In Yogyakarta (also referred to as Yogya or Jogja) now. This is my 5th visit here. You can read about my initial experience here.
Two days after Corey left Bali, my good friend Carolyn arrived. Carolyn and I traveled to Tokyo and Indonesia together in 2002 to work on the Sama-sama/Together project and do a collaborative project, Random Acts of Beauty. We also came together to Yogyakarta as part of the Sama-sama/Together project in 2003. This was a collaboration between 6 artists from San Francisco (myself, Carolyn, Aaron Noble, Alicia McCarthy, Carolyn Ryder Cooley, and Andrew Schoultz) and 4 artists from Yogya (Arie Dyanto, Samuel Indratama, Nano Warsono, and Arya Panjalu) - though there were many other artists and collaborators involved as well.
Carolyn joined me this year to visit our friends and help work on the catalogue/book that we're publishing about the Sama-sama project. After spending one day in Bali, we flew to Yogya, arriving to MORE rain! It started pouring the minute we landed and was quite comical as we deplaned on stairs outside and Garuda (again - I can't believe this isn't in MS word spell check) airline workers ran as fast as they could to greet passengers and open up umbrellas for the walk to the terminal.
After getting our luggage, we found a driver to take us to the Prambanan Hotel near the center of Yogya. We were giddy as we drove through Yogya, familiar with the city and anticipating seeing our friends. Part of the fun was that we didn't tell any of them that Carolyn would be joining me.
The first night we settled in and made contact with friends to meet up the next day - Thursday. We also made a shopping trip to Marlioboro Street by becak to get Sim cards for our cell phones to work in Indonesia and to do a little batik shopping. We were very aware of all the new graffiti covering many of the city walls/buildings -feeling a little guilt.
I awoke this morning at 4:30 to the call to prayer and felt a sense of being home - it's always been one of my favorite things about being here. I spent about half an hour meditating and then fell back to sleep until 6:30. I love how everything is already so alive by then - and I have such a different internal clock here - I think partially because of the early chanting.
We then headed over to the becak yard to see if our friend Kuta was around. He wasn't, he was back in his village. However, I did get to see the becaks that I painted in 2004 - they've held up pretty well. Many of the becak drivers at the yard remembered me and began requesting that I also paint their "helicopters." I told them that if they could get me a PKI t-shirt I would (the PKI was the People’s Communist Party in the sixties that was outlawed following the murders of 6 generals). They excitedly agreed, however, I learned later that these t-shirts don't exist. So I guess I'll see what they come up with - though more likely they didn't understand exactly what I was requesting.
Our next mission was to check out the murals that we'd painted to see how they look now, almost three years later. We went by becak over to Jalan Ireda where they're housed, and they looked about the same as they did over a year ago when I visited.
Carolyn's looks like an old mural that was painted in the fifties and mine, an old mural that was painted in the sixties. We ran into several of the neighbors that remembered us from the summer we were painting and they were happy to see us and expressed their appreciation etc.
We met up with our friend Arie at our favorite restaurant/office, Via Via at noon. Our friends Mie, who owns the restaurant and her girlfriend Ingville were also there - and then our friend Nano showed up with a couple of his students from the art school ISI --Great reunion!! Lots to catch up on and plan for the catalogue publication.
Here comes the rain.....
Excerpt from a letter Carolyn wrote to a friend back home:
Just writing from Indonesia..It's pretty amazing here. I had a lay-over in Singapore for five hours. It was in the middle of the night so I didn't get to check out the sights, But they have their shit together. Orchid park in the middle of the airport, Coach store, Prada Store, Beauty Counter with all the creams and lotions from France. A nice mix of people...Chinese, Indian, and Malay's. I really thought of you and how much you would like it there. I think you should come with Vio on your honeymoon. She would flip out.
Megan and I are in Yogyakarta now. Meeting with friends and having beers.The first day we went to check out our murals. Megan's is still looking pretty good, but mine is fading. Looking more like an X-ray. With all the flourescent pink washed out. The black running down the wall, like mascara.The weather and pollution is so intense here that the mural is slowly decomposing. it's like the earth is reclaiming it. Also, Didn't they teach us in art school that flourescent colors are fugitive??
Our favorite mode of transport is the Becak driver. We get carriaged around the city like princesses, with car exhaust blowing in our faces. It's still Monsoon weather, so every afternoon it rains buckets. The rain drops are the size of nickels. We've been taking pictures of interesting signs and graffiti around town. It seems since this Redheaded lady from San Francisco appeared five years ago, the city has taken to graffiti art. Now you can see it all over. They're doing it on the rolltop doors of shops, So you can only see the tags at night when the doors are rolled down. So smart! It's a language just for them. The artists who come out to write at night.
Yesterday, we took a Becak ride around the Sultan's Palace. It's the ancient walled city.Which now houses the old palace , but also its where the middle class families live. We were on our way to buy batiks or just look around. It was threatening to rain, So we asked our driver to take us back. The air smellled like rain, fumes, and fried foods from the nearby bazaar. People would look at us, point to us, or smile. sometimes giving a quick glance at our exposed legs. A few have remarked on our sunglasses. Megan's are Ralph Lauren, Mine are Liz Claiborne.
Anyway, I'm so inspired here. Just having the quiet to allow other thoughts to come in. To read and lounge and talk with friends. It's amazing what could happen when not busying one's self with the noise and freeways, and to-do's of my capitalist lifestyle. okay I thinkyou would like it here. They're doing that layering and transparency thing in some ways. It must be the tropical weather in your veins.