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An opportunity to travel - excellent! I suspect Bali is going to make a lasting impression on my small self like every other country I've explored. I have no expectations of Bali or the program - I have expectations of myself - not knowing any one else on the exchange or their skills sets. Where will my abilities stand among the group, will I keep up or will I be dwarfed by amazing flairs of expression and artistic talent? Am I going to successfully capture this country and its people, the culture and the art?

It will be my first time to Bali and to south east Asia for an extended period of time. I am going to see, experience, wonder, explore, learn and enjoy! My mind is a tangle of ideas - social and political, values and ideals. I hope I can dig my feet into the Balinese sand, tap into the roots of this unfamiliar culture and discover - something new, something inspiring, more of myself, more of the world, nature and nourishment. Maybe discover fragments between how I see the world and how it is. The nature of things - simple beauty versus reality and function.

I want to capture it all - as earnestly and honestly as I can.












Title: Hands
Location: Bali Arts Festival Denpasar
Date: Monday 2 July 2012


Bali has been through a lot from a historical point of view and yet the traditional culture seems to have withstood the murky waters. Moving freely and flowing easily, changing, adapting and assuming the shape of its island and people. Beyond all the changes and outside influences the Balinese have maintained a strong cultural identity. Like the fluidity of water there is an elegance and grace that captures an outsider.   

What do the wrinkles in a hand say - can you read somebody's story by counting or tracing the lines? Age sees changes in a person physically, psychologically and socially. The greatest advice one can hear and appreciate is that a person never stops learning. The physical construct may see a decline but a persons knowledge and wisdom will expand over time. The process of aging is an important attribute to a society it reflects the changes that occur and the cultural and social traditions. 









Title: Shades of Grey
Location: Denpasar
Date: June 2012


"The purpose of all the major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts". Dalai Lama (14th)

The shadow of a pen and hand dance across the page. Scribbling notes. Sketching details. Knowledge is an investigation of what is. Experience is a part of the human. So much to write and record a person can easily try too much to take it all down and forget to take it all in. To watch attentively allows you to learn as much as if the teachings were from written or spoken word. Language should never become a barrier to communication between two people. If there is quiet in the mind and the heart it is easier to listen. If you value less it is easier to see the beauty in the simple nature of things. Through the journey don't forget to appreciate the bland, the ordinary the industrial details. If an object has colour or gold it does not equate to quality.

Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

"Fools", said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you"
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, "The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls"
And whispered in the sounds of silence

The Sound of Silence
Simon and Garfunkel








Title: Detail of Naga Sculpture
Location: Museum Negeri Propinsi Bali
Date: Tuesday 26 June 2012

Theme: STORY

Usually Naga are in a pair either side of a stair or entrance. Their bodies are curved with snakelike scales and their heads often take a human form. They are nature spirits in Balinese culture and act as spiritual protectors of springs, wells and rivers. According to tradition, they only become hostile when provoked by mankind's carelessness in relation to the environment.

The importance of water extends beyond ritual-based worship and is integrated into every aspect of Balinese culture. It influences the organisation of daily life, agricultural practice and religious ceremony. The flow of water from the mountains to the lowlands is responsible for the social hierarchy of ritual and culture as demonstrated in traditional Balinese dance.

A story communicates, connects and engages. To understand the stories is to understand culture; the way one tells a story, the content of a story, the characters and the lessons. The nature here is vivid. Greens are greens. Blues are blues. The sun is sharp and catches on surfaces textured and smooth. Bali's smells dance with the breeze - wafts of food and waste play with my senses. Incense burns. People move and work and wander you can feel the vibration of energies. It's balmy and warm as I watch and listen to the buzz of this island.







Title: Woman
Location: Poppies II Kuta
Date: Thursday 28 June 2012


Wandering through the streets of Kuta and Legian I was pleasantly surprised. Beyond the tourist trampled pavements, curse words and carelessness there is a depth of Balinese culture that still exists and wont be perturbed by the rude and crude. There is a deep connection and satisfaction with nature and culture.

The Balinese can engage every kind of people - seeing them interact with one another and visitors is often amusing. Just watching an expression or simple gesture speaks so many words to me. If you take the time to be still you can feel the energies of laughter reverberating around the island. Balinese humour is good medicine. (and very entertaining!)

Their ability to interact and accept so many different kinds of people is admirable. The warmth of being included makes everyone feel good. And, it is evident that a story can be shared without words in their culture. There is art that captures and illustrates, and movement through dance and body language. Touch is such a powerful sensation and it is an important expression. Like fuel for the body.

Yesterday I embraced a crying woman - a mother, a teacher, a provider... There was so much depth, beauty and wisdom - encircled in my arms. "You understand?" I did.









Title: Lotus
Location: Institute Seni Indonesia Denpasar Jalan Nusa Indah
Date: Thursday 28 June 2012


The lotus flower is strikingly beautiful as it floats at ease on the surface.

You can be overwhelmed by this wonderful country and culture. So much buzz! The rich smells. People and motorbikes - as many motorbikes as there are people. The traffic flows like a swarm of bees.

I joined the swarm from Sanur across to Kuta - it was exhilarating. Cycling past shop fronts and homes; along highways and alleyways. On arrival I had been advised to do what the locals do... they were all wearing helmets. I realised I was not - cycling with the breeze coursing my hair, the sun shining on my nose. I peddled furiously and sweated profusely, all the while concentrating on what was ahead.

Could it be the familiarity of cycling that found me feeling strangely secure - even amidst the crazy traffic, or was it the warmth and inclusiveness radiating from the people?

Life seems lighter here. Uncomplicated. Harmonious.








