NUANSA 2019 Lukisan Jati: Of artistic pursuits, validation, and The Boschbrand

You may have heard of the phrase “starving artist”, but what is the reality for artists who are pursuing their dreams?

NUANSA’s annual musical production, Lukisan Jati (translated as ‘Portrait of Self’), explores the coming-of-age story of two painters on their journey to self-discovery. One of the two protagonists is none other than Raden Saleh, the 19-century painter who was given a scholarship to study art abroad – just like present-day Elsa, the other protagonist who earned an art scholarship in Singapore.

The musical explores the unique struggles each protagonist face, which are influenced by their individual character, the level of family support, their passion for the craft, and the political and social challenges posed by the country and era they migrated in. 

Just like many young children these days, Elsa yearns for her parents’ approval, and accepted the Singaporean scholarship to please them. Realizing that she may have passion elsewhere, would she be able to make a decision and stand up for herself?

In contrast, Saleh is a passionate painter who knows that he wants to paint for the rest of his life. Despite his noble upbringing and family background in Java, he tries too hard to fit in with the Europeans. Believing that his self-worth is tied to his social standing in society, Saleh struggles to climb up the social ladder to be accepted and loved for who he is. Would he lose his identity just to imitate the Europeans – even in his art?

The main inspiration of Lukisan Jati is Raden Saleh’s renowned artwork, the Boschbrand (Forest Fire), was also featured in the musical. Revealing that the Boschbrand artwork is the biggest stage prop that the team has worked on for the production, the sheer size of the masterpiece is comparable to the actual painting (which measures 300 x 396 cm) in the National Gallery Singapore. The artwork is influenced by the Romantic movement in the 18th century, and the composition of animals chased by flames to the edge of a precipice reflected Saleh’s ambition as a painter.

Lukisan Jati: Cast

Beyond the musical’s main theme of the protagonists’ artistic pursuits, Lukisan Jati delivers a relatable coming-of-age story for everyone who is learning to make independent decisions in their lives. Don’t miss the chance to watch the Boschbrand come alive, together with the talented NUANSA cast on stage for one night only!

NUANSA 2019: Lukisan Jati

Date: 28 October 2019, Monday
Time: 2:30 pm (matinee) and 7:30 pm (night)
Venue: University Cultural Centre, National University of Singapore

Ticket prices start at S$19. For more information, visit

DANAMIC is proud to be an Official Media Partner of NUANSA 2019.

Stacey Lim

Professional feminist and self-proclaimed emo queen (it is not a phase, mom). She also never fails to spend her birthday wishes on world peace and a global boycott on animal-tested products.

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