Born in East Java, Indonesia, F X Harsono (1949) is one of the original members of the late 1970s avant-garde group Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru (New Art Movement) whose agenda included a socially conscious art. Using symbols, signs, images, text and objects, Harsono employs the language of the mass media and popular culture to provide entry-points for social commentaries on socio-political conditions in Indonesia.Painted in a realistic manner, ‘Preserving Life, Terminating Life #1’ is from a body of work where Harsono juxtaposes his personal history against a communal tragedy. Images from this series are inspired by Harsono’s discovery of black and white photographs in his family house. The image on the left panel displays familial warmth and happiness while the grim image of skulls on the right is a documentary photograph of the exhumation of the mass graves of Chinese murdered after the Second World War. The red thread connecting the two panels poignantly symbolizes lineage as well as the unbroken line of history that is often tainted by bloodshed.