In Her Body Catalogue

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In Her Body


Chapter 01:




A Catalogue for ‘In Her Body’ an Online Exhibition Featuring Naomi Samara 16 October 2020 - 20 November 2020 at Curated by Cakravala Text by Adella Bahar

Photography by Cakravala Naomi Samara Published by Issuu Catalogue Design by Brina Paska Digital Catalogue


Mother 4 (2020)



CURATORIAL STATEMENT Presenting our first solo exhibition with Bali-based artist, Naomi Samara. ‘In Her Body’ will run from 16 October 2020 - 20 November 2020.

The human body is a tangible, mortal aspect of our existence which continues to reproduce and evolve beyond our lifetime. Our bodies have become the social inscription of power and meaning, but to what extent does society blur our perception of it and how well do we know it ourselves? How can we let go of objectifications of our bodies? Guided by Naomi’s mythical figures, this exhibition examines the female body as a physical entity and captures the notion of strength in femineity. The strong sense of narrative infused throughout these bodies of work deeply reflect on the experiences we encounter and the roles we are expected to play. As you flick through these pages, the sensual and intimate nature of Naomi’s female forms drives us to detach from external factors governing our perception of life as a means to connect and come back to ourselves. Projecting internal dialogues into canvas and paper, her work draws attention to process as an exploration into the different facets of human emotion.


Highlighting the imbalance of power between gender roles, the concept of empowerment is nuanced by ‘creatures’ illuminated against a dark backdrop across her canvas works, symbolic of the resilience and hopefulness possessed by women. Naomi builds upon layers of paint swayed by her intuition to create a strong foundation for her female forms. Further captured in the identities of these partial human figures is the transformative nature of our existence. Like an unfinished work, they will continue to morph into changeable forms over time as a metaphor for all the different layers of life, identity and meaning. In her distinctive way, Naomi attempts to redefine what it means to be human through her inquest into the female body. Using the body as a framework, Naomi always begins her brushstrokes by assessing her physical components. The process of dissecting and disassembling her starting point then comes after, helping her to identify underlying feelings and emotions.

Larger than life in scale, the feminine creature portrayed in Mother 4 is her latest assemblage of different mediums surfaced together. Immersing herself in an introspective space, the work interweaves all the ideas and notions that came to mind during its process, which are manifested in progressive coats of charcoal and paint. Depth and intensity make for an evocative piece through her use of dark colours, resulting in a beautifully haunting disposition of the female form and her companion. Naomi’s works appear to ask, where does our strength and power come from? How can this be projected into everything else? Through Mother 1’s enticing gaze, she seeks to question and encourage us to look deep within to find our own answers. ‘In Her Body’ denotes in itself – a process of connecting with one’s soul, of embodying the core power stored within all of us.


Two Heads II (2019)


Snake Mother I (2019)

Two Heads I (2019)


Naomi’s series of paperwork tells a tale of her creatures’ journey through life. Touching upon love; loss; heartbreak; survival; death and everything in between, this narrative connects us through a collective understanding of the stories we all share. The series is an ode to life.


Portrait (2019)


EXPLORING LINKS BETWEEN ARTIST AND CULTURE Tari Bedhaya Originating from Java, Tari Bedhaya is a sacred art form which represents the ethics and values of Javanese culture. For the female performer, it’s about connecting with their mental and emotional body – highlighting the significance of process more than the performance itself. Here we explore the similarities between Naomi’s process and the philosophy of Tari Bedhaya.

There is the saying that ‘Javanese women have to “know it all” (serba bisa)’. Traditionally, women of Java are expected to have the ability to perform different tasks to carry out various roles within the household. This places heavy emphasis on her physical body and presents them with bigger responsibilities to fulfil in comparison to men. Resulting in the objectification of the female body within their social culture, Javanese women must follow strict ethics and morals regarding the way they think, act, speak and dress, which ultimately limits their freedom and makes them subordinate to men. They are further raised to nurture their mental body to cultivate perception, imagination, interpretation and a deep understanding of Javanese cultural values to apply it within their daily lives.

