As the artist once said, "When I paint, I always want to become one with the object I paint. I lose myself, and then there is a feeling as if I’m going to fight against something." This feeling may be due to the artist’s intuitive understanding of the subject matter, which contrasted with the pressure to paint in an objective and realistic manner. Affandi painted to convey his own perceptions of the world, leaving the viewer to interpret to these internal experiences.
In the painting Tuak Manis, a man is shown holding a cockerel, whilst guzzling down Balinese palm beer, a reference to the artwork’s title. The action appears matter-of-fact, as opposed to being enjoyable. Though it is a leisure activity, the ambience is tense and almost nervous, perhaps to suggest that the man is preparing for a cockfight, a traditional gambling hobby in Southeast Asia. The emotional state of the man, or rather the psyche of the artist’s experience, is further amplified by the use of color in the work. The artist’s emotional connection to colors is most evident in his self-portraits: Red is used to symbolize passion, and excitement, whilst green means delight, and yellow represents the sun. The colors signify the energy source that exists in all beings.
These psychological associations are clearly reflected in Tuak Manis. The man painted in red, radiates an excited aura, the green pitcher of Balinese palm beer is seen as an indulgence in Southeast Asia, and yellow refers to the sunshine, as well as emphasizing the energy sources inherent in the subject matter. The highlighted areas, such as the man’s right bicep, the alcohol, and the cockerel, assist in illustrating the story that the artist wished to tell, that of the leisurely pastimes and rural enjoyments of the common man.
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