As a recipient of a Melbourne University Asialink Grant, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be a resident artist at Kominatus Salihara in Jakarta. My travels started with a stop upon the way at the Threads of Life dye garden and studio to learn traditional Indonesian Batik and plant dying techniques in the Soul of Batik workshop exploring Indonesia’s batik tradition with respected International Batik artists Agus Ismoyo and Nia Fliam from Brahma Tirta Sari studios in Yogjakarta . The Soul of Batik Workshop involved exploring both the processes of natural dyeing and batik .
I had a wonderful few days submerged in dye baths of indigo and mangrove root and only burnt myself a little bit with hot wax starting new projects on paper and fabric to work on in Jakarta.
Upon my arrival at Kominatus, I was warmly welcomed by Enning, Rebecca and Elma and couldn’t help but feel like i was in the right place at the right time, with the opportunity to see the incredible puppet production- Aquavitae: The Sea Dog, by the French Theatre company , Teater Boneka.
A spectacular plea from the sea, the show resonated with with themes close to my heart, namely ocean pollution and the ecological imbalance which is seeing the worlds oceans plagued with unprecedented populations of jellyfish . The story is told beautifully, with puppets made by hand from ghost net and drift wood, along with dance and digital media. I loved the projections in a fish tank and the dancers dressed in plastic bags, beautifully mimicking the movements of my favorite sea creatures. I was overwhelmingly inspired and spent the following day at Kominatus, weaving ( more) jellyfish from fishingline.
And welcome to my new website!!
I want to start my first blog with thanks to the Larrakia people, the first nations custodians of the beautiful country where i live, walk, swim, dance, play, love, run, create, cry and laugh. Over the past 25 years in Darwin, I have found a home, my people, my dog, my children and endless inspiration from the Arafura Sea and it’s captivatingcreatures .
I first met Aunty Bilawara 20 years ago, when she invited me to weave with her and her family at Rapid Creek where she introduced me to her country and ancestors. Many years later we were weaving together again, to make a large public art work, titled Intertwined, a pair of large Bronze Jellyfish situated at East Point, commissioned by the City of Darwin in 2014. At the opening ceremony she held a smoking ceremony, saying-
“Jellyfish totem speaks to us of simplifying our life – that we should go with the flow of the currents and allow things to take their course. She shows us how to rest in the earthly realm and not to rush. We are encouraged to take a walk; get close to nature so you can see the world in a better light. How apt is this wisdom – it fits perfectly with where Aly’s wonderful jellyfish children are located”
I extend my thanks to all the the traditional owners of the many lands I traverse to create, teach and learn, especially the wonderful women at Anindilyakwa Arts with whom i have been blessed to work with since 2015.
I also acknowledge my own ancestors. My grandparents , who left the Netherlands with my father and his three Siblings, boarding a boat from Amsterdam to arrive in Fremantle, Western Australia in 1956. One of my earliest memories was spending hours in my Oma’s garden and green house, cramming flowers and leaves into bottles to produce potions and perfumes .
I am still mixing and making magic and this is a digital diary of my creative adventures . Thank you so much for your interest , I am hoping through this blog I can share ideas, recipes and stories so that you too are inspired .
A creative life is a blessed life.