By Fery Oktanio
The Artic in the North Pole is surrounded by land (a part of Alaska, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Island, Norwegian, Russia and Sweden). In January (winter) the temperature usually reach -40Celsius and the sun does not shine almost all month. It experience extreme Sun radiation both in the summer and winter. All areas are covered with ice. Roby get this bleak description of the Artic from Disney Nature’s documentary movie; “Earth” that was produced in 2007. Roby use the atmosphere in that movie as the concept and theme of his recent works, which called January in the North. The sadness, suffering, and cold climate seemed to portray the feeling that Roby wants to explore. The cold and loneliness added by the feeling of loss and the fact of being left behind become the main spirit of Roby’s recent works. He has succeeded in showing the sadness with more grace, gloomy but with no tears. It shows an understanding of a faith that needed to be dealt with.
As shown in the painting "Piece of September". September was the month of Roby’s brother death. Ady Prasetyo passed away on September 2011. This painting, which is filled with symbols, shows how much Roby missed family dinner attended by the whole family. The dish is a live crocodile but the family starts to slice it to be eaten anyway. The crocodile symbolize harmony and love. An intestine is coming out from the crocodile’s body. It stretches out from its body into a something quite large under the table that appears to be a moon. For Roby, the moon represents a female or woman’s fertility, while the sun represents a male.
The figures surrounding the table are Roby’s family. Roby is the gloomy rabbit with red eyes that already started to slice the crocodile and eat it. Roby’s mother is the 3 headed girl who already started to direct her knife onto the crocodile’s mouth. The three head represent the cycle of life; birth, life, and death. Roby’s father has a crab claw head, which symbolize hope of an accomplishment or in other words, prayers that represent the family. He already clamped on the crocodile’s tail and ready to cut it with a knife that he holds in his hand. Roby’s deceased brother is also present wearing a suit. His head is a Lily that symbolizes purity, simplicity and spirituality. The Lily also represents memory and innocence. He also already started to slice the dish. Roby’s younger sibling is symbolized by two bad villains, Baltan dan Kanegon, from the children super hero movie, Ultraman. Ultraman is Roby’s favorite character and movie since childhood. He does not want to forget it and want to store it in his memory, including Ultraman’s enemies.
The dinner feels eminent and intimate, with vintage lamp and tile. A big painting shows a flying saucer or UFO that tries to land on a beautiful landscape on earth.
Due to Roby’s fragmented visual works, I found the necessity to summarize "Piece of September”;
Roby miss having dinner at home with his whole family but he realize that it was all in the past and he can only imagine it because his family is not the same anymore. As mentioned before the crocodile symbolize love and harmony. However, the family’s harmony is now crippled but the love of his mother toward her husband and children will help to keep the harmony in that family. Roby's mother had deal with the loss of her child and sees it as faith of life. As for Roby’s father, as the family leader, he also became the leader of prayer for his late son. He felt compelled to maintain the family hopes to continue to move forward, by keep on working. Roby’s younger sibling who might be too young to understand, has become his one and only sibling. Roby love him dearly and is afraid to loose him. Roby is still sad for the loss of his brother but he has learn to accept it and he is sure that his brother is in a better place. His brother has gone home to meet his creator in heaven as a pure and simple spirit. This odyssey contains hope and desire for a better future for the family...