Works by Indonesia activist sell for over a million euros

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Paintings by Indonesian resistance fighter Hendra Gunawan 1918-1983 have been sold at auction in Amsterdam for a record price at Christie's.

The piece Mother and Children 1974 was sold for 613,000 euros, the highest price ever for an artwork by a painter and political activist. Another piece Snake Charmer went for 505,000 euros. The colourful paintings were put up for sale by the Friends of the World Museum in Rotterdam.

Christie's expected the pieces to go for 30,000 to 50,000 euros. The buyer wants to remain anonymous.

Gunawan was born in the Indonesian city of Bandung the capital of West Java. He joined the independence movement led by the later president Sukarno. Indonesia was a Dutch colony for three and a half centuries. Indonesia declared independence after World War II, but the Dutch only acknowledged its independence in 1949, after the colonial power failed to reestablish its rule.

Hendra Gunawan is considered a pioneer of modern Indonesian art, although his work contains many traditional elements. He spent 13 years in prison for his involvement in Lekra, a cultural organisation affiliated to the Communist Party.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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