The blue lotus 7

Page 1


Issue 7 Summer 2017

The Blue

Arts Magazine

in this issue Thomas Daquioag JosĂŠ Manuel Cuesta Khor Pei Yeou Abi Dionisio Kartika Affandi Diyano Purwadi 1

Lotus The Blue

Arts Magazine



Summer 2017

Front cover by Abi Dionisio

inside.... 6 Editorial Thoughts on the current issue

by the Founding Editor


7 tips for travelling solo in Phnom Penh Julia Haw

22 Java Travel

34 Thomas Daquioag Philippine artist

44 Borobudur Travel

58 JosĂŠ Manuel Cuesta Cuban artist

68 Aunty Dr Rob Burton

86 Blue Lotus Khor Pei Yeou


The Blue Lotus remains a wholly independent magazine, free from favour and faction.

96 Candi Prambanan Travel 106 Poetry Martin A Bradley

110 Abi Dionisio Artist from Philippines

122 Affandi Museum Yogyakarta

132 Kartika’s Garden Kartika Affandi

146 Diyano Purwadi Javanese artist

160 Eat Java Food


The Blue Lotus Arts Magazine Summer 2017 Editor: Martin A Bradley

email: TBL TM Published June 2017 cover: by Abi Dionisio

Lotus The Blue

Arts Magazine

Welcome to

The Blue Lotus Arts Magazine.

Summer Is Icumen In Sing Cuckoo Although it always Summer here, the real, actual Summer has landed for many across the globe. To celebrate global Summer The Blue Lotus has visited temples on the island of Java, tasted the coffee and visited one premiere Indonesian artist. In this issue there is an exciting travelogue by an American, not in Paris but in Cambodia, and a British expat adventuring in China. There is art from Java, Malaysia, Philippines and from a Cuban artist. What more could you possibly ask for..... The Blue Lotus is a platform for international cooperation, aiming to bring creative Asia to the world, and the creative world to Asia. Now read on

Martin Bradley (Founding Editor) The Blue Lotus Arts Magazine is an entirely free and non-associated publication concerned with bringing Asia to the world, and the world to Asia


Golden Buddhas by Martin Bradley


7 tips

for travelling solo in Phnom Penh by Julia Haw I was stationed in Siem Reap, volunteering with the NGO Colors of Cambodia, for the months of January-April of 2017. It was my second time visiting that beautiful and culturally rich dusty town, but I had yet to visit other areas within Cambodia, including it’s capitol and most populous city, Phnom Penh. I only had three days and nights available to spend there, so I planned to pack in a lot, and I didn’t view the trip as a lighthearted one as I was going, primarily, to delve into the darker historical aspects of Cambodia. For me this was a very important and personal trip, and I recommend that anyone coming to Cambodia for longer than a few weeks spend some time in Phnom Penh to further understand the political underbelly of the country. Below are my top seven rules for travelling solo in this fascinating capitol, but of course most can be applied to groups too. All links to hotels and the interesting places I visited and discovered are noted at the bottom. 1. Don’t be Afraid of the Dark Places (and try to do them first) Phnom Penh houses some of the darkest places you could imagine on the whole of this earth. My primary reason for visiting this noisy, dusty, all-senses engaged city was to see two of these places with my own eyes, the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng (known also as S-21, a primary school converted into a prison by Pol Pot during the horrific reign of the Khmer Rouge in 1975-1979). Before leaving my home base in New 8

Artist and writer Julia Haw


Killing Fields Museum Phnom Penh



Royal Palace

York, I had picked up Cambodian esteemed filmmaker Rithy Pahn’s book “The Elimination,” and while I had known some of the country’s morbid history, I ended up sobbing as I read certain passages so filled with cruelty it was the only natural response. As soon as I arrived in my hotel around 7PM, I asked them to book me a tuk tuk for a full tour the following day, with pickup at 8AM. The full tour includes the Killing fields, S-21, the Russian market, Wat Phnom, the Royal Palace and the National Museum. I made sure to get a full night of rest as I had heard and knew it was going to be a very emotionally taxing day. The reason I suggest visiting the difficult places first is for several reasons: Firstly, so that you don’t have clouds looming over your head, knowing it’s not an easy way to end your trip. Next, because it’s a mistake not to know the history and culture of a particular country while doing extensive or even short travel. And finally, because it would be a shame if your plans got mixed up somehow and you miss the opportunity to see what you need to see. I do the heavy, or “beefy” part of my trips in the beginning, then spend the rest of the time doing more lighthearted activities like shopping or boating. Also, because you’re travelling alone, don’t hesitate to call on a friend for emotional support if you should need, but I highly recommend quiet reflection as much as possible.


