Abdul Djalil Pirous

Prof. Emeritus Drs. Abdul Djalil Pirous (born March 11, 1932), known as A.D. Pirous, is an Indonesian fine arts artist and lecturer. He is a pioneer in graphic design education at the Fine Arts Institute of Technology in Bandung, and the founder of an art and design studio called Decenta (1973–1983). A.D. Pirous is married to Erna Garnasih Pirous, and the couple has three children.

Abdul Djalil Pirous
A.D. Pirous
Born (1932-03-11) March 11, 1932 (age 91)
Alma mater
  • Seni Rupa ITB (1964)
  • Rochester Institute of Technology, NY, US (1969)
Occupation(s)Painter, Lecturer
Known forAbstract Art, Arabic Calligraphy
SpouseErna Garnasih Pirous

He is known as one of the leading artist of modern Abstract art in Indonesia, together with Ahmad Sadali and Umi Dachlan, who were an integral part of The Bandung School. Within his works, he was a pioneering painter and calligrapher depicting the Qur'an and Acehnese ethnic ornaments in an abstract, spiritual way.[1]


Abdul Djalil Pirous, known as A.D. Pirous was born in Meulaboh, Aceh. His father was named Mauna Pirous Noor Mohamad, and his mother was named Hamidah.

In 1964, he completed his education at the Department of Fine Arts, Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), where he was a student of Ries Mulder, the influential Dutch painter and lecturer.[1] Thereafter, he continued his studies in printmaking and graphic design at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester New York, United States (1969).

Between 1964 and 2002, he worked at the FDSR-ITB, the Fine Arts and Design Faculty of the ITB - Bandung. He served as the first Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design ITB (1984-1990), and was inaugurated as a professor at ITB since 1994.[2]

A.D. Pirous is married to Ernah Garmasih Pirous, an accomplished painter herself. Erna studied at the ITB as well as in France, and she belongs to the 2nd generation of Indonesian women artists, which influenced Indonesian Art in the second half of the 20th Century. A.D. and Erna Pirous have three children, Mida Meutia, Iwan Meulia, and Raihan Muerila.[3]

In 2003, the couple started to build their dream home in Bandung, which they finished in 2004. Still striving in their 80s, they added a Gellery named "Serambi Pirous" in 2017, where they work and display their art.[4][5]


Pirous has experience working since the colonial period, the Old Order, and the New Order until the Reformation. He has produced many works since 1960. It is his works that have made Pirous a reformer of modern painting with an Islamic background in Indonesia.

As a painter, his career began in 1960, and his works have been exhibited in hundreds of national and international exhibitions. His solo exhibitions have been held five times including: Retrospective Exhibition I for works 1960–1985, at the Taman Immanuel Marzuki, Jakarta in 1985 and Retrospective II for works from 1985 to 2002, at the Indonesian National Gallery, Jakarta in 2002.

His painting style is easily recognizable as the textures and colors are made very elaborate and patient. How to paint it is made by coating the color with alabaster paste and a palette knife. The exhibition's differentiator is Ayat-ayat Semesta, which focuses on the style of Pirous's work.[6]

Since the early 21st Century, a growing international interest in Indonesian modern and abstract art has brought painters such as A.D. Pirous, Ahmad Sadali, Fadjar Sidik, Popo Iskandar and Umi Dachlan to the international art market.[7]

Islamic calligraphyEdit

Of the various topics that Pirous discusses in his work other than natural objects, landscapes, daily life, animal figures, abstracts and others, calligraphy works that take up Pirous's time, energy and thoughts. For the first time since the birth of Pirous's etching work featuring Arabic calligraphy, Surah Al-Ikhlas: Pure Faith (1970), the term 'calligraphy' 'Islam' in Indonesia (two terms that stand alone and accompany 'art' and 'modern' painting) attached to Pirous.

Pirous started his Islamic calligraphy work when he saw the exhibition of Ceramic Fragments, Ancient Islamic manuscripts, Al-Qur'an Calligraphy and miniature paintings which had been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, United States around the 1960s. Seeing these objects reminded Pirous of his hometown in Aceh and strongly influenced Pirous's works. Together with Ahmad Sadali and Umi Dachlan, they represents a strong Indonesian and religious component of the Abstract Art at the ITB. Their work therefore contradicts the "East versus West" statement that was used since 1954 to decry the Art Faculty in Bandung as a laboratory of the West.[8]


Bank Indonesia building in Padang. Abdul Djalil Pirous was involved in working on the decorations and ornaments.

Pirous designed the ornamentation for the building of the Bank Indonesia in Padang, among other architectural projects.

Decenta Design StudioEdit

In 1973, A.D. Pirous founded the Decenta Design Studio, an abbreviation from Design Center Association together with Adriaan Palar, T. Sutanto and G. Sidharta. The members of the design bureau were known to use silkscreen as a medium for the expansion of Indonesian graphic arts. This group was an extension of their first joint work from 1971, a folio of 18 screenprint from leading artists at the ITB published under the title Grup 18.[9] They were quite intensive in experimenting with screen printing or screen printing techniques, yet studio Decenta closed in 1983.[10]

Pirous is one of Indonesia's leading painters, and his paintings are displayed in the collection of the National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta, including the painting "The Roof of Heaven and Earth is Expansive" from 1990.[11]


A.D. Pirous' works have been exhibited in hundreds of national and international exhibitions.[12]

Solo Exhibitions:

