In Japanese esoteric Buddhist practice, the mandala aids meditation, promoting spiritual awareness and understanding.
In my recent visit to the National Art Gallery of Australia, I was mesmerized by his monumental ceramic floor installation called Shelters which is comprised of 1890 terracotta ceramic components meticulously placed in a grid referencing the Kongokai mandala.
Setyawan’s art represents the mixture of faiths, cultures, and ethnicities that surrounded him growing up in Indonesia and the occasional religious and political conflicts he witnessed. The repeated patterns evoke mantras and sequences inherent in nature.
More than an arrangement of decorative elements, Setyawan’s ‘exalted aggregations’ instill a meditative focus and call on our interpretation of and desire to map the order of the universe.
His other exhibits are equally impressive. A quick search on Google images gives the vast array of his artwork.
Still young, having just finished his Post-graduate degree in arts and working towards his Ph.D. in Contemporary Ceramic Art, his work has been exhibited in Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Australia, and Italy. A lot more is expected of him in the coming years and decades.