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Exploring Southeast Asia with Affandi: The Humanist Artist

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Written by Eva Wong Nava and Jeffrey Say  |  Illustrated by Quek Hong Shin

Exploring Southeast Asia with… is a series of narrative non-fiction picture books for young readers. Each book will focus on one national artist, taking readers through the country’s history, the artist’ place within its history, and how art is a reflection of our times. Each book contains critical thinking questions comprising visual thinking strategies (VTS), an enquiry-based method to encourage children to think about the content and formal structure of the artworks.

The series encourages young children to read about artists who had made an impact on the art scene in Southeast Asia.

The main character in this story is Affandi, perhaps Indonesia’s most famous painter. Affandi was born during a time in Indonesia when only traditional Javanese art was considered art. Through the study of Affandi’s work, readers will come to realise that Affandi is a painter with a unique method-he paints with his hands instead of a brush. Through his series of paintings of Borobodur, readers will also be taken through the history of Indonesia, focusing on the island of Java.

They will learn about how Buddhism and Hinduism arrived in Indonesia and how that had influenced the culture of Indonesia. It will also take readers through the vibrant city of Yogyakarta, the artistic and cultural capital of Indonesia and highlight the famous royal palace there.