Roby Dwi Antono

Fantastical scenes drawn from hazy recollections of childhood.

Roby Dwi Antono was born in 1990 in Semarang, Indonesia, and now lives and works in nearby Yogyakarta.


He presented his first exhibition outside of Indonesia titled Southern Monster, Northern Child, in Manila in 2016, and has since exhibited throughout the world - from Frankfurt to Los Angeles.

At Auction

A painting titled Lonesome Hero #3 sold for $30,000 in 2021 as part of Artsy's Art Keeps Nonprofits Going IV auction, almost ten times its estimate.

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Practice overview

Formerly a graphic designer, Roby's distinct style fuses classical Renaissance imagery with contemporary Superflat aesthetics. Motifs of deadpan, starry-eyed children and bizarre mythological creatures nod to notable artists like Yoshitomo Nara as well as pop-surrealists Mark Ryden and Marion Peck. Roby sketches each of his portraits before moving to canvas with oil paint, watercolours, pencils, spray paint, and charcoal. Roby pulls references from images circulated online, epic poetry, film and cartoons. He often lifts popular iconography to reimagine cultural icons he admires such as rapper Tyler the Creator and artist Takashi Murakami. This said, Roby’s most significant influences are his memories and dreams, which inform the surrealist sensibility seen throughout his work. Interrogating the distant haze of childhood, Roby’s fantastical paintings explore themes of heroism and cultural trauma.

Roby combines memories from his past with the uncertainty of the future. Autopsy of Mystery II (2019) depicts an ensemble of figures both human and mythological. All of the figures are gathered around a focal point: a large, severed head with the face carved out and opened to reveal another head inside, suspended in a cosmological skyscape. The tranquil nature of the surrounding swamp is juxtaposed with the sci-fi peculiarity of hybrid creatures and dismembered anatomies. Mixing the prehistoric and futuristic, Roby creates a non-linear version of time and space which swells to encompass past and present, real and imagined.

Roby interrogates the contradictions of human experience via his art. “I paint subjects that can represent both the good and the bad.” Joy & Sorrow (2019) for example depicts a young girl standing over a mysterious dead creature that possibly, she herself has killed. She appears conflicted, overwhelmed by the point at which a seemingly fun game turned to a realisation of her cruel actions. Illuminating the paradoxes of our individual experiences with surreal vision and macabre humour, Roby balances disillusion and anxiety with heroism and hope to find clarity within the chaos of human experience.

“The human experience affects both the idea and visual aspect of my works.” Roby Dwi Antono