Sukarno’s Art Activities in the Presidential Palace

Dr Mikke Susanto4

4Indonesian Institute of Art (ISI), Yogyakarta, Indonesia

This presentation focuses on the involvement of Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, in the acquisition, display, preservation, and dissemination of works of the presidential art collection. The period between 1945 and the mid-1960s was the golden age of Sukarno’s art patronage. Apart from his involvement in the acquisition, display, preservation and dissemination of art works, he also often met and had discussions with painters at the presidential palace. Together with the artists and presidential staff, he collected more than 2,500 artworks in less than two decades. These works were housed at the six presidential palaces in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bogor, Cipanas, Tampaksiring and Pesanggrahan Pelabuhan Ratu. These palaces functioned like art museums. This presentation seeks to contribute art-historical knowledge about the works and activities at the Presidential Palaces of the Republic of Indonesia during Sukarno’s two decades of rule.


Dr Mikke Susanto is Lecturer at the Art Management Department, Indonesian Institute of Art (ISI) Yogyakarta. He is also at the art expert team of the Presidential Palace Collection in Jakarta and the acquisition team of the National Gallery Singapore. He has authored numerous books, including Sukarno’s Favorite Painters (2018).


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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