Image taken from Devijanto | Jogja Today | New York Public Library | Rijks Museum


As a form of resistance to challenge their subordinate role, Tari Bedhaya transforms societal expectations into internal power, portraying women as the main symbol for Javanese culture and expression. The sacred art form is primarily an expression of the female body – conveying ideas, notion, hope, power and emotions – which are revived through dance and movement. The strong embodiment of power within Tari Bedhaya is one that is eternally associated with the female form. Beyond their external facade, each performer is trained to use their kinaesthetic senses in which all their muscle memory and body experiences become valued. The dance offers them a sense of ownership and autonomy, anchored by the layers of strength and depth of feeling cultivated within.


Centuries ago, the Bedhaya dance could only be performed within the grounds of the royal court. Despite changes in its limitations over time, the essence of its tradition and methodology has always remained the same to protect its sacredness. Ritual purifications and offerings must be carried out by each dancer, as the Javanese believe that the spirits of past Kings and Queens, specifically that of Ratu Kidul, are present throughout the performance. The image of the Bedhaya performer is viewed as a mystical and enchanting being conceived by both the heavens and the seas, where their bodies are thoroughly explored to have the ability to perform complex movements in a gentle and

fluid manner. Elegant, soft and graceful, the dance is an expression of inner strength and emotion to demonstrate the extent as to how the female body is highly honoured within their culture. The exhibition title foregrounds the similarities between Naomi’s work and the philosophy of Tari Bedhaya, where the connection lies in ‘process’ – the process of going inwards and picking your body apart to truly connect with the soul and intangible part of our existence.


Seated I (2019)


Form 2 (2019)


“I consider my body as a medium. Before I start drawing or painting, I assess and utilise my body to express the feeling and impulse I am trying to get across. It’s about finding that internal dialogue within the self because I believe that there is still so much to discover and uncover within us. Even though it starts with me as an individual, I feel like it’s an extension of everyone else’s experiences.”


Form 4 (2019)


Form 2 (2020)


Form 1 (2020)


NAOMI SAMARA Born and raised in Bali, Naomi is a Javanese descendant whose innate ability to transcribe emotions through art is geared by her strong sense of curiosity and the means to explore various concepts. Being highly influenced by her grandmother, her artistic practice was developed from a young age as it became a vital source and outlet for her to communicate and connect with her surroundings; projecting an idea, feeling or gesture. Upon completing her diploma in Graphic Design and Visual Arts, Naomi moved to Melbourne to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design. Soon after realising that it didn’t align with her true passions, she returned to Bali and began curating independent shows amid her freelancing career as a graphic designer, whilst simultaneously cultivating her works and continually evolving her artistic practice. Working across painting, drawing, writing and jewellery, the process of creating art for her is highly intuitive. Though she continues

to explore different mediums, Naomi has always used her own body as a tool and starting point to translate internal dialogues. She is fascinated by the female body in all its beauty and potentiality, drawing on themes of power and control; heritage and identity; our state of being and transformation, intimately captured within female forms. Naomi’s works are deeply personal to her as her experiences in life are coalesced into overlays of paint, altering some of her creations over time. As an artist, she seeks to become the final ‘courier’ who will continuously acquire tools and knowledge to convey ideas and stories already existing within space and time. Naomi gravitates toward the approach of experiencing art as a multifaceted narrative, demonstrated through her various mediums and modes of expression.



“I really try to tackle the idea of power through my work because it is such a loaded concept. What does it mean to be powerful? I feel like being born and raised in Indonesia as a woman, I have become aware that power comes in a very different form. So I always contemplate on our ability to give birth and to give life. This is something I always try to address because that true sense of core power is sometimes, if not most times, lost in translation.�


Mother 2 (2019)



Mother 1 (2019)


SELECTED EXHIBITIONS AND CURATORIAL PROJECTS 2019 July – Pentimento – A speculative Trace – Group Exhibition – Dia.Lo.Gue. Artspace | Jakarta Indonesia 2016 December – Sex In the Garden – Solo Exhibition – Ghostbird + Swoon | Bali, Indonesia November - Minky Custom Show | Curator – Ghostbird + Swoon | Bali, Indonesia 2015 December – Little Things | Curator and Artist - Biasa Artspace | Bali, Indonesia October – Maternal Skin a Solo Exhibition by Citra Sasmita – Curator – Ghostbird + Swoon | Bali, Indonesia August – Flesh + Flora ; a Solo Exhibition by Resatio Adi Putra – Curator – Ghostbird + Swoon | Bali, Indonesia July – ‘Sacred Realms’ – A charity Exhibition – Curator – Biasa Artspace | Bali, Indonesia May - Exquisite Corpse | Curator Biasa Artspace | Bali, Indonesia February – ‘Everywhere We Go’ – Solo Exhibition by Ryan Mitchel – Curator Biasa Artspace | Bali, Indonesia

