"Suwage is usually reticent about the intentions behind the making of his art. As in real life, he rarely explains; he shows, smiles, and walks away. He shape-shifts and slides, slipping in and out of characters on canvas, playing the tortured, the oppressor, the revered, the jester, the fool, the glut, the masochist. Framed within the image of the artist in his myriad guises are layers of socio-political commentary and a critique of human nature. Meanings are multi-faceted and difficult to pin down, new associations and possibilities are produced at each turn. His quiet statements often deliver stealthy blows, calculated moves designed to hit different notes on the emotional and intellectual scale. The personality behind each painting provides an insight into the artist's personality and inner thoughts, at times brazen, introspective or sharp with social satire." (Adeline Ooi, Pinning down the fool exhibition catalogue, Valentine Fine Art Gallery, 14 Oct - 6 Nov 2004, p. 1).
In this early work by Suwage, the artist was already exploring the theme of the self-portrait, employing his face and upper torso, front and back view, to address questions of identity and change in his surrounding socio-cultural condition. In the bottom half of the painting, we get the sense that Suwage is looking up at the back of his head - he could be looking forward into his life or trying unsuccessfully to escape his past. The camouflage background could represent the warring and turbulent unrest in Indonesia which is behind him now, while the white, almost luminous background is his optimistic hope for a more peaceful and tranquil future.