Baron Basuning's "Hold the Light" painting. (JG photo/Diella Yasmine)

Baron Basuning Captures Light of the Divine in His Latest Solo Exhibition


JANUARY 13, 2019

Jakarta. Indonesian artist and avid traveler Baron Basuning remembers staring at the ceilings of Granada's iconic Nasrid Palace during a trip to Spain several years ago.

The dome of the 14th century palace, built during the Islamic occupation of Spain, echoed the light flooding through the small windows around it. The colorful beams of light crossed each other, forming reflections between the cavities of stalactite domes and fusing with the geometrical structure of the ceiling.

In the splash of light, the dome in the Alhambra's red castle (another name for the Nasrid Palace) on the hills of La Sabica shone so brightly that it reflected a sprinkling of a million jewel facets.

"The patterns are always changing according to the light. During the day, the light casts through the stained glass and illuminates the main hall of the palace," Baron said.

Unlike other regular mosque domes, which are adorned with geometrical calligraphies and arabesques, the ceiling of the Alhambra castle reflects inexplicable objects – tridimensional abstracts.

In the eyes of the 58-year-old painter, the Alhambra and its sturdy castle were designed to underline the greatness of God through the architects' meticulous hands.

This inspired Baron to capture the beauty he witnessed in abstract paintings that form part of his latest solo exhibition titled "Noor" (Arabic for "light") at the National Gallery in Central Jakarta from Jan. 8 to Feb. 8.

Two of his paintings, "Noor" and "Hold the Light," were inspired by the beauty of Islamic architecture, displaying a distinctive aesthetic response to color combinations and textures.

'Hold the Light' by Baron Basuning. (JG Photo/Diella Yasmine)
'Hold the Light' by Baron Basuning. (JG Photo/Diella Yasmine)



"I was fascinated by the detail in the wall paintings, but I was more interested in the ethereal beauty of stained-glass windows in the palace," Baron said.

Besides the Nasrid Palace, he also visited several other landmark buildings across the world, including the Great Mosque of Cordoba, Spain, the Süleymaniye Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, and the Taj Mahal in Agra, India.

These experiences are captured in his paintings "Perjamuan Senja," "Pualam Kenangan," "Hold the Light" and "Into the Light."

Baron's 'Perjamuan Senja' ('Evening Reception'). (Photo courtesy of the National Gallery of Indonesia)
Baron's 'Perjamuan Senja' ('Evening Reception'). (Photo courtesy of the National Gallery of Indonesia)


Capturing the Self-Journey

Baron has been traveling the world throughout his career to find inspiration for his art.


He described his trip to the Antarctic in 1986 as a self-discovery, which two years later, saw him giving up his career as a reporter to become a full-time painter.

"The journey was a soul-searching experience that made me who I am today. I have always been interested in writing, but I feel more alive when I paint," the artist said.

"The universe is such a big canvas that ceaselessly inspires me to work," he added.

Baron said his painting titled "The Antarctic Peninsula" applies an inward and meditative approach, which also is inspired by his mother.

"Like I said, I went through a tough time trying to figure out my passions. My mother, whose name is also Nur, has been my main supporter. The process of creating it was very therapeutic," he said.

The words "writer" and "traveler" do not quite describe him. Baron said at a press conference during the opening of his solo exhibition on Jan. 8 that he was also a wanderer.

His colorful painting titled "Balance" tells of his experiences in traveling to more than 20 countries and of his journey to find balance in life.

"I am inspired every day by flocks of birds that travel thousands of kilometers to find a home. My journey as a painter may have just begun 21 years ago, but there are infinite opportunities I should explore in the future," Baron said.

"So, in this never-ending journey, I hope the light guides me to find balance."