The celebration of the common people in the street, this is the single motivating impetus behind the works of Hendra Gunawan. In the discussion of the different modernist movement in the Philippines, Indonesia and Australia, Alison Carroll noted the emphasis of a communal life by Hendra in his works.
"..., while other images, particularly those of Hendra, celebrated the life of local people: grouped together in markets, streets, on the beach , sitting. chatting, energetically sharing their lives and their cultural experiences." (Alison Carroll, "Parallels: Nationalism in Filipino, Indonesia and Australian art in Art and Asia Pacific, Dinah Dysart edit., sample issue 1993, p. 70)
Indeed, a sense of community, ever in conversation, interacting and exchanging, is one predominant characteristic of Hendra's works. This sense of multi-linked interaction is always achieved through the artist's meticulous arrangement of the boisterous crowd amidst a riot of colours, noise and objects. The interaction is always suggested by a touch, a look or a gesture, a link that goes in a circle and never broken.
With the present lot, the mother and child are evidently the main protagonists in this composition which are counter-balanced by the 2 ladies right below who are picking up the flowers. The mother and child who have an intimate connection with the gaze of one another, the dangling doo held on by the child and the woman on the right edge completes the circle of interaction. Placing the community in touch with one another, Hendra also ensures the harmony of the colours. The green batik-top of the mother is echoed and matched by the green leaf that contains the followers and the rest of the ladies are either in a more sober tone such as dark shade of the lady on the right edge or in a nuanced shades such s the 2 ladies on the left corner, playing contrasts to the bright shade of the mother figure.
While the works of Hendra are unmistakably 'Indonesian', the artist's sentiment is much more profound than this mere display of indigenous culture as it is aptly described "The works have been called typically 'Indonesian', but this seems a strange title; it would be more apposite to describe them as energetically reflecting and celebrating the life of the Indonesian people. It is the subject matter which is so rich, and the fondness and delight in Hendra's case for the individuals, as well as the technique of quick brushstrokes and rich colour, which enliven these images." (Ibid).