Saturday, December 9 from 6-10pm
Plus be sure to also check out the Thinkspace Night Market located in the courtyard between our two spaces
Live painting from Anta52 alongside a mini artist mart with booths from Fl.our Pots, Karpet Workshop and Anthony Patrick Manorek + amazing grub from Hulk Smash Burgers + weed bar with The Cure Company + open bar + free Liquid Death + coffee and hot beverages from Mad Barista 1989 + live DJs Venice Beats + video projections from Digital Debris Video Gallery + check out the Dog House Gallery’s new exhibit – special thanks to GoopMassta for holding it all down in our courtyard.
4207 W. Jefferson Blvd.
4217 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, California 90016
On view December 9, 2023 – January 6, 2024
Thinkspace Projects presents Fandi Angaa Saputra’s UNEN-UNEN.
Exploring proverbs that have become a guide for the next generation, Fandi Angga Saputra’s solo exhibition was inspired by words imparted by his elders. Proverbs are well-known sentences containing wisdom, truth, and traditional principles—embedded in a metaphorical and memorable form passed down from one generation to the next.
The exhibition title, Unen-Unen–the Javanese word for proverbs stemming from the word “unen” meaning sounds–reflects on how Fandi frequently recalls the precious advice given by his father and elders, given his responsibility now to provide, lead, and set an example as the head of his own family. He often encounters life situations that resonate with unen-unen he has heard before in his younger days, helping him make important life decisions that affect himself and his family. To a certain extent, the exhibition also acts as a tribute to Fandi’s late father, someone who he now felt would have been a person who understood the ups and downs of his current position.
Drawing on this reflection of proverbs, Fandi incorporates the influence of nature, specifically flora and fauna, which inspire all subjects in his paintings. Fandi distorts or invents imaginary creatures in his work to represent how a child’s mind can perceive nature as magical. He invites the audience to guess what living things they see in his works. This way, his works are a dynamic space for the audience to imagine and lose their focus—to become a child again for a moment. Child-like characters with larger heads than their bodies symbolize people who faced difficult problems early in childhood. They embody people forced to grow up psychologically faster their bodies cannot catch up. Their childhood is taken away, and the void left is replaced by responsibilities for themselves and their families.
Through Unen-Unen, Fandi strives to remind us to remember the words that have been said to us by our predecessors, wiser people whose words are worth their weight in gold.
“What advice has always been there to remind us to be better in this life?”
Complete Show Statement:
Adigang Adigung Adiguna
– (Arrogance from strength, power, intellect)
Humans should not brag and rely only on the advantages they have.
From the earliest stages of our lives, through the winding paths of adulthood, we find ourselves surrounded by the echoes of advice. Regardless of our age, wisdom imparted by those who came before us remains an integral part of our growth. These words sometimes come in the form of proverbs, acting as vessels for a community to preserve its cultural legacy and values. Fandi Angga Saputra’s solo exhibition this time carries a lot of influence from words imparted by his elders, exploring proverbs that have become a guide for the next generation.
Proverbs are well-known sentences containing wisdom, truth, and traditional principles—embedded in a metaphorical and memorable form passed down from one generation to the next.1 In Javanese proverbs are called “unen-unen”, which comes from the word “unen” meaning sounds. Unen can also be interpreted as a saying or speech, where the word indicates the importance of the person who utters it. Proverbs can find their way into everyday conversation, through stories told by our elders or instruction given by them.2 Just like how we are more likely to remember words spoken by those close to us, proverbs can be memorized subconsciously through the conversations we remember.
The exhibition title, Unen-Unen, reflects how Fandi frequently recalls the precious advice given by his father and elders, given his responsibility now to provide, lead, and set an example as the head of his own family. Now, he often encounters life situations that resonate with unen-unen he has heard before in his younger days, helping him make important life decisions that affect himself and his family. To a certain extent, the exhibition also acted as a tribute to Fandi’s late father, someone who he now felt would have been a person who understood the ups and downs of his current position.
Fandi spent most of his childhood in Lampung, a province in the Southern tip of Sumatra. Sumatra itself is a large island west of Java, divided by the Sunda Strait. It is common to encounter Javanese names of villages or people here, as Lampung was the first transmigration destination before Indonesian independence. Java was known as one of the most populous islands in the archipelago during the colonial era, which is why the Dutch East Indies Colonial Government attempted to resolve the problem of overpopulation by bringing the first transmigrants from Java to Lampung in 1905.3 Despite being displaced from their homeland, the Javanese transmigrants still carry their traditions within them. The same can be said for Fandi. He was not raised on Javanese soil, but his family instilled in him the traditional customs and way of life that he still values to this day.
