Henk Ngantung

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Henk Ngantung
COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM De schilder Henk Ngantung aan het werk TMnr 60054749.jpg
Henk Ngantung (1950s)
6th Governor of Jakarta
In office
Preceded bySoemarno Sosroatmodjo
Succeeded bySoemarno Sosroatmodjo
Personal details
Hendrik Hermanus Joel Ngantung

1 March 1921
Manado, North Sulawesi
Died12 December 1991 (1991-12-13) (aged 70)
Spouse(s)Hetty Evelyn Ngantung Mamesah
ProfessionPolitician, artist

Hendrik Hermanus Joel Ngantung (1 March 1921 – 12 December 1991) better known as Henk Ngantung was an Indonesian painter and politician of Peranakan Chinese and Minahasan descent.[1][2] He was appointed Deputy Governor by President Sukarno, then became Governor of Jakarta briefly between 1964 and 1965, the first non-Muslim and the first Chinese-Indonesian to hold this important post in predominantly Muslim Indonesia.[3][4][1][2]

Henk Ngantung was born in the Minahasa heartland of North Sulawesi province in the capital city of Manado to a poor family of mixed Chinese and Minahasan descent.[1][2] Henk was a self-taught painter without any formal education. Together with Chairil Anwar and Asrul Sani, he co-founded the Indonesian artistic movement Gelanggang (meaning the arena). He was also the president of the board of the China-Indonesia Friendship from 1955 to 1958.[3]

Henk Ngantung was married to Hetty Evelyn "Evie" Ngantung Mamesah and they had four children, Maya, Genie, Kamang and Karno Ngantung.[3]

He became Deputy governor of Jakarta during the reign of governor Soemarno Sosroatmodjo. President Sukarno entrusted him of turning Jakarta into a city of culture based on his work as an artist. After holding the post of deputy governor from 1960 to 1964, he succeeded Soemarno Sosroatmodjo as governor of Jakarta but very briefly 1964–1965 before Soemarno Sosroatmodjo retaking the position in 1965 again briefly until 1966. His appointment was vehemently opposed for his left-wing ideology with some opponents accusing him of being a communist.[3][4]

From 1965 onwards, he consecrated his life to the arts. He lived in poverty, suffered bad health and developed heart disease and glaucoma. He lost eyesight completely in his right eye, and just 30% vision in the left eye, but continued painting with great difficulty. In 1990, the Indonesian businessman and philanthropist Ciputra sponsored Henk Ngantung's one and only official exhibition just a month before his death on 12 December 1991.[3][4]


  1. ^ a b c "Ini Kisah Gubernur DKI Non-Muslim dan Keturunan Tionghoa Pertama". Republika Online. 27 August 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Times, I. D. N.; Folia, Rosa. "Henk Ngantung, Pria Kristen dan Keturunan Tionghoa Pertama yang Jadi Gubernur Jakarta". IDN Times (in Indonesian). Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Hendrik Hermanus Joel Ngantung - Profil | merdeka.com". merdeka.com. merdeka.com. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Henk Ngantung: Korban 1965 yang Terlupakan - KOMPASIANA.com". KOMPASIANA. Retrieved 15 February 2017.