2014 November – Portable | Curator – Biasa Artspace | Bali, Indonesia June – Portraits from the Stockroom | Assistant Curator and Artist – Biasa Artspace | Bali, Indonesia 2013 June – Space/ Ruang | Group Exhibition – Curator and Artist | Bali, Indonesia May – SAMPAH | a group Exhibition and charity event – Curator – Swoon Gallery | Bali, Indonesia March – VERTIGO | Group Exhibition – Curator and artist – Swoon Gallery | Bali, Indonesia February – NAO HONDA – Solo Exhibition – as Curator – Swoon Gallery | Bali, Indonesia January – Cataclysm | Group Exhibition - Curator + Artist – Swoon Gallery | Bali, Indonesia 2012 Portraits – Painting Exhibition by Samara Naomi & Salvita Decorte | Salim Gallery | Bali, Indonesia 2010 Blowing Smoke, Group Charity Auction – As Curator – Saka Artspace | Bali, Indonesia





Mother 4 (2020) Mixed media on canvas 140 x 250 cm 31,500,000 IDR


Mother 1 (2019) Mixed media on canvas 122 x 160 cm 23,100,000 IDR


Mother 2 (2019) Mixed media on canvas 122 x 160 cm 23,100,000 IDR


Form 1 (2020) Mixed media on canvas 80 x 100 cm 12,600,000 IDR


Form 2 (2020) Mixed media on canvas 80 x 100 cm 12,600,000 IDR


Form 4 (2019) Acrylic on paper - framed 33.5 x 42 cm 3,570,000 IDR


Two Heads II (2019) Acrylic on paper - framed 33.5 x 42 cm 3,570,000 IDR


Snake Mother I (2019) Acrylic on paper - framed 33.5 x 42 cm 3,570,000 IDR


Two Heads I (2019) Acrylic on paper - framed 33.5 x 42 cm 3,570,000 IDR


Portrait (2019) Acrylic on paper - framed 33.5 x 42 cm 3,570,000 IDR


Seated I (2019) Acrylic on paper - framed 33.5 x 42 cm 3,570,000 IDR


Form 2 (2019) Acrylic on paper - framed 33.5 x 42 cm 3,570,000 IDR




My cage is bigger than yours my love (2017) Acrylic on canvas 80 x 150 cm 26,250,000 IDR


Caressing Space (2018) Acrylic on canvas 80 x 150 cm 23,100,000 IDR


Night Portrait (2020) Acrylic on canvas 50 x 60 cm 6,300,000 IDR


Reclined (2020) Acrylic on canvas 60 x 80 cm 6,300,000 IDR


Here (2020) Acrylic on paper - framed 36 x 46 cm 4,200,000 IDR


Form 3 (2019) Acrylic on paper - framed 33.5 x 42 cm 3,570,000 IDR


Form 2 (2019) Acrylic on paper - framed 33.5 x 42 cm 3,570,000 IDR






ABOUT CAKRAVALA Cakravala is a digital platform showcasing the works of new and emerging artists. Holding solo and group exhibitions, the platform highlights Indonesia’s diverse art and culture scene by representing it through a contemporary narrative. The platform highlights Indonesia’s diverse art and culture scene by representing it through a contemporary narrative. No different than a physical gallery, we aim to traverse the offline to an enriching online experience with a means to nurture the connection between you and our artists, without being restricted by the absence of physical space.

DEFINING CAKRAVALA Cakravala is derived from the Indonesian word ‘Cakrawala’ which translates to ‘the horizon’. The horizon is defined as the line where the surface of the earth and the sky appear to meet - a sight of a line that divides two substances. Cakravala teaches the notion of looking at things from more than a one-dimensional perspective and raising curiosity toward other worlds. Cakravala is the horizon through which people can access and experience a heterogeneity space, making art accessible for younger generations and beyond.


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