Paintings without the human figure amount to only a handful in Indonesian painter Nyoman Masriadi's oeuvre. Painted in 2003, during a time when Masriadi was fixated with the notions of power and strength and had begun regularly painting his trademark black skinned figures, Titan Arum stands out distinctively for the elaborate, fascinatingly detailed depiction of the Amorphophallus titanum, commonly named the Titan Arum plant.
Like many of his nonfigurative works, Titan Arum is rich in allegorical content. The Titan Arum is one of the world's largest flowering plants, endemic to western Sumatra but highly prized by botanic gardens and private collectors internationally. Masriadi's painted Titan Arum grows from a landscape of volcanic limestone hills and pierces a clear azure-blue sky dramatically. Its defiant phallic bloom, surrounded by a luscious leaf-flower like spathe, demonstrates a strength and resilience to overcome the barrenness of its surroundings. Like so many of Masriadi's painted black and brown skinned figures, Titan Arum possesses a determination and will to not just exist but to thrive.