Woven Kolektif: Kartika Suharto-Martin, Kyati Suharto, Ida Lawrence, Mashara Wachjudy, Bridie Gillman, Sofiyah Ruqayah, Leyla Stevens and Alfira O’Sullivan.
[bah-rah] noun, Indonesian
Bara are the smouldering embers.
Bara can start a fire and are there at the finish of the fire.
Bara keep alive something which can easily be put out, or be lit again.
What do our inner embers tell us? What do we carry within and amongst us? We question where our culture lies — in the heat of the bara, or in the water that puts them out? How do we use the heat of the bara for regeneration and growth?
Woven Kolektif share installation and performances drawing on the concept of bara and its potential to offer healing, belonging and new possibility.
2 March – 28 April 2020 (and online)
Bankstown Arts Centre, Sydney, Australia
Launch & performance: Saturday 7 March 2020, 2:30pm
I have an ongoing fascination with plastic raffia – a ubiquitous material in Indonesia (and many other places too of course) used to tie, support, and carry all sorts of objects and loads. I love its contradictions: a cheap flimsy-feeling string that can fasten a heavy load, how it can be looped and tied in a way that is secure yet also easily untied if you know how. While making this image, I’ve been thinking of times I have been gifted packages wrapped in raffia for easy transportation; taught to tie, crochet, weave and make shapes using string; asked to hold a ribbon with my index finger while loops and bows are formed – and thinking more generally about knowledge, however ordinary, that is learned from people and places, carried inside or by a community, and passed on.
Woven Kolektif, Breathing Room 2019-2020, installation:
On Care, an audio archive from Woven Kolektif and contributors, 2019, text on paper, audio, 41 minutes 21 seconds. Curated and edited by Woven Kolektif. Audio mastering by Tim Bruniges.
Sutures, textile installation, 2019, found fabric, bamboo, natural dyes, ink, lavender oil, blue chamomile oil, ‘Bee Brand’ Minyak Gosok (medicated oil).
tikar (mat), guling (pillows) with handmade covers, krupuk, tiger balm, remedial oils, scent, diffusers, soap, handwritten text, books on care.
Breathing Room is a nurturing environment, inspired by shared and individual experiences of love and loss. Woven Kolektif invites visitors to enter the installation, to rest, listen, use the objects in the space, and reflect on the role of art in the processes of healing and resisting. Breathing Room offers a temporary gathering space for moments of collectivity, care and solace that reflects the Indonesian concept of nongkrong, or ‘spending time together’. Nongkrong can be considered a kind of subversive activity in that it reframes Western based notions of idleness, and instead places value on ‘wasting time’ or ‘hanging out’ as encouraging collectivity and knowledge sharing.
Salak (or snake skin fruit) is a tropical fruit native to Indonesia. Rasa Jiwa is a reference to and reflection on my bi-cultural upbringing; growing up in the mountains of Kaliurang in Java and in Sydney and of my feelings about belonging not quite here nor there.
Inspired by Javanese gamelan music I have moulded sounds from fired clay; essentially tiny particles of stones. I invite visitors to view my ceramic works wearing headphones for deep listening to the sound of stones. Slendro is a sound composition entirely drawn from hand built ceramic vessels, using hand made wooden mallets with additional layered vocals.
This work is a letter to my Javanese grandmother who passed away 10 years ago. I had been thinking of her a lot recently as I was making a new poem work for this exhibition, and I met her in a dream which led me to make this work. Meeting with my grandmother for the first time in ten years reflects on the concept of bara; death, grief, memory and the passing-down of knowledge and tradition.
Mbah putri – grandmother
Mangga – mango
Perkedel jagung – corn fritters
Pisang – bananas
Ayam – chickens
Kampung – village
Visitors are invited to take a copy of the text.
The song used in the performance, Dhukka is based on a poem by Girrirakkikito Mahatera and has been composed for performance by Gondrong Gunarto. ‘Dukkha’ is a Buddhist concept that is translated as pain, suffering, and sorrow.
Images from the online exhibition: