbolizing that the whole creations in the universe originate from one
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