Arts and Culture
According to many art historians, the painter S. Sudjojono introduced the Mooi Indie ideology. Another concept often falsely attributed to Sudjojono is the “Mooi Indie principle” or Trimurti (rice paddies, mountains, coconut trees). In fact, Sudjojono was not alone in criticizing the trend of painting in the early 20th century. Others played a role in denouncing the trend, which was said to be only exploiting the beauty and exoticism of the Nederland Indies. The term Mooi Indië that I will present comes from two painters from different years and was meant for different purposes, yet in both cases it was a stereotype of Indonesia. For Fredericus Jacobus van Rossum du Chattel, it was a constant world of ideals, with tropical sunlight, bamboo trees, waterfalls, women bathing in the river, terraced rice paddies. For Sudjojono, Indonesia was change and struggle, darkness, thin farmers, cars of the rich, billowing smoke from factories, electrical poles. When du Chattel used the term as a title of his album of watercolors published in 1913, it may have only been the painter’s admiration from the sensations derived from the Nederland Indies nature. For political reasons, in his article published in 1939, Sudjojono diverted the meaning so that he could use Mooi Indië as an instrument to criticize other painters’ ideological positions.