looking here looking north, 2019

Exhibition by Woven Kolektif
Alfira O’SullivanBridie Gillman, Ida Lawrence, Kartika Suharto-Martin, Leyla Stevens (essay), Mashara Wachjudy & Sofiyah Ruqayah

Curated/coordinated by Ida Lawrence
Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney, Australia
12 January – 17 March 2019

looking here looking north, Installation view. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann.jpg

looking here looking north, installation views. Images care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann

looking here looking north launch full gallery. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann.jpg

looking here looking north is an exhibition by Woven Kolektif, a group of artists with continuing personal ties to Indonesia and Australia. Drawing on lived cross-cultural experiences, memories and observations between the two countries, the artists’ works explore connections to family, place and culture, both familiar and unfamiliar. For some of the artists, their creative process provides an opportunity to strengthen these connections; for others, the work itself is a place to reflect on feelings of ‘between-ness’ or cultural and geographic disconnect. Works range from playful observations of tourist hubs in Bali, poetic meditations on the intricacies and complexities of identity and memory, Google Street View visits to places of personal significance in Java, a keroncong (a form of popular music) karaoke video, and humorous painted stories about contemporary Indonesia. The artists express these stories, observations, meditations and imagined possibilities through performance, painting, installation, photography and video.

looking here looking north was presented as part of a suite of exhibitions at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre showcasing perspectives on Indonesia, alongside exhibitions by Jumaadi and Frances Larder.

Leyla Stevens essay. Photo by Ida Lawrence.JPG

Between ‘here’ and ‘there’: Migrations of memory, gesture & archives by Leyla Stevens, exhibition essay, in front of Idris 2018 (detail) by Ida Lawrence

Ida Lawrence paintings, installation view. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann.jpg

Ida Lawrence, (left to right) Dimas’s Wifi Tower 2018, Customs 2018, On Patriotism 2018, installation view. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann

Ida Lawrence, Dimas's Wifi Tower 2018 acrylic on canvas 152x183cm. Photo Ida Lawrence crop.JPG

Ida Lawrence, Dimas’s Wifi Tower 2018, acrylic on canvas 152 x 183cm

 

English transcription:

In 1997, I visited my father’s village in Java for the first time. I remember being smothered with love by closely-related strangers. This smothering took place on woven mats on the dirt floors of aunties’ and uncles’ and cousins’ living rooms. I also remember the place to shit was out the back, amongst the banana trees and chickens. My memories of this trip have a yellowness to them — the scorching afternoon sun as we walked between relatives’ houses; intricate lines and bubbling pots of wax at the batik factory where my cousin worked; and the soft warm glow of a single bulb, illuminating smiling faces in my aunty’s living room.

The next time I visited, in 2007, some of my relatives now had cement floors, and others tiled floors, in their homes. In the following six years, I took many trips to my father’s village and over that time I noticed TVs appeared in living rooms, motorcycles replaced bicycles, electric pumps were installed in wells, toilets were built, electric fans swung, Nokias rung, smart phones buzzed and beeped and chimed and crowed and whistled… meanwhile (now familiar) relatives kept smothering me with love.

It is 2017. I arrive in my father’s village and this time the latest addition is a wifi satellite tower. My cousin’s teenage son, Dimas, studied technology in school and installed the tower in the backyard between his mother’s and grandfather’s houses, amongst the banana trees and chickens, so that everyone in the village can access its signal. Like many other nights when I’d visited my father’s village, stars twinkle and fireflies dance in the rice fields; but in the lane next to his mother’s house, Dimas and I now admire the dazzling whiteness of a dozen neighbours’ faces, brilliantly illuminated by a dozen handheld screens.

Ida Lawrence Customs 2018 acrylic on canvas 138x122cm.JPG

Ida Lawrence, Customs 2018, acrylic on canvas, 138 x 122cm

One of my cousins met me at Bali Airport Departures gate with a cake she had baked — a souvenir to share with my family and friends in Sydney. I couldn’t bring myself to tell her that this beautiful gesture would be swiftly confiscated at Australian Customs. I accepted the gift — still-warm, boarded, and focused on devising a strategy: how to devour something as big as an aeroplane tray table within a six-hour overnight flight? Dee, in the aisle seat, helped me make a bit of a dint in it at around 5 am Australian Eastern Standard Time, but upon landing the remaining seven-eighths of my cousin’s jam-and-cream-filled love was lowered gently and reluctantly into a bin.

Sounds of a string quartet surged through invisible speakers. Apathetic blurs sped past on travellators.

I had nothing left to declare.

Ida Lawrence, On Patriotism 2018 acrylic on canvas 107x168cm.JPG

Ida Lawrence, On Patriotism 2018, acrylic on canvas, 107 x 168 cm

16 August (day before Independence Day):

We bought an Indonesian flag for the front of my sister’s house after being shamed by drive-by megaphone for not already having one patriotically flaccid flapping in the Jakartan smog.

