S. Sudjojono: Political Message of '66 in His Paintings

The painting by Sudjojono, titled “Maka Lahirlah Angkatan ’66,” (Thus Was Born the ‘66th Generation) is perhaps the only painting with a political message that Sudjojono created during the period following the failed G30S PKI coup and the early years of the New Order in Indonesian politics. It painted on canvas with oil paint.


“Maka Lahirlah Angkatan ’66” depicts the frustration felt by people during that time. It portrays a young student wearing a red jacket, standing amidst the buildings surrounding Hotel Indonesia, with a graffiti-covered billboard as the backdrop.


The graffiti on the billboard reads:

‘Long live ABRI – Banglio Durno – Hang Bandrio

Banglio the Pe(king?) dog

Dissolve PKI — Viva KA(MI/KAPPI?)’


The young man in the painting holds a can of paint, suggesting that he is the one who wrote the graffiti.


On his red jacket, the words '(V)iva (K)APPI' are written, although there are some irregularities. If you observe closely, you will notice that the young man is wearing a military belt. The painter depicted something tucked into the belt, but it is unclear as it is mostly covered by the red jacket. Although it is indistinct, it appears to resemble a gun. The painter seems to intentionally make the details unclear, allowing viewers to interpret them differently.


Several young women and men can be seen in the background behind the man in the red jacket. They have doodled various symbols there, such as: ‘Viva Kappi’ and ‘Hang…’ and ‘Sumardjo PKI'.


In the lower left corner, Sudjojono wrote the title of the painting: ‘Maka Lahirlah Angkatan ‘66', followed by the monograms SS 101 and year ‘1966‘. In the bottom right of the canvas, the painter wrote:


‘With all the tools, with all the amazing courage,

young people advocating the voices of the people said:

“In the name of Ampera!”

and signed the artwork: ‘S. Sudjojono'.


Maintaining his realistic approach and focusing on one individual as the main subject, Sudjojono uses this singular figure to represent Ampera (the Mandate of People's Suffering). Sudjojono cleverly portrays a student who aligns with the people and expresses anger towards Sukarno and the PKI, while also possibly suggesting an intelligence agent who often monitored students and the people. In uncertain times, anything is possible. This may be the message Sudjojono intends to convey.