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New Caledonia

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Johannes Wahono

Indonesian origin Johannes Wahono is a New Caledonian painter, illustrator and cartoonist.

He was born in 1960 in Noumea but spent most of his childhood and teenage life in Houaïlou and in « Brousse » so called countryside for the caledonian. There he began his apprenticeship of self-toaught sketching from the nature. He then trained in 1977 with the painter Frank Fay, on rue Higginson in Noumea. He began his career as a painter by financing his exhibitions with his own funds, in addition to his other activities: video maker, photographer and teacher of applied arts in a studio where he taught for 39 years.

He is known for his press cartoons in the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles calédoniennes. For 17 years, he held the "Grosses têtes" column where he caricatured influential figures in New Caledonian politics and economy. He also worked for ten years for the weekly newspaper “Demain”. He were invited several times to the Festival of Comics and Images at the Boulouparis socio-cultural centre from the festivals first edition in 2003. In collaboration with Bernard Sylvano, he sketched the Assises for the New Caledonians. He also participated in the illustration of numerous books for young people and humanities work.

On the other hand, he is known for his figurative paintings representing the Caledonian bush. With 41 individual exhibitions from 1978 to 2021 and 60 group exhibitions from 1981 to 2022, he imposes his almost photo-realistic style with bright colours. Although he produced a few still lifes and various paintings in a rather naïve style, his favourite themes remain: cattle stations, rivers and creeks, in particular the Tiwaka, Noumean colonial houses as well as nickel mines and factories.

Some of his works are in public and diplomatic collections such as La Vallée de la Tiwaka, 1992, oil on canvas, Hôtel de Ville de Nouméa; Dimanche sur la passerelle Marguerite, 2003, Acrylic on canvas, 38 x 46 cm, commissioned by the Mairie de la Foa and offered to the Japanese twin city Tsuruoka; La plaine de Ouazingo, 2017, Oil on canvas, 73 x 100 cm, Congress of New Caledonia, Nouméa; Doniambo, 2017, Acrylic on canvas, 70 x 70 cm, South Province, Nouméa; and many other paintings throughout New Caledonia and in the prefectures.


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