Daily life


Royal Palace, another view



Wat Phnom


2. Research Hotels Beforehand Tripadvisor and provide my favourite (mostly) non-biased reviews and complete information regarding lodging. According to what your needs are, stays in Southeast Asia can fluctuate a lot in price, and specifically range in Phnom Penh from $5 for a communal hostel to $215 for complete luxury. I booked a room in The Mou Hotel, which has a rooftop bar with sweeping views of Phnom Penh, wi-fi, air-con, great hospitality, a restaurant and very comfortable beds. This ran me $18/night. Knowing where the safest neighbourhoods are is key, as the locals and travellers alike had informed me Phnom Penh is extremely dangerous, hence why the tuk tuks have iron bars on the sides unlike in Siem Reap. Stick to the city centre and areas along the river when booking accommodations. 3. Proceed with Caution, Eyes and Ears Open. Protect Yourself and Your Belongings. While I pride myself on being open and using my intuition, Phnom Penh is not a city to fully relax in as a traveller. In order to reduce my “visibility” as a tourist (I have blonde hair and stand a good 5’10” tall) I wore large sun-blocking wraparound glasses, a medical mouth and nose mask to keep out dust, a large brimmed straw hat with my hair up, and wore long skirts or pants rather than shorts. When walking anywhere and riding in the tuk tuk I kept my backpack reversed and strapped to the front of me and grasped tightly. I also carried only the money I needed, left my passport at the hotel and didn’t blatantly use my cellphone. If I needed to reference my phone for directions I’d walk near a business with my back facing the street and kept it discreetly held low. If anyone asked if I was travelling alone I told them “No, and my friends will be joining me soon.” Above all, use your intuition. 4. Word of Mouth Paired with Google are Your Best Friends. Especially during a short stay it’s difficult knowing the best sights to see, and which are the most delicious restaurants to dine in. I asked a few friends in Siem Reap first where to go and also spent some time on Tripadvisor. On my first night in Phnom Penh, I discovered Romdeng, a sister restaurant to Marum based in Siem Reap. Many of the students trained in the TREE restaurant group, a global alliance “are former street youth or come from other marginalised and at-risk groups.” I knew my experience would be exceptional, as it was delicious in their Siem Reap restaurant. I enjoyed a few smaller dishes by the pool - a savoury mushroom dish and some crispy sticky rice cakes, but for the more adventurous diners they offer “creepy crawly tarantulas or stir fried red tree ants. After my day long tour on the second day I really wanted to unwind and see the best sunset overlooking Phnom Penh. When I looked for this via Google, to my surprise just a five minute walk away from my hotel was the Eclipse Sky Bar, the first sky bar erected in Phnom Penh four years ago. It sits right in the heart of the city so the views over the buildings and overlooking the Mekong River are simply breathtaking. As the large red sun sank to the West I felt blessed to be alive. On my third day, by way of a friend’s recommendation I also took a trip to Java Cafe & Gallery, a two story cafe in a colonial house overlooking 17

US Dollars dominant currency

Independence monument. It is operated by Dana Langlois and focuses on contemporary Cambodian Art. I enjoyed a yummy pancake breakfast while perusing great artworks before checking out the monument just across the boulevard. As for transportation getting to Phnom Penh, I suggest taking the Giant Ibis bus which was recommended to me by my Khmer friend Phany. It’s a bit more expensive at $15 from Siem Reap for a one way six hour ride, but the seats are comfortable, they pass out Blue Pumpkin Bakery pastries and ice cold waters, and there are outlets at every seat. They also stop several times in interesting places to shop and eat. 5. Allow Room for new Experiences by Remaining Open Try to leave large blocks of time open to simply walk, explore, engage your senses and remain open to unexpected and new experiences. One of my favourite moments was my last day in Phnom Penh before catching the 12:30 bus out. I woke up around 7:30 and headed to a cafe. It was a gorgeous morning and the dusty streets were drenched in morning light. I meandered a bit taking side streets and soaking everything in. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a lone dirty oil painting propped against a cement wall. I popped into the store next door and inquired with the woman if she knew whose it was. She motioned for me to take it! I happily scooped up the painting and when I got back to the hotel gave it a good wipe down, revealing a myriad of unusual colours and tones. If I hadn’t been open, this gift wouldn’t have found it’s way to me! Another night, after I left Eclipse bar I decided to take a walk and discover a new restaurant on my own. I noticed a hotel manager in front of his hotel and he recommended this fantastic local vegetarian restaurant across the street. My apologies for not taking the name down, but it’s simply about letting the universe guide you into interesting experiences! I also found a really great shop walking around the markets and heading into side 18

