Jayanto Tan

Jayanto Tan explores hidden cultural and self-identity through performance and installation using found objects, ceramic sculptures and authentic food.

Jayanto Tan is a Sydney-based visual artist who was born and raised in a small town in North Sumatra to a Sumatran-Christian mother and Guandong-Taoist father. Jayanto fled to Sydney in 1997 to escape poverty and political repression, after experiencing years of discrimination for his Chinese-Indonesian Peranakan heritage. His practice draws on his family history and diasporic background, blending Eastern and Western mythologies with the contemporary world and current events. Using found objects, ceramic sculptures, authentic food, and interactive performance and installation, his work often investigates how hybrid cultures can create new identities of possibility and hope.

Jayanto has been a finalist in several art prizes, including the 2022 Deakin University Contemporary Small Sculpture Award, the 2022 Muswell Regional Art Prize, the 60th annual Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, the 2022 Rookwood Cemetery Sculpture Walk, the 66th Blake Art Prize, the 2021 Churchie Emerging Art Prize and the Blacktown Art Prize. He has won the 2021 Georges River Sculpture Art Prize. He has held solo shows at the Art Atrium, Sydney; the Metro Arts West End, Brisbane; Atrium Space Incinerator Gallery, Victoria; Verge Gallery, University of Sydney; Firstdraft, Woolloomooloo; and Australia-China Institute for the Arts, Western Sydney University. His works have been included in group exhibitions across Australia, Europe, China and Indonesia. He has been selected for residencies at the BigCi Bilpin, NSW; Tanteri Pottery Bali, Indonesia and Red Gate Gallery Beijing, China. Jayanto holds a Bachelor of Fine Art and Master of Fine Art at National Art School.

He is currently exhibiting A Little Potluck Party Pai Ti Kong with the Ghosts (Double Happiness), a solo show at Maitland Regional Art Gallery until 12 March 2023. His upcoming group shows include the Dobell Drawing Prize #23, National Art School; SLOT’s 20-year Survey Exhibition, Delmar Gallery; and PLATE, a part of Food Festival, Canterbury Bankstown Arts Centre. He was part of several Making Clay Food Workshops for the Sydney WorldPride Celebration in February 2023. He is represented by Art Atrium, Sydney.

In this video, Jayanto chats about sentimentality and nostalgia in the art-making process, using art as a silent protest, and the joys of connecting with his community and audience through exhibiting.

Video production by Playground / ArtVid 2022.

Photo by Anna Hay.

ID: Photo of Jayanto Tan sitting in his studio. His head is tilted and he is smiling. He is wearing a black hat, white t-shirt with the word FOODS written across it and has a yellow scarf tied around his neck. In his hands and on the tables around him are colourful platters of ceramic food. Behind him is a noticeboard of newspaper and magazine clippings of food and shelves of cardboard boxes with black texta labels saying Lucky Food, Dumplings and Pink Lamington.