The flame motif is incorporated into many cultural symbols native to Indonesia, including the Javanese wayang kulit, architecture and batik fabrics. In this instance, Agus uses this familiar symbol to make relevant the light of things traditional in today's society.
The subject again is painted in Agus' own form, holding fans and undertaking steps to a traditional dance routine whilst surrounded by spiraling dark plumes of smoke led by shooting flames, igniting sections of the ground and darkening the entire work with a solemn hue. The subject is covered with soot but seems to remain persistent in completing the dance. The held fans do not seem to be able to depress this pace of consumption. Agus' application of this flame motif is not uncommon to his later works. The present lot was completed in 2001 and this flame motif occurs again in recent works that were created in 2004. (c.f. works in Agus Suwage, Playing the Fool, Valentine Willie Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur, 14 October - 6 November 2004.) This fire can be taken to mean many things including as a symbol of culture as seen by the wayang kulit and even resembling the fires of hell as seen in his later works. Clearly, Agus uses the recognisable icon to opine about the oppressed state of cultural affairs and hence value systems.