After the batik making workshop this week here at Babaran Segaragunung Culture House (BSG), talk is on the table to meet up later with newly made workshop friends Kay and Suranto. The thought is to meet up at the opening of the Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing in Sydney, where a series of my drawings of wombats from my last residency (at Bundanon) are rising from their burrows deep in my studio back home so they can hang out in the mix of all the others works from elsewhere. I look forward to both.
But for my last weekend in Indonesia, I have taken a solo trip from Jogja through Solo to Candi Sukuh at the foothills of Gunung Lawu. It is a 15 Century temple I have heard much about during this time at BSG.
As the mist rapids in, I think of the ‘unseen’ and intangible world and the rich stories of Bima from the Mahabharata Sanskrit epic, depicted in the stone relief in front of me (that is the logo for BSG and in this image above). I focus here on my exegesis for this ACICIS program, Breathing Furniturewhere I write:
“… My drawings also began to morph from their initial plein air searchings to integrating creature shadows suggestive of the kancil, the endemic Java mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus). With its cleverness painted in Indonesian fables, I sought the kancil out at Gembira Loka Zoo, Jogjakarta. In learning that this creature is also categorised as “Data Deficient” due to lack of information of its status on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, I think it fitting that the kancil became just a shadow in my work. Creature shadows occupied my mind through the wayang kulit shadow puppet shows with their morphing of characters such as the Giant Kala Marica who assumes the form of the beautiful golden deer through the Sanskrit epic of Ramayana as experienced at Sonobudoyo Museum, Jogjakarta. With many morphing of the chairs’ shadows, I am also reflecting upon the connectedness of nature and culture in Javanese philosophy …”
There is some reflection happening and no doubt much more of this will come in the months ahead. This ACICIS Creative Arts and Design Professional Practicum has been a great opportunity for me to be mentored by extraordinary established international artists and work collaboratively in this cross-cultural setting at BSG. My engagement skills have been refined and my outlook massaged by my learnings attained through the sharing of Javanese philosophies at BSG. I am grateful for this growth experience and I hope to integrate these learnings within my life and practice as an artist. I have been left with a deep respect for all those at BSG and hope there has been mutuality in this exchange. I look forward to ongoing creative connections born of this time.
With this practicum coming to an end, I have a sense of joy that my Honours year at University of New South Wales will be complete. The plan for the next chapter is to just to stay put for quite a bit with my loves at home and creatively outpour my learnings and reflections from my Honours year and ACICIS program. I look forward to being back home with my people and creatures and I’m thankful for them joining me on the beginning of this tale. So with this chapter closing in, big thanks go to all at BSG especially Nia, Ismoyo, Ika, Fina and Ibi. Thanks to ACICIS and Universitas Sanata Dharma especially Elly, Oci and Dhea and all in the Sanata Dharma Language Centre and the cohort too - it has been awesome to be on this journey will you all. And thanks to the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant.