Enrico Soekarno was born in Bandung, Indonesia. He spent his primary school years in Jakarta, and completed his secondary schooling in Sydney, Australia. Although he was trained as a film maker, he also attended the Accademia di Belle Arti in Rome and took a C.E.P. on Theories Of Revolutions at the University of Sydney.
Since 1985 he has had exhibitions of paintings, drawings, etchings and photographs and participated in various multi media performances. After a brief sojourn in East Timor in 1991 he started his own design company, Visual Concepts, and since then he has designed book covers for Pramoedya Ananta Toer, directed music videos, painted murals and created several cultural publications and public service advertisements with a focus on the environment and the preservation of indigenous cultures.
In the early part of 1998 he took a boat on the Mahakam River and journeyed into the jungles of Borneo in search of fire. He found inferno!. He took ‘sembako’ to remote villages, rescued an Orang Utan and was jailed by the military in Bontang. He also filmed and painted the fire. Then he brought the smoke back to choke Jakarta with the “Kalimantan on Fire and The Colours of Death” and “ Burning Borneo” series of exhibitions. Some of his works raised a censorship issue in the last days of the New Order, both in Jakarta and Manila. His work and contribution for the people suffering from the forest fires were featured in the award winning BBC production of “The Kings of the Jungle”.
Since then he has travelled to many other parts of Indonesia and worked on various projects charting the fall of Suharto and the rise of the New Nationalism, and the Head hunters of Borneo. He also returned to East Timor for the referendum. His land journey back through the Indonesia’s eastern islands resulted in the “Mirror Of the East” exhibition.
In 1999, he and his scientist sister were short listed for the top forty candidates of the SCI-ART science and art partnership with a piece , combining stained glass structures and microscopic images, called “The Language Of Cells”.
He won an award from the minister of maritime and fisheries in 2002 for his efforts, as an artist, to save the environment. And the following year he was awarded the a+ Lucky Strike Award in the Freedom Of Thought category, for consistency in producing original works of art.
His journey towards the end of 2003, with comrades Yori Antar, Jay Subyakto and Krish Suharnoko, to the land of snows, Tibet, resulted in an exhibition and book entitled “Tibet Di Otak”, which was followed up in 2008 by a solo exhibition “Out Of Tibet”, and another group show the following year entitled “Heaven In Exile”
He is presently Chairman of the Yayasan Atap Dunia, or The Roof Of The World foundation, a non profit organisation working against, and making exhibitions about, cultural genocide especially in Tibet. He now lives in Sydney with his wife, Cantik and two children, Kenya Kamalashila and Dante Nagarjuna.