Caged Songbirds at Wat Phnom

streets. It’s called Space Four Zero and is a Pop Art/Music Emporium run by an American named Anthony Lefferts. The walls are laden with colourful psychedelic prints by artist Julien Poulson (also founder and lead guitarist of the Psych-Rock band The Cambodian Space Project), as well as some one off originals by other artists, and there are rare vinyl records in milk crates.

Independence Monument

6. Go Where the Locals Go and Hang Out for a While This may get a bit uncomfortable. For as social as I am or can be, at times this can be a difficult experience due to the language barriers and all the stares you may get. One of my favourite memories of this trip was on the last night when I decided to get dinner around Mou Hotel. I asked the concierge where a good place was that was still open, but he only told me about two places. I believe he was catering to the fact that I was a tourist and didn’t recommend the “brutally” local places. I discarded his recommendation as I was feeling daring. I had seen a place just south of the hotel that looked lively and interesting. When I walked in most of the diners at some point turned to stare directly at me, as well as the staff. I perused the menu… beef innards, pork, chicken. There wasn’t one vegetarian dish on the menu. I was starting to get flustered. “Should I just walk out?” I started to question my decision. The staff walked over and I explained I was vegetarian. Blank stare. Another staff joined him, then a third. Finally after some conferring they understood what I was requesting. “Oh! ONLY vegetables!” “Yes!,” I exclaimed. This is always an exciting moment for a vegetarian - ha! Since my order was placed and most of the diners returned to drinking beers and forgot about me, I focused on the amazing singers on a small stage at the front of the restaurant. This was the music I’d heard wafting through the streets from my hotel! I was so glad by the end of the meal that I’d gotten over feeling uncomfortable. The staff talked with me and made me feel welcomed and 19

River Sunset

I had a great meal! It was also on this last day that I decided to sit next to the Tonle Sap River leading into the Mighty Mekong. A local woman selling wares struck up a conversation with me and told me “There are beautiful sunset boat rides offered just up the way.” I said “Arkoun!!!” and headed directly there to purchase a ticket for a whopping $5. The boats head out at 5:00PM (or around sunset hour, depending) and are very much worth it as you are treated to a gorgeous sunset overlooking the entirety of Phnom Penh. I advise bringing snacks or a bottle of wine to share with fellow passengers. 7. Trust Your Intuition Bottom line. Your intuition can get you out of trouble, while conversely, avoiding listening to it can get you into deep and potentially dangerous trouble. Although nothing happened on my last night in the late hours, I made sure to tell the hotel staff I was going for a massage (it was 11PM) and would be back in roughly an hour. If ANYTHING at ANY time feels wrong or a bit off, please bail and get to a safe place. Above all, when using your intuition and common sense combined, travelling alone becomes less scary than it is completely freeing and invigorating on so many sensory levels. Enjoy your time in Phnom Penh! Recommendations: Romdeng Space Four Zero Mou Hotel Java Cafe and Gallery Cultural Points of Interest Choeung Ek Genocidal Centre (The Killing Fields) Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (S-1) Wat Phnom The Royal Palace Russian Market / Old Market / Central Market The National Museum of Cambodia 20

River Boat

Phnom Penh Sunset

Wearing bag to front

Julia Haw says of herself... As an artist I personally believe in periods of ingestion or intake. This means I put down the brush and pencil or any act of “doing,� in order to look around me. Walking by this seemingly mundane scene of an air conditioner propped up by two weather worn and rusty Goya cans in Brooklyn one day, caused me to pause in my tracks. What was it.... what was it about this that struck me? Everything is truly political, down to the extremely banal. As creators of anything we cannot extricate ourselves from the social and the political. Stop right now and look at the tag inside your jeans. Then look inside your cupboards. Then find out how your house is luxuriously being heated and cooled. Then jump on Google to do some research. Find out who is clothing your body, who is feeding you, and who is keeping you alive. 21


