The Restoration of Lee Man Fong's Great Art "Margasatwa dan Puspita Indonesia" by Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta

Story By
Sri Utami
Celebrating the 58th Anniversary, Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta initiated the restoration of Lee Man Fong's masterpiece and phenomenal painting named 'Margasatwa and Puspita Indonesia'. At a webinar unveiling the restored painting, moderated by Dikdik Sayahdikumullah, M. Sn., Ph.D. – Head of Visual Art Program FSRD ITB  and participated by  Erwin Hendrawan – Representative of Hotel Indonesia Kempinski JakartaH. E. Benedetto Latteri – Ambassador of Italy to Indonesia, Maria Battaglia – Director of Istituto Italiano di Cultura Jakarta, Hilmar Farid – Director General of Culture, the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture, Dr A. Rikrik Kusmara, M. Sn. – Dean of FSRD ITB, Lin Che Wei – Founder of Sarasvati Art Communication and Publication, Dr Oei Hong Djien – Founder of OHD Museum, for in-depth discussion on backgrounds and how to understand the existing work in the context of history, preservation, conservation and studies on the conservation of art and culture in relation to the concept of spatial planning, communication and the dignity of artists in the fulfilment of their artistic potential as one of the national cultural heritages that is meaningful for the progress of the nation.
 

This very large painting, measuring 4 metres x 10.85 metres (and this is one of the largest paintings in the world), consists of three rather curved panels and is located at the top of the wall facing the entrance foyer Bali Room of Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Jakarta. The painting, which depicts the rich flora and fauna in Indonesia, has been completely restored, with the restoration, begun in July 2019, having taken up to one year by Michaela Anselmini – Art Restoration Studio Sarasvati Art in which she presented and shared her great experience of the restoration of Lee Man Fong's paintings from the Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, then followed by Jim Supangkat – Independent Curator in which he explained the aesthetic field, changes in social cultural values and historical awareness.

The Hotel Indonesia was first opened and inaugurated by President Soekarno on 5 August 1962, has been designed as a modern hotel that reflects the beauty of the archipelago's charm and cultural diversity in Indonesia. This is reflected in one of the hotel walls, which is still displaying a number of works of Indonesian artists, including the panel paintings "Margasatwa dan Puspita Indonesia" by Lee Man Fong (1913–1988). When Hotel Indonesia was built, Bung Karno asked Lee to make this painting and hoped that it would become the largest painting in Indonesia. A commissioned work made at the request of President Soekarno was done by Lee Man Fong (LMF) while four assistants, namely Lim Wa Sim, Tjio Soen Djie, Siauw Swie Ching and Lee Rern, assisted in the process until the work was completed in 1962. The publication of this work was also included in one of the Presidential Palace's collection books, at a time when LMF worked as a palace painter and professional painter in the universe of Indonesian painting. His attitude and artistry are undoubtedly amazing considering that a lot of his works were produced in the face of the historical, social and economic problems that resulted from the impact that industrialisation had in the fine arts field.

This restoration project as one of these masterpieces in Indonesia requires a synergy in the painting restoration process that cannot be separated from the involvement of various institutions and scientific disciplines. To encourage awareness and appreciation towards these Indonesian masterpieces, the Hotel Indonesia Kempinski is also taking plans to reorganize a heritage tour for guests.

For more information, please call +21 2358 3800 or visit kempinski.com/jakarta