  • Retrospective I for works 1960–1985, in the Taman Izmail Marzuki, Jakarta (1985)
  • Retrospective II for works 1985–2002, at Galeri Nasional, Jakarta (2002)
  • Ja'u Timu at Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Bandung (2012)
  • Verses of the Universe in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2015)
  • A.D Pirous: Spiritual Calligraphy. World Trade Center, Jakarta (2016)[13]

Group Exhibitions:

  • Investigating the Collection: National Collection of Fine Arts Exhibition, National Gallery Indonesia, Jakarta, 10–28 October 2018.[14]


Pirous received numerous awards for his achievements as an artist and humanist:[15]

● Best Print at the Art Show Naples, New York, United States of America (1970)
● Best Painting at the Exhibition Biennale I Arts Council Jakarta (1974)
● Best Painting at the Exhibition Biennale II Arts Council Jakarta (1976)
● Bronce Medal of the Foreign Ministry, Republic Korea (1984)
● Art Award by the Minister of Education and Culture (1985)
Satyalancana Medal for cultural achievements by the President of the Republic of Indonesia (2002)[16]
● Habibie Award for Cultural Studies (2015)[2]

He has been appointed several times as head of the delegation, member of the jury, and curator of international art exhibitions, representing Indonesia.



  1. ^ a b Artist: A.D. Pirous. Biodata - National Gallery Of Indonesia
  2. ^ a b Biodata of Abdul Djalil Pirous, published by ITB Bandung
  3. ^ Kunjungan Ramadhan ke AD Pirous: Kasab Meulaboh, Ibunda, dan Ikon Etnis (III). by Kupi Beungoh, 20 April 2021, Serambinews [1]
  4. ^ Serambi Pirous by Reni Sudarmadi, 25 Okt. 2021 in asrinesia: Arsitektur, Budaya, Seni [2]
  5. ^ Website Serambi Pirous
  6. ^ A.D Pirous Spiritual Calligraphy. Jakarta: PT Jakarta Land. 2016. p. 7.
  7. ^ The Times They are A-Changing. Deborah Iskandar in: Indonesia Digest, 22. August 2017. [3]
  8. ^ Reframing Modernism: Painting from Southeast Asia, Europe and Beyond. edited by Low Sze Wee, Horikawa Lisa, Phoebe Scott. National Gallery of Singapore, Oct. 2016, p. 231 ISBN 978-9810995614 [4]
  9. ^ Group 18 1971, SIDHartA Auctioneer, 2020
  10. ^ Periode Decenta Seni Grafis Indonesia Di Dia.Lo.Gue, Kemang, Jakarta. Ninin Rahayu Sari, 30. January 2018. Home.co.id [5]
  11. ^ Beratapan Langit dan Bumi Amparan (A.D. Pirous - 1990)
  12. ^ Biography A.D. Pirous by artsociates, undated
  13. ^ Cantik dan Membius, Seni Lukis Kaligrafi Modern Karya A.D Pirous. Stanley Dirgapradja in fimela, 21.March 2016 [6]
  14. ^ Menyigi Masa. Exhibition 10-28. Oktober 2018, National Gallery, Indonesia [7]
  15. ^ Simfoni Nusantara, Katalog Pameran 9 Nov. - 23. Nov. 1994, Jakarta, Indonesia
  16. ^ Pirous, A.D. (2003). Melukis itu Menulis. Bandung: Penerbit ITB ISBN 978-9799299482[8]


  • A.D. Pirous: Vision, faith, and a journey in Indonesian art, 1955–2002. by K.M. George & Mamannoor. (Yayasan Serambi Pirous, 2002 - 255 pages) ISBN 978-9799677402
  • A.D. Pirous: Melukis itu Menulis (Painting is Writing). by Dudy Wiyancoko, Editor. (ITB, Bandung, 2003 - 252 pages, numerous photos) ISBN 9799299489
  • Melukis Islam: Amal dan Etika Seni Islam di Indonesia. by Kenneth M. George, Hawe Setiawan (Translator), Dudy Wiyancoko (Editor) and A.D. Pirous (Yayasan Serambi Pirous, 2009 - 250 pages) ISBN 978-9794336984
  • Notes of a collector : A.D. Pirous' spiritual message. by Wahyuni Bahar. (PT Telaga Ilmu Indonesia, 2012 - 87 pages) ISBN 978-9791980081

General Art LiteratureEdit

  • "Bandung: The Laboratory of the West?". Helena Spanjaard in: Modern Indonesian Art, 1945-1990. Published by Fischer, Berkeley, CA, USA, 1990, page 54–77. ISBN 978-0295971414
  • "Ketiga Kata Ketika Warna. In Words In Colours". Puisi dan Luisan - Poetry and Colours. Published by Yayasan Ananda; Ed. 1 edition, English and Indonesian, 1995. Includes 1 paintings of A.D. Pirous. ISBN 978-9798424038
  • "Indonesian Heritage: Visual Art". Hildawati Soemantri, published by Editions Didier Miller, Singapore, 1998. Includes 1 painting of A.D. Pirous. ISBN 978-9813018310
  • "Modern Indonesian Art: From Raden Saleh to the Present Day." Koes Karnadi et al., Published by Koes Artbooks, Denpasar, Bali. 2nd rev. Ed. 2010. ISBN 978-9798704024
  • "Artists and their Inspiration. A Guide Through Indonesian Art History (1930-2015)." Helena Spanjaard. LM Publishers, Volendam, The Netherlands, 2016. Includes 2 paintings of A.D. Pirous, pages 89–90. ISBN 978-9460223877