To quote the great French writer Honoré de Balzac… ‘To get to the point, project yourselves at once across the ocean and the Asian seas, traverse the great spaces on a good sailing brig, and let us come at once to Java, my island of choice’. (Voyage de Paris à Java, 1832) It was not because it was Balzac’s ‘Island of choice’, but because I had an overwhelming desire to visit the great Buddhist site of Borobudur, that I dragged my wife (Malaysian artist Honey Khor) across the Java Sea, to the Indonesian island of Java. We flew from Kuala Lumpur International Airport ((KUL, 2) to Yogyakarta ( JOG), via Airasia, quite unlike Java Man (Homo Erectus Erectus), who decided to take an alternate route and traversed a land bridge called Sundaland, to reach Central Java some long time before Borobudur was built. For some, Java is synonymous with coffee, but we shall get to that. Honey and I landed in Yogyakarta, which is now known as the cultural capital of the island of Java. Yogyakarta has been variously acknowledged as jogya, Djokja, Yokya, Jokya, Juju, Ayogyakèrta, ‘Ng’yug’ya or Yug’ya-kerta, Djojo-Carta and Djokakarta, for your information.


Jamie James Rimbaud

d in Java The Lost Voyage

Four dancers, Sarkiem, Tamina, Sukia and Wakiem, ordinary women from the Javanese village of Wonogiri

I am further persuaded that the name Yogyakarta may have been derived from Sanskrit or, further, from the Indian epic Ramayana, in which Na-yud-ya is mentioned. This is all according to the long departed Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (born 1781 died 1826), of Singapore hotel fame, gin slings and the like. Raffles was one of the many biographers of Java and Indonesia, and was Fellow of the Royal Society and Lieutenant-Governor of British Java from 1811 to 1815. Another source of information is Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore (born in 1856 and died in 1928) and yet another is W. Basil Worsfold (born 1858 and died 1939), should you wish to check. After some two and a half hours of being separated, (this was because I had handled the flight details and forgot to book seats next to each other), we landed at a very unprepossessing Adisutjipto International Airport. We walked, eyes taking in the homely structures and sparse ground crew, from the plane as Indonesia welcomed us with droplets of warm rain. Inside a very small reception area, I immediately began to scrabble in my small yellow bag, made in Cambodia from re-cycled fishing net, and withdrew what I had been led to believe would be the requisite visa payment (US$35). Coming from Malaysia where the currency ranges from low to suicidal, that amount of American Dollars just seemed too much just to be able to enter a country, and spend my hard earned cash there. Never mind, I was finally in Indonesia, and about to see Borobudur


Masjid Sholihin (Sholihin Mosque) Yogyakarta


after 66 years of existence. I looked around inside that small building housing the immigration department. There was a tiny window off to the right, with a young lady wearing a headscarf. She was sitting under a sign, VOA (Visa On Arrival I translated), and dragged my hefty weariness toward that sign, and that towards that young lady. I was still reluctant to part with the better part of MY (Malaysian Ringgit) 140. She smiled. I forced a weak smile back. She asked me how long I intended to stay in Indonesia, I said about a week. She smiled in such a way as to lead me to believe that I was short changing myself by such a brief visit, and then, she said ‘it’s free, no is visa required’. I am not young. My hearing is not all that it should be, so I stood, somewhat stunned, thinking that was not what I had learned on the internet. She assured me that it was correct. Rather than argue further, and have to pay, I gave up while the going was good and accepted my good fortune. A few minutes later I met up with Honey and gave her the good news. We inched towards the Immigration Officers. One kindly immigration officer chopped my passport with no fuss and, amazingly, there I was in Indonesia, well, on the island of Java. We headed into the city of Yogyakarta and towards the hotel that I’d pre-booked, the oddly sounding Hotel Pyrenees. I just couldn’t and, admittedly, still can’t, see the connection. We were transported from the airport in a local taxi and through drearily uncomely streets, to our bright green and white hotel. I had been experiencing a strange feeling of deja vu; of having been there before. Perhaps it was the many signs in the Indonesian language (Bahasa Indonesia), which is akin to Malay, or Yogyakarta’s simultaneous resemblance to the less salubrious districts of Manila, but cleaner and without the dangerously careening jeepneys. During our short trip that deja vu feeling never really left, later I also added Cambodia to that list of similar places. For those of us who have spent a colossal amount of time in the West, Java is a name exotic and mysterious. In America, Java has become synonymous with coffee. That coupling dates back to the days when the Dutch had planted Arabica coffee beans in Java. That island quickly became the second largest supplier of coffee in the world. The first being Brazil. Sadly, in 1876, a fungus called the coffee leaf rust (Hemileia vastatrix) wiped out most of the Arabica coffee plants, leaving Java and Indonesia in a much poorer state. Java eventually replanted its destroyed plantations with the less favourable Robusta beans, but the name Java


