Jayanto Tan

No Friend’s But The Ghost (Ceng Beng)

About the Work


This work was created during Covid-19 restrictions, responding to conversations made with the artist’s friends and family about the kinds of work that could be made during the isolation. I created this banal ‘soft still life’ sculpture based on personal attacks during the Coronavirus pandemic crisis, and I intertwined it with family narrative questions about class, race, migration, stereotype and identity. This work-in-progress combined earthenware clay and embroidery on found fabrics that employ the spirit of the Deli River, where I was born to the Cooks River, my adopted home. As an immigrant visual artist with a mixed ethnicity from North Sumatra, I cherish our diversity in Granville in Western Sydney, where I have a casual job to Ashfield in Inner West Sydney, where I rest. ‘Ceng Beng’ symbolises imposed rest, probing us to contemplate the mortality of our precious spirit of the elders. 

About the Creative


Jayanto Tan is a visual artist who was born and raised in a small village in North Sumatra to a Sumatran Christian mother and Guandong Taoist father. As an immigrant artist living in Sydney, who fled poverty and political repression in search of a better life, his practice blends Eastern and Western mythologies with the reality of current events. His works have been selected for the 66th Blake Prize and a solo show at the Verge Gallery. He won the 11th Greenway Art Prize in a small sculpture category. Jayanto holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Masters of Fine Arts from National Art School.