Growing up in a modest family with a father who worked as a palm tree tapper, being surrounded by nature has always been a part of Fandi’s childhood. Behind his house is a vast farming field, followed by large, lush trees that form the forest. Elements of nature, specifically flora and fauna, inspire all subjects in his paintings. In his artistic exploration, Fandi sees how human relationships are similar to symbiosis in nature, particularly how each interaction can have a good or sometimes bad influence.
Fandi distorts or invents imaginary creatures in his work to represent how a child’s mind can perceive nature as magical. He invites the audience to guess what living things they see in his works. This way, his works are a dynamic space for the audience to imagine and lose their focus—to become a child again for a moment. Child-like characters with larger heads than their bodies symbolize people who faced difficult problems early in childhood. They embody people forced to grow up psychologically faster their bodies cannot catch up. Their childhood is taken away, and the void left is replaced by responsibilities for themselves and their families.
The title of the new series of works in this exhibition took inspiration from Javanese proverbs that he felt resonated with him, something he uses in facing various life situations. In Reap the Drops of Virtue (2023) Fandi depicts a character that waits patiently in harvesting a fictional tree sap as a reference to the proverb Sabar subur, which means that if one is willing to be patient, then they will be rewarded at the end of the struggle.
In Warmth in the Pocket (2023), a group of characters is cozying up inside the mouth of a bird-like creature. This work embodies the proverb Mangan ora mangan sing penting kumpul—roughly translated to “whether we eat or not what matters is that we get together”—conveys how Javanese people often prioritize gatherings even when there is no food available. Javanese people prefer to value togetherness and interpersonal relations above all else, which makes the society more egalitarian, democratic, and inclusive.4
Through Unen-Unen, Fandi strives to remind us to remember the words that have been said to us by our predecessors, wiser people whose words are worth their weight in gold. What advice has always been there to remind us to be better in this life?
1 Mieder, W., (2004), Proverbs: A Handbook, Westport, CT: Greenwood.
2 Barone, F., (2021), Knowledge is power: Anthropology of proverbs, Human Relations Area Files – Cultural information for education and research.
3 Oktavia, V., (2018), Jejak Kampung Jawa di Tanah Sumatera, Kompas.id, Retrieved September 4, 2023
4 Siwi, C., & Eviandaru, M., (2014) ‘International Conference of Revisited Asian Society’, Proceeding International Conference of Revisited Asian Society, 21-24 July 2014, pp.328.
Fandi Angga Saputra (born 1996) lives and works in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. After graduating from the Indonesian Institute of the Arts Yogyakarta (Fine Arts major in 2020), Fandi started drawing as a hobby and tried several styles before focusing on painting. His painting also has been exhibited in Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and The Philippines. The surrealist paintings of Fandi are deeply inspired by his childhood memories in a village, where he liked to play outside and enjoy nature. As time went by, the increase in industrial development, lack of green space, modern life, and the destruction of nature made those memories fade. Working in acrylic on canvas with a fresh color palette, Fandi is fascinated by the beauty of the natural world. Fandi hopes his paintings recall and clarify memories like these, conjuring a love for nature. Because once we love nature, we will want to protect it too.
Thinkspace Projects presents Oscar Joyo’s Ubuntu. A continuation of his show with the gallery last year, HYBRID, this exhibition appreciates and reimagines the artist’s time in Malawi and current experiences in Chicago.
This body of work is a continuation of my last year’s show, HYBRID with Carl Cashman, at Thinkspace. While that show stemmed from a place of recovering from years of mourning the passing of both my grandmothers, this collection is more about appreciating and reimagining my time in Malawi and my current experiences in Chicago.
Viewers will notice a significant increase in texture throughout this collection. From the subjects’ hair to the ceramic plant holders, introducing more texture has heightened the sensory experience, reflecting my life as an immigrant. The people I’ve painted serve as representations of individuals or elements from my everyday life that have not only influenced my artistic direction but have also shaped how I perceive the world.
The world I’ve constructed, featuring large plants and vibrant skies, also draws from my family’s farming background and the way they built a community through agriculture. The prominent leaves depicted in this collection are tobacco leaves, which serve as one of Malawi’s main exports.
UBUNTU or “Umunthu” in Chichewa translates to “humanity towards others” or “We are because you are.” One of the many lessons I’ve learned between last year and now is how finding a family or community and the values they instill in you can yield a harvest that lasts for years.
Oscar Joyo (b. 1992) is a Malawian-born, Chicago-based artist. His artistic style blends Afrofuturism with Afrosurrealism. Oscar’s passion for art ignited during his childhood in Malawi, where he began drawing cartoons. This love for art accompanied him to Chicago, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Life Drawing from The American Academy of Art in 2015. Shortly after graduation, he honed his distinctive technique and style, characterized by tribal patterns and vibrant portraiture.