Honoré de Balzac Voyage de Paris à Java ( Journey from Paris to Java) 1832

remained. Indonesia (Sumatra, Java, and Sulawesi) now supplies about a third of the world’s coffee. Curiously, and there may not even be a connection, but the young French poet Arthur Rimbaud, on June 10, 1876, at the age of 21 set sail for Java, the very same year as the blight attacked the Javanese coffee plantations. He had enlisted in the Dutch Colonial Army and was transported, on board the Prince of Orange, to Batavia (now known as Jakarta). He had landed on July 22nd, and promptly deserted after two months. Eventually he caught a British ship and was back home in Ardennes, France, with his mother by December 31, 1876. There is no solid evidence that Rimbaud had read Honore de Balzac’s Journey from Paris to Java (1832), but a poet friend of Rimbaud’s had. Some years before Rimbaud had left France, Edgar Allan Poe had written his short story of Java (Manuscript found in a bottle, a tale about Java), published in 1833, and translated into French by Charles Baudelaire, in 1855. Over many years the island of Java been made exotic, not least by colonialists like Sir Stanford Raffles. Over time it has been remythologised, made part of many lewd and lurid Western narratives concerning the exotic and erotic romanticism. In 1889, at the Dutch East Indies pavilion of the Parisian Exposition Universelle (Universal Exposition) four dancers, Sarkiem, Tamina, Sukia and Wakiem, ordinary women from the Javanese village of Wonogiri, had danced for their country. If they had been Parisian women, Paris would have been scandalised at their showing of naked skin on their arms, shoulders and calves (as depicted both in photographs taken at the time). It was not enough that these young women were eroticised as female Javanese dancers, but in Paris they had to be seen as being tempting, alluring princesses (of the Manjunegaran kingdom) to enhance the myth and mysticism enveloping that far distant island of Java. Within the six months they were in Paris, those dancers became chic, preparing future Parisian audiences for yet more exotic harmonies from 26

The History of Java – Sir Th

Visit Java, 1930s - original vinta

Thomas Stamford Raffles (1830)

age poster by Druk G. Kollf & Co

Ink Spots, Java Jive" recorded Jul 16, 1940 Decca Records

composers like Claude Debussy who, in a letter written to the poet Pierre Louÿsin (1895), mentioned “Do you not remember the Javanese music, able to express every shade of meaning, even unmentionable shades, and which makes our tonic and dominant seem like ghosts?” But that is not all. Between 1924 and 1925 the Polish-American pianist and composer, Leopold Godowsky, after a sojourn in the East and a visit to Java, wrote his Java Suite for piano. The suite is composed of twelve movements, ranging from the spiritually evocative, and tinkling delicacy of Borobudur in Moonlight, to the grandiose, cascading, melody of In the Streets of Old Batavia. This is made even more enticing when listening to Esther Budiardjo’s renditions, for she was born in Jakarta, on the island of Java. As the century moved on, musicians and singers continued to make the Indonesian island of Java exotic. Java Jive, was written by the New York composers Ben Oakland and Milton Drake, and originally recorded in 1940 by the Ink Spots. The song is about coffee, rather than the island, while some years later, a now famous rendition of a very different jazz tune - Java, by Al Hirt, was originally written in 1958 by Allen Toussaint and Danny Kessler, from New Orleans which, one might think, was quite possibly about the island and not the coffee. However, Kessler was a race track fan. The tune was, like many of his tunes, named after Java, the racehorse. At least two other racehorses had been named Java - Java Gold and Java Joe. In 1977, the now late Rick Danko, of Bob Dylan’s former back group (known as The Band), solo recorded Java Blues, not about the island or about the racehorse, but about coffee, while one black American entertainer, self titled Sir Lady Java, was an African American transgendered dancer. She was also an activist and female impersonator, popular in the 1950s and 60s. One could only guess the relationship between coffee, an island, and his/her flamboyant character. Film makers too have fed into the lure of Java as exotica. Films featuring Java include Lily van Java (1928), Wild Orchids (1929) featuring Greta 27

