Naima Morelli

If we realize that we are victims we can fight, that’s the idea.

Most of Agung Kurniawan’s artworks are based on memory. In his famous charcoal work “Very Very Happy Victims” , part of Singapore Art Museum’s collection, he uses a raw irony to depict the situation under Suharto regime, from ’67 to ’98.

He explained me the genesis of this work during my visit to Kedai Kebun Forum:

“I made Very Very Happy Victims in 1995.  I was still a young an angry artist. It was a portrait of  myself and the society at that time because at that time Indonesia economy was one of the best in Asia. At the same time we lived in a kind of fascist regime. Everything was controlled by the government. Indonesia was the copycat of Orwell’s book 1984.
I asked my friends if they feel ok and they reply “Yes, I feel happy, I can eat at McDonalds, school is not expensive, I can have very cheap prize” . So I portrait my generation that felt very happy even though was oppressed by the government. This is the reason why I called it “Very Very happy Victims”. We were happy because we didn’t realize we were victims. If we realize it we can fight, that’s the idea. ”

More about Agung activities on: