Completed in 2003, the present lot is a work that exemplifies another of Masriadi's key thematic interest in highlighting the virtues of perseverance, of doggedly fighting on for the display of human endurance and power. Aku bias is one of the rarer smaller canvases painted by the artist from 2002 to 2004 when he was producing larger-sized canvases drawing attention to the dispositions and psychological states of individual protagonists in his paintings. Thematically, Aku bias is exemplary of Masriadi's interest in the period mentioned. Hence, the present lot is simultaneously an exemplary but unusual painting from the period.
Aku bias seemingly exhorts the spirit of perseverance and unflagging endurance. The individual protagonist in the painting is a well-articulated study of human determination. His forehead is furrowed and his eyes are blazing with concentration, focusing on a task presented before him and the picture's viewers - hammering a nail. The simple act of hammering a nail is dramatised and raised to symbolic importance in this work. It is an act that summons every ounce of the protagonist's concentration, and requires every bit of his focus.
Yet at another level, the painting also calls to be read in a less direct manner. In precipitating the simple scenario of a man hammering to the state of importance and drama it enjoys in the composition, could Masriadi be urging viewers to see the painting through absurdist lens? What is the worth of expending a seemingly heroic effort as the protagonist of the painting does? Is there value in perseverance? It is precisely how Masriadi's paintings seem to be located at the interstices of polar meanings, hovering between earnestness and cynicism, that they have the greatest appeal.