Making a documentary about an extraordinary Indonesian artist

Submitted by Garry on Thu, 14 Dec 2017 - 13:37

I've been working with long-time collaborator Chris Basile for many years now. It seemed right that I use my technical skills to help him edit and complete this major documentary.

Kartika: 9 Ways of Seeing
A documentary film by Christopher Basile.
A portrait of the charismatic and outspoken Javanese modern artist Kartika Affandi, her remarkable life, and her powerful paintings and sculpture.

The story of Kartika Affandi is the story of a woman determined to express herself on her own terms, and to make a career as a modern artist, although she was born into a society and a time in which this was unprecedented and considered an impossible goal for a female...

Kartika was taught to paint by her father, the legendary Affandi, the nation's most celebrated and renowned artist. But she was warned that despite her prodigious talent and determination she would be fated to live in his artistic shadow...

Still actively painting, sculpting and exhibiting at the age of 83, the story of Kartika Affandi is a story of triumph. It is the story of how one woman succeeded in bringing her uniquely beautiful, complex, deeply personal, and sometimes shocking artistic vision to life.

Chris travelled to Indonesia twice as interviewer, camera operator, sound recordist and photographer. His specific aim was to spend time with this extraordinary artist, interviewing her at home and in gallery spaces, following her to various locations in central Java to capture her painting technique first-hand. He also recorded all the music for this film in Indonesia.

Kartika paints from life. Whether it be next to a field of flowers, a pen of goats or among the tourists at Candi Borobudur, these effectively become mobile studio or performance spaces.  I believe that this documentary reveals some understanding of the challenges she faced throughout her life, leading to some of her distinctive art being quite confronting, even bizarre.

Given the large interest in Kartika's life and work, it is hoped to screen this film in many cinemas and educational institutions in Asia and Australia throughout 2018 . I commend it to you, and hope that Chris can recover some of the huge personal and emotional investment in making it.

Learn more about Kartika's life, art and the documentary project at