Ida Lawrence, Idris 2018 acrylic on canvas 138x108 photo Ida Lawrence crop.JPG

Ida Lawrence, Idris 2018, acrylic on canvas, 138 x 108 cm

Long before my nephew was born, my younger sister and her husband decided his name would be Idris. My brother-in-law (a devout Muslim) liked the name because it is the name of a prophet. I googled “Idris prophet” and learned that he was “trustworthy” (islamtoday.com), “pious” and “constantly occupied with the study of the holy books” (sacred-texts.com), “tall, with a white complexion… little body hair and a lot of hair on his head” plus “a light discolouration on his chest, different to skin diseases like leprosy” (islamichouseofwisdom.com), and “the first man who was given the knowledge of astrology and mathematics” (linkedin.com/prophet-idris).

My sister, on the other hand, liked the name because “Idris Elba (the English actor) is hot”. I did an image search of Idris Elba. Yeah, it is true, he is hot.

Alfira O'Sullivan, Weekends are for Washing 2018 installation and video. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann.jpg

Alfira O’Sullivan, Weekends are for washing 2018 installation and video. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann

Alfira O'Sullivan performing Weekends are for washing at the launch of looking here looking north. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Art Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann.jpg

Alfira O’Sullivan performing Weekends are for washing at the launch of looking here looking north, 19 January 2019. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Art Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann

Alfira O'Sullivan performing at launch. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann6.jpg

Tata performing in Weekends are for washing by Alfira O’Sullivan. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann

Bridie Gillman, Welcome to my Paradise 2017-2018 photography. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann.jpg

Bridie Gillman, Welcome to my Paradise 2017-2018, archival pigment prints (framed), 50 x 50 cm x 8, edition of 3 + 1 AP. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann

Bridie Gillman_Two Women [From Welcome to my paradise]_2017-18_Archival pigment print_50x50cm.jpg

Bridie Gillman, Two Women (detail from Welcome to my paradise 2017-18). Image courtesy the artist

looking here looking north, Installation view. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann3.jpg

Bridie Gillman, Welcome to my paradise 2017-2018 (left) and Mashara Washjudy, Konstruksi 2018, (right) in looking here looking north. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann

Mashara Wachjudy, Konstruksi 2018 installation view. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Art Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann.jpg

Mashara Wachjudy, Konstruksi 2018, bamboo, cement, vinyl print, rope, plastic mesh, metal chain, oyster shells. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Art Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann

Kartika Suharto-Martin, Siti Suharti 2018 video installation. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann.jpg

Kartika Suharto-Martin, Siti Suharti 2018 video installation. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann

Kartika Suharto-Martin, Siti Suharti 2018 video still, video installation.jpg

Kartika Suharto-Martin, Siti Suharti 2018 video still. Image courtesy the artist

Kartika Suharto-Martin, Siti Suharti 2018 video still.jpg

Kartika Suharto-Martin, Siti Suharti 2018 video still. Image courtesy the artist

looking here looking north, Installation view. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann2.jpg

Bridie Gillman, BALI STATE OF MIND 2017-2018 (left) and Sofiyah Ruqayah, whatever makes you cold freezes me 2018 (right), installation view. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann

Sofiyah Ruqayah, whatever makes you cold freezes me 2018 watercolour and collage on paper, Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann.jpg

Sofiyah Ruqayah, whatever makes you cold freezes me 2018, watercolour and collage on paper, 233 x 108cm, two panels. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann

Sofiyah Ruqayah, whatever makes you cold freezes me, 2018 (detail), watercolour and collage on paper, 233x108cm, two panels.jpg

Sofiyah Ruqayah, whatever makes you cold freezes me 2018 (detail). Image courtesy the artist

Sofiyah Ruqayah, whatever makes you cold freezes me, 2018 (detail 1), watercolour and collage on paper, 233x108cm, two panels.jpg

Sofiyah Ruqayah, whatever makes you cold freezes me 2018 (detail). Image courtesy the artist

Bridie Gillman, BALI STATE OF MIND 2017-2018 2-channel video projection. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann.jpg

Bridie Gillman, BALI STATE OF MIND 2018, filmed in collaboration with Asha Madge, 2-channel projection with sound, 17 minutes. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann

Bridie Gillman, BALI STATE OF MIND 2018 2-channel video projection installation view. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann.jpg

Bridie Gillman, BALI STATE OF MIND 2018, filmed in collaboration with Asha Madge, installation view. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann

Suara Indonesia Dance performing at the exhibition launch, 19 January 2019:

Suara Indonesia Dance, looking here looking north launch 2019. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann2

Images care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann

Suara Indonesia Dance, looking here looking north launch 2019. Image care of Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. Photography by Chantel Bann

 

 

 

 

Curation

Painted narratives

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Advertisements