His primary medium is acrylic, dominating most of his portfolio, yet he also explores other media to enrich his pieces. Oscar credits his chromesthesia (the ability to see colour through sounds) for influencing his use of diverse colour gradients and intergalactic colour schemes. He pays homage to his Malawian heritage by infusing patterns that animate his paintings.
Since evolving his approach to portraiture, Oscar has expanded his scope by integrating figures, environments, and diverse techniques, broadening his interpretation of the world. Drawing from personal experiences as an immigrant and a Black man in modern society, he incorporates elements from his fondness for anime and music into his figures.
Oscar is currently an active artist and muralist. His artworks have been displayed in various Chicago galleries, including Vertical Gallery and A Very Serious Gallery. Additionally, his pieces have been showcased in galleries such as UHF Gallery and the Congressional Art Exhibition in South Korea.
His creations serve as a tribute to his African heritage and reflect a hopeful vision for a better future for people of colour.
Thinkspace Projects presents Antonio J. Ainscough’s Chimera. In a world filled with misleading facades and self-deception, Chimera invites viewers to dive into the intricate maze of existence, where the illusions we create often lead to harmful behavior and consequences, both for ourselves and the world.
We all put on masks, create dreamlike worlds, and tell ourselves stories to cope with life’s challenges. It’s like a protective shield that we carry – a way to make sense of the chaos. These illusions can look like the never-ending quest for success, the need for constant validation, or the idea that we must be perfect. They’re the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of the world.
In a world filled with misleading facades and self-deception, ‘Chimera’ invites you to dive into the intricate maze of our existence, where the illusions we create often lead to harmful behavior and consequences, both for ourselves and the world.
Our illusions often lead to bad choices and behaviors. The stories we tell ourselves can push us towards actions that hurt ourselves and others. It might be the rush for quick satisfaction, ignoring hard truths, or building walls between us and others. These behaviors, driven by our illusions, create discord, inequality, and unhappiness.
The consequences of our actions, fueled by these illusions, go far beyond ourselves. Our personal struggles can have a huge impact on the environment, society, and the people around us.
Ainscough’s new body of work is a reflection of the illusions that shape us and the world. It’s an invitation to join in a collective journey of self-exploration and change. By exploring these illusions, their impact on behavior, and the consequences they have on our world, we can discover the power to heal and improve both ourselves and the world we share.
Antonio J. Ainscough (b.1997) is a Chicago-based painter focused on resonating with the universal melodies of identity, relationships, and the enigmatic journey of self-discovery. His work speaks a language that is universally understood, inviting viewers to traverse their own experiences of emotion and reflection. He received his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in Painting from Eastern Illinois University in 2020. Ainscough has exhibited in numerous group shows both across the US and internationally.
This project with Thinkspace is considered a collection of all the experiences I have encountered, both positive and negative. It reflects my own identity through various artworks. Before reaching this point, I have experienced both happiness and sorrow. To overcome the hardships, it required tremendous perseverance and years of dedicated work, even though nobody saw it. Today, I am ready to showcase to the world that if you strive for success, it will come. However, success comes hand in hand with sweat and tears. Prior to this, nobody knew me, but I always believed in myself and remained confident that one day people would appreciate my work just the same.
The character of the fox symbolizes the ability to adapt well in any situation, no matter how dire. Regardless of how villainous the circumstances may be, the fox can still survive. Therefore, I praise the fox as the main character in my story, as it truly reflects my own identity. It hasn’t been easy to come to this point. It has taken time, perseverance, and resilience. I am grateful to everyone who loves this fox character.
Arnon Neiysoongnoen (aka Cheese Arnon) was born in 1986 in Thailand. He embarked on his artistic journey in the realm of traditional arts. He embraced a self-taught methodology, immersing himself in the teachings of established artists who came before him, and fearlessly experimenting with a wide array of techniques.
Throughout his artistic career, Arnon has remained versatile, continuously honing his skills across various formats. One of his notable creations, “The Fox,” serves as a testament to his versatility, as it beautifully showcases a multitude of art styles in a carefully arranged composition.
Just like the cunning nature of a fox, Arnon’s artistic approach is characterized by wit, improvisation, and the ability to thrive even in the harshest of circumstances. He effortlessly flows with the inherent imperfections of his chosen medium, allowing them to become integral parts of his designs. Furthermore, he fearlessly creates cracking surfaces to accentuate his artistic vision, transforming what could be perceived as flaws into captivating elements of his work.
(The Doghouse Gallery)
Berk Visual boasts a big personality that can be felt through every extension of his work. This authenticity even rings true on social media, where Berk and his friends throw flea market pop-ups, immersive art installations and are constantly twisting up new ideas. Berk seems to thrive on creative projects whether it be music, fashion, animatio or food.