Artist of the Week: Ono Gaf



“We lived in a kampong alongside a mosque,” Ono recalled.
“Everyone was Muslim. It was a sterile and restrictive environment. I built a tiny studio in the attic and kept out of the way.

“When I wasn’t there, I was round the tram yards watching men work iron. I knew most Indonesian artists like to use wood, but timber rots and breaks. Iron and steel lasts. Then and now I’ve been the only one working like this.

“I learned how to forge and weld. I could communicate with metal. However, people laughed at my iron work — they didn’t think it was art.”



“I couldn’t afford to travel, but I could see the world through books,” he said. “I knew I had to learn. Books can’t make you rich but they can make you clever. Artists need to be intellectuals. Only then can art be great.”

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