At 85 years, Pirous, an artist considered a pioneer of Islamic painting in Indonesia, is as energetic and fit as ever before. Speaking at Selasar Sunaryo, Bandung, to hundreds of guests who had come for his 80th birthday celebration on March 11 2012, he vividly recalled the moment of his epiphany.
It was at the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art), he revealed. He was studying in America (1969-70) visiting as many museums and art venues as possible. Then, at the Met in New York, he was struck by the beauty of calligraphy in works from the Middle East. It took him back to his childhood in Meulaboh, Aceh, where Arabic calligraphy abounded. There and then, he knew he had found his identity, and his destiny. From then on Pirous’s art focus was on Arabic calligraphy.
Kenneth M. George, professor of anthropology at UW-Madison, the US, who wrote extensively on Pirous, says that AD Pirous (short for Abdul Djalil Pirous) is a pioneer in melding Western abstraction with traditional Islamic forms and themes, notably Koranic calligraphy, which portrays Koranic verses. “When he began to combine abstraction and Koranic calligraphy in the 1970s, his influence quickly spread. He awakened fellow Muslims to contemporary painting, and helped them think of themselves as an art-producing community.” Nevertheless, no significant breakthrough in Islamic painting has been recorded after Pirous and exhibitions have been scarce, although Pirous helped organize festivals of Islamic art.
Bio from Jakarta Post.