Unusually for this time of the year the rainy season is holding off – seemingly strange and noted by all. And unusually for an ACICIS program, my internship has become a residency as well.
Not just a work placement, I have been warmly welcomed and fully immersed in culture and life residing at Babaran Segaragunung Culture House (BSG) here in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. At BSG, I am falling for the resident baby. Ibi, just a few months old sets the scene and the rhythm with her presence. And, I start a daily drawing practice; writing daily notes; documenting this time, place and people in photographs; and a reflective journal that will be submitted each week as part of this ACICIS program. I begin my day hanging out continuing to learn some Bahasa Indonesian and swapping some English with the local student interns here.
Artists Nia Fliam and Agus Ismoyo of BSG dedicate sessions with me focusing on the creative process through batiks, their stories and histories, and of their motifs with their embedded meanings and related philosophies. Told through looking at the ancient semen batik motif, I hear about the concept of Tribawana, of the three worlds and begin to sense some of Nia’s and Isomoyo’s ways of seeing, thinking, feeling and being. I feel incredibly privileged to be in this place of cross cultural dialogue with Nia’s and Ismoyo’s open generosity. You can see and read a little their extraordinary cross cultural collaborations here: https://www.brahmatirtasari.org/exhibitions.html
In Yogyakarta, Indonesia I have been walking the streets and sitting on the mat with fellow Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies (ACICIS) student Meg checking out Angkringan. We will present upon these for a project of ours in this Creative Arts and Design Professional Practicum (CADPP) program https://www.acicis.edu.au/programs/practicum/ through Sanata Dharma University that we are undertaking. Angkringan, part of the cultural fabric of Jogja, cater moveable feasts of local specialties and oft help connect any and all with their egalitarian seating set ups. But like the mix in so much of life, there’s a diversity of scenes and stories too from the isolated vendor in the quiet street to the bustling lights where the third generation angkringan vendor tells a little of her story of an inherited angkringan life from her mother and her grandmother, before her.
It’s been an intensive couple of weeks. The days are split learning Bahasa Indonesian through the terrific Sanata Dharma’s Language Centre at Universitas Sanata Dharma mostly in the mornings followed by experiencing some of Jogja’s art scene through seminars and fieldtrips, aptly organised by ACICIS staff Dr Elly Kent and Oci, Mutiara Cininta (thank you / terima kasih!). To give you a little taste here’s a link to just one treasure visited – the Indonesian Visual Arts Archive http://ivaa-online.org which is such an amazing online and physical resource, documenting arts activity and sharing knowledge through art in Indonesia’s post-Reformation era.
From the start, ACICIS paired each participant student with another (so much laughing with you Kelly) and an Indonesian Student Liaison Officer (where gold has been hit with Dhea by our sides - makasih). This has all helped the ache of saying goodbye to my family as they voyage home after our stint together here.