The calligraphy pioneer passes away at the age of 92


RIP AD Pirous, Indonesian fine arts artist

Jakarta, IO – Indonesia’s art community is mourning the loss of a fine arts maestro, Abdul Djalil Pirous, who passed away at the age of 92, at Borromeus Hospital, Bandung, on Tuesday evening (Apr 16). The departed was buried at Cibarunai Cemetery in Bandung after a funeral prayer was held at the Salman ITB Mosque, and a ceremony was held at the ITB East Hall on Wednesday (Apr 17). AD Pirous was Professor Emeritus at the Faculty of Fine Arts and Design of the Bandung Institute of Technology (FSRD-ITB). 

AD Pirous became the first dean at FSRD-ITB in 1984-1990. “His work in Indonesian academics and culture is monumental,” said Dean of FSRD-ITB Andryanto Rikrik Kusmara, as quoted by Tempo

Not only did he co-found FSRD ITB, AD Pirous also established the first Visual Communication Design study program in Indonesia. 

Born in Meulaboh Aceh on Mar 11, 1932, AD Pirous studied art since childhood. He began working as an artist while living in Medan, drawing cartoons, film posters and portraits to help pay for his studies.

In 1953, he visited an exhibition of prominent Indonesian modern artists in Medan, which inspired him to pursue art as a career. In 1955, he moved to Bandung to study fine arts at ITB. 

In Bandung, AD Pirous joined the Sanggar Seniman collective artist community, and his first work was exhibited with this group in 1960. 

He then pursued further study in Fine Graphics and Graphic Design, at the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1969, in the United States. 

AD Pirous introduced a new line in the Indonesian fine art community with Islamic calligraphy, and held an exhibition of Islamic Calligraphy paintings in the early 1970s. 

AD Pirous often participated in solo and collective exhibitions, such as the South-East Asia Art Exhibition in Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia, as well as the 8th International Biennale of Prints Exhibition in Japan (1972) and the International Graphic Arts Exhibition in Galerija, Ljubljana, Yugoslavia (1977). 

He also participated in the Third World Biennale of Graphic Art exhibition at the Iraqi Cultural Center (London, 1980), the Contemporary Indonesia Prints exhibition at the Japan Foundation ASEAN Culture Center Gallery (Tokyo, 1991), the First Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art exhibition (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 1993), the 9th International Exhibition of Asian Art at the National Museum of History of China in Taipei (Taiwan, 1994) and the 15th Asian International Art Exhibition (2000). 

In 1998, AD Pirous became one of the pioneers and founders of the National Gallery of Indonesia with the late Soedarso SP, Abas Alibasyah, Edi Sedyawati, Hildawati Soemantri, and Jim Supangkat. He was appointed to the Advisory Board of the National Gallery of Indonesia. 

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AD Pirous was married to a renowned painter, Ernah Garnasih Pirous. Like AD Pirous, Erna also studied at ITB, but she continued her studies in France. She was considered part of a second generation of modern Indonesian female artists. 

AD Pirous and Erna were blessed with three children, Mida Meutia, Iwan Meulia and Raihan Muerila. 

Farewell, AD Pirous. You may be gone, but your masterpieces will live on forever. Ars longa vita brevis (rp)