Garbo, Java Head with Anna May Wong (1934), Fair Wind to Java with Fred McMurray, Krakatoa East of Java (1969, with Maximilian Schell) and Java Heat with Mickey Rourke (2013). Fictional books concerning Java, from which many of the above films came, include Honore de Balzac’s Journey from Paris to Java, Jewel of the Java Sea by Dan Cushman, Alistair Maclean’s South by Java Head, Java Strip Joy Girl by Bill S.Ballinger, Java Spider by British author Geoffrey Archer and, of course, Rimbaud in Java by Jamie James, which is more about Rimbaud than it is about Java . Various lurid short stories, including Java Quest by Frank Roberts, fed off that erotically charged, exotic, orient. So there we were, all anxious to get out and about. We quickly showered and took ourselves off to the street which appeared to be a central attraction in Yogyakarta - Jalan Malioboro (Marlborough Street, named after the Duke of Marlborough). No sooner had we turned the corner from Jalan Sosrowijayan, into Jalan Malioboro, than an enthusiastic gentleman waylaid us, wanting to show us his batik, not etchings. He was most insistent, telling us that it was the last day of the show, and that he had batik from all around Java. The show was, apparently, touring and would disappear to another venue, in a different part of Java, the next day. So there was a sense of urgency, for us to catch this incredible sight before it left, for we would be most disappointed once it did. As the ‘gallery’ was along the same road we were walking, we followed. True enough there were batik works in the gallery. We were a little tired and resisted the pressure to purchase. The purveyor was not happy. We were sad that we would be unable to see the works properly the next day, when we were not so tired, and we accepted that. So, it was with some surprise to see the same gentleman, the next day, saying the self same things to other tourists, for and subsequent days during our stay there. He re-approached us, then realised he had seen us the day before. I reminded him of this, and walked on. Later, we took a look at Tripadvisor which warns of this scam. Helpful travellers have spoken of the very same Jalan Malioboro batik scheme since 2015.


In Yogyakarta rickshaws are known as becaks



Indonesian Batik


one woman

Every so often a book appears that reveals and illuminates a project that might otherwise remain largely unknown by the outside world: ‘Colors of Cambodia’ is such a book. This is a highly personal and passionate account written by Martin Bradley and illustrated by Pei Yeou Bradley of her encounter with a remarkable art-based project in and around Siem Reap in Cambodia, and how she was drawn into practical involvement with the children for whom the project exists. The book shows how a small NGO run by William Gentry in Siem Reap has been able to reach out to children in local schools, some in areas of great poverty, through the medium of art, and to give them hope for the future in a country that has suffered so much. The children and their families who are drawn into the project prove how art can cross all borders of language and culture. The book also tells of how Malaysian children and their parents have been encouraged to support the project and to become involved with the children and their work.

This is a highly personal and passionate account written by Martin B remarkable art-based project in and around Siem Reap in Cambodia, for whom the 32

n’s journey

And there is the additional touch of magic as Pei Yeou and Martin tell of their meeting and of how he too was drawn into the story, and contributes to it, and of how it changed his life. His sensitive words and poetry add another colour to this unique book In a world in which the news is bad more often than not, this inspirational book tells a story of optimism and success, and of how dreams can become true. Richard Noyce, Artist and Writer, Wales, July 2012


Bradley and illustrated by Pei Yeou Bradley of her encounter with a , and how she was drawn into practical involvement with the children project exists. 33

Thomas Daquioag

Invincible 1

Thomas Daquioag graduated in 1994 with a degree in Painting from the University of Santo Tomas. After his first solo show was mounted in the Cultural Centre of the Philippines, he became a recipient of the Dharmasiswa Arts and Culture Studies Grant in Bali, Indonesia, and the Asian Artist Freeman Fellowship of the Vermont Studio Centre in Vermont, USA. He has exhibited his works in New York, Beijing, Korea Singapore, Nagoya and in 2013 he participated in ASEAN Exhibition in Jakarta Indonesia as Philippine representative while participating in a group shows in Manila. Daquioag is also an experienced Art Educator, well-travelled performance artist and art competition veteran with several awards under his utility belt. He lives in Bangkal , Makati City.