Title: Afternoon Light
Location: Watering Hole I Jalan Hang Tuah Sanur
Date: Friday 29 June 2012


Travel not only provides an opportunity for experiencing a new environment, people or culture it also provides a person with time for reflection. A time to accept and appreciate life as it is - the good and the bad, the light and the dark.

A state of exhaustion. A moments solitude. An afternoon rest - thinking and wondering. As I lay in the cool I watched the light and patterns play through the curtain. The patterns were just like a freshly pressed and pleated skirt my grandmother would wear. The harsh afternoon light was setting, casting itself into the room. Its intensity was subdued by the semi opaque pattern of the fabric.

In the morning you see things in a different light. Early awakening. Morning dreaming. The light is gentle casting patterns on the ceiling and walls. The morning air is cool. Birds chatter and frolic outside. It is a pleasant way to start the day. Fresh light, fresh perspective - new beginnings.
















Title: Spiral
Date: 3 July
Location: Don Antonio Blanco Renaissance Museum Ubud


"A village, a temple, a family compound, an individual structure - and even a single part of the structure - must all conform to the Balinese concept of cosmic order. It consists of three parts that represent the three worlds of cosmos - swah (the world of gods), bhwah (the world of humans), and bhur (the world of demons). The concept also represents a three-part division of a person: utama (the head), madia (the body) and nista (the legs). The units of measurement used in traditional buildings are directly based on the anatomical dimensions of the head of the household, ensuring harmony between the dwelling and those who live in it. The design is traditionally done by an undagi, a combination architect-priest; it must maintain harmony between god, man and nature under the concept of Tri Hita Karana. If it's not quite right, the universe may fall off balance and no end of misfortune and ill health will visit the community involved". lonely planet: Bali & Lombok, Architecture p.348 

Blanco built his studio on top of a mountain overlooking the Campuan River outside Ubud. The grounds and buildings are as flamboyant and colourful as the artist's paintings. A fusion of Balinese architecture, landscaping and accentuated Spanish designs. The museum is grandiose. His eccentricity is exacerbated by the elaborately designed frames for each piece of work. His technique is often whimsical - delicate lines and sweeping strokes. He does illustrate the female body beautifully. His poetry is of mixed taste and confronting for some. It's the absurdity that makes the maestro's work entertaining and lends itself to a very decadent experience.











Title: Salacca zalacca and Carica papaya
Location: Bambapuang In Enrekang with views of Gunung Nona
Date: Saturday 14 July 2012


(Salacca zalacca) Salak is a species of palm tree native to Indonesia. The reddish-brown scaly pattern on the skin of the fruit has an uncanny resemblance to a snake skin.The fruit grows in clusters at the base of the palm. The taste is usually sweet and acidic. Papaya grows throughout Indonesia and is a staple food source. The most common variety has a sweet red orange flesh. Two fruits. Two worlds. Sweet and bitter. Bitter and sweet.

It could be seen to be rather fitting that the stop we made to take in the views of Gunung Nona (girl mountain) was laden with fruits and delicious treats. Especially if assimilated with mythologies and cosmogonies of the world. The view was magnificent, beautiful and natural. A view worthy of treasuring and nourishing.

"aluk to dolo" way of the ancestors










Title: Young Spectator
Location: Tana Toraja
Date: Monday 16 July 2012


You could take a thousand pictures a day in this place and still not capture every moment, every texture or every expression.

In this instance, I captured a small boy clambering to the highest vantage point to watch the fight between two prized buffalo. Bets are placed and buffalos are backed - a source of entertainment for the community during preparations for a grand funeral ceremony. Family and community collide with colour, chatter, memories and story. The crowd hums with activity. The buffalo graze amongst the construction and hum of the temporary village. Enjoying their final days before becoming objects for sacrifice.

The sound, architecture and attitude of Tana Toraja is rich. It is a culture with an ability to transcend time and outside influences embracing a tradition true to them. To sacrifice little is to gain a lot - a philosophy of Torajan tradition. Sacrifice is a difficult practice to accept having not grown up in a culture that performs such rituals. It is often used as a means of appeasing Gods or changing the course of nature. Usually without waste - it also serves as a social and economic tradition where edible portions of the animals sacrificed are distributed among the community attending the ceremony. Distinctions between caste and class are set aside and all people of the community are cared for. Sacrifice is not just tribal or barbaric it is a thoughtful and united practice.









Title: Torajan Landscape
Location: Tana Toraja Sulawesi
Date: Sunday 15 July 2012


Travel is a privilege granted to so many people in this day and age. It provides a person with the opportunity to experience and expand ones knowledge. It gives insight into our world; its people, culture, architecture, art and the harmony and relationships that exist within. It encourages growth through nourishment, exploration and acceptance. May life provide you with adventure and challenges, success and rewards and be beautiful no matter the obstacles or pain endured.

It is such a wonderful experience to explore another place, another country, another culture. Within one country there can be so many variations and differences between states and regions. Having the opportunity to explore these differences presents you with a well rounded perspective on a culture. The variation in landscape and architecture was immediate travelling from Bali to Sulawesi. There is an earthy rawness and tribal warmth in the atmosphere here. A stronger affiliation with the earth and land? It's difficult not to be consumed by the energy of drum beats and dance and wholesome landscapes.

The green vegetation could be placed anywhere in the world - it's the colourful washing strewn across hedges and trees, balconies and wires that transform an ordinarily green background. The houses also stand in the foreground, the walls are painted with colours of every variety. It's colourful and creative - a Torajan landscape.

It's colourful, confronting and creative - a Torajan culture. Before external influences changed the social landscape of Sulawesi and the regions within Torajans from the highland areas had a very regionalised sense of identity. Within the broader communities of Sulawesi there was a complex web of different dialects, social hierarchies and ritual practices. As a result of Dutch colonisation links between the different regions and communities were strengthened and a sense of ethnic consciousness now expands across the island.