Nindityo Adipurnomo

The shape represents the introversion of the Javanese — it is tied and hidden on the backside of the head.

—  Nindityo Adipunomo's quote about the significance of 'konde' (a Javanese female hairpiece) in his works, by Jane Perlez on New York Times. 2003.


Cemeti Art House with Nindityo's piece on the center, hung. Image from Asia-Europe Foundation.

Nindityo, along with his partner and fellow artist Mella Jaarsma, co-founded one of the most important galleries in Indonesia - Cemeti Art House. Their goal was to engage the community through public art performances and installations. One of the most well-known artworks is Nindityo’s Konde series, which is a vast rattan sculpture in the shape of a Javanese woman’s hairpiece. Nindityo chose this hairpiece to be the center of his practice as a way to explore the gender roles in Javanese and Indonesian culture. His practice looks at this icon in a variety of mediums; from photographs to sculptures to rock carvings and more. 

Through it, he tries to unravel how the male gaze has defined gender roles, particularly in limiting a woman’s space in society. In "Portrait of a Javanese Man," we see the hairpiece obscuring the identity of a male figure beneath. It calls attention to the relationship between the man and what is deemed a feminine symbol, and each identity being in inextricably linked and defined by each other. 


Hiding Rituals and the Mass Production II. 1997-1998. Image from Singapore's National Art Museum.

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