He says ‘I work on the areas between the reality and fantasy of life as imitated in art as I glorify the Filipino workers by visually comparing them with superheroes, considering the amount of risk and daring that they put into endeavours as they risk their lives in everyday struggles. My works are Contemporary Figurative, Mostly associated on social realism style and pop culture globalization.’



Crony I (detail)


Crony 2


Crony I


Crony 2(detail)



Dialogue I




“Having smiled the requisite photogra draped around necessary spouse, we eve and began the winding pathway, which w and to the It had been a very long time since I had first wanted to visit Borobudur. Perhaps half my life. Long before I had heard of that Asian fascination which is Angkor Wat, the idea of Borobudur was there, holding me, spellbound in its oriental mysticism. Until recently I had no clear idea where Borobudur was, only that it was somewhere in Indonesia, sister country to Malaysia. For long I prevaricated, should I stay or should I go, The Clash’s lyrics bouncing around in my head. Years I had spent thinking, considering, wondering. And yet, from somewhere, I had found time and energy to visit Stonehenge, Wiltshire, in England, the Taj Mahal, Agra, in India, and Angkor Wat, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia, but it was only, finally, this year that travel plans were formulated to actually go to see Borobudur. Eventually I was set to see that great stone mandala (a geometric figure representing the universe in Hindu and Buddhist symbolism) just outside of Yogyakarta, in that island grouping known as Indonesia, and it was only two and half hours away by plane. Through a friend, a guide had been recommended. He was someone whom she had hired to take a school party around Yogyakarta area, only 44

aph smiles, with equally requisite arm entually abandoned that lengthy signage was to lead us through a well kept park, e temple.”


recently. On arrival in Yogyakarta we bought the local SIM card for our hand phones, then we had contacted him, explaining that we wanted to see both Borobudur (Buddhist) and Prambanan (Hindu) candi (temple) complexes on the same day. A dual (package) ticket was available, slightly cheaper (US$ 32) than paying for a ticket for each venue. We, like most people, had limited days available to encompass all that we wished to do on such a short trip. Through mixed emotions and attention to our task, my perception was that those days minutes and hours in Indonesia were tumbling so quickly down hill, and were racing the nearer we got to the end of our five day. Though, true enough, there had been some moments of calm reflection, such as when we were in Kartika Affandi’s garden soothed by its ambiance, or at her diner table being amazed at the fare Kartika’s daughter had prepared, or there again watching puddles of rain reflect lights on cobblestones the very evening of our arrival in Yogyakarta. Despite those very rich moments, the days had seemed compact. That warm Thursday morning in March held a hint of rain. The drive through the waking city and out into the Javanese countryside, was 45

pleasant enough. My chest was filled with a bubble of expectation. Honey had been there before, so she was not as keyed up as I was. I had the thought, reverberating through my mind - at last, Borobudur, astounding. City streets soon gave way to fields of ripening rice padi. The veneer of modernity, of twenty-first century living was stripped away with each kilometre we travelled, each line banana of trees that we encountered. Once parked, there was an obligatory trek, about twenty minutes, through a meandering tree-lined avenue filled with, mostly local, tourists. There were amateur adventurers hiking along and some quite imposing elephants, their ivories clipped so they didn’t spear visitors. Before we began, there was the quite necessary photo opportunity by a sign proclaiming BOROBUDUR (in capital letters), reminiscent of the Mount Lee HOLLYWOOD sign, Los Angeles, California, but much, much smaller. Of course we had to await our turn amongst the seriously amateur photographers with their weighty, and expensive, lenses and people more like ourselves, with cameras in our smart phones. Having smiled the requisite photograph smiles, with equally requisite arm draped around necessary spouse, we eventually abandoned that lengthy signage and began the winding pathway, which was to lead us through a well kept park, and to the temple. As we walked there were tantalising glimpses of the temple peeking out through, or over, the leafy trees. Mahouts in blue rