Waidi Sontowidjojo June 2, 1937-July 26, 2011

”]Waidi Sontowidjojo is generally known by his first name only, just “Waidi”. This man of Javanese origin has been active as an artist for over forty years. He is highly commended for his passionate and expressive wood sculptures.

Waidi’s personality is characterized by his constant creative ambition and his perseverance. Although to him Javanese is practically the only available means of communication, he has never considered that an impediment to develop his artistic qualities at a national and international level. This has earned him a place of honor in the Surinamese world of art.

Quite a few times he participated successfully in the Nationale Kunstbeurs (NK). He has also exhibited his art abroad. Not only in the region, in countries such as French Guiana, Barbados and Guyana, but also in Indonesia, the homeland of his ancestors. Waidi’s scope of interest is not restricted to creative arts. In the past he has also used his creative talent to teach the art of flower arrangements. Furthermore he has been an energetic advocate of other forms of cultural expression, such as dance and music. In 1990 he was an active participant in the festivities held in Sana Budaya, the Javanese cultural center inParamaribo, to commemorate the centenary of Javanese immigration

From: Visser, Marieke, Talent. Uit de kunstcollectie van de Centrale Bank van Suriname, Paramaribo (Centrale Bank van Suriname) 2007

"My Waidi" PHOTO Marieke Visser, 2011
"My Waidi" PHOTO Marieke Visser, 2011

On a personal note: One of my favorite pieces of art is a sculpture by Waidi. It belonged to my mother in law, Corry Hermelijn. From the first day I was welcomed in her home I noticed this somewhat sad wooden figure. At first I couldn’t really appreciate it. I was very young, perhaps too young to understand the burdens life sometimes puts on our shoulders. My mother in law lovingly put her hand on the sculpture’s head, each time she passed it. “My Waidi” she called it, and “My Waidi” went with her everywhere she went. It was only after her death that I came to understand that Waidi was the name of the artist. We inherited the piece, and now it has a place in my home, and I too touch that sad head when passing, caressing it. And I too call it “My Waidi”, and feel how strong the sculpture is. We can bear a lot more than we think. “Nobody said life would be easy”, is an often heard remark. No, and nobody knew that there’s something inside of us, so strong, so strong. Still standing, “My Waidi”. Still standing …

By Marieke Visser, 2011

5 thoughts on “Waidi Sontowidjojo June 2, 1937-July 26, 2011

    1. That could very well be the case. However, since Waidi has passed away I wouldn’t know who to ask. There is no mention of this name in the telephone book of Suriname, so I think if your roots are Surinamese you must be family. I don’t know how common the name is in Indonesia. The first Javanese immigrants came here in 1890.


  1. I have a wood carving signed by Waidi, dated 1973. It is 20” by 18” of a woman in a hut.I wondered if there is someone who collects or desires pieces of his work. My e-mail address is Whdinschel@yahoo.com. I would really like to pass this on to someone who would appreciate this wonderful wood carving by a known artist and not just sit on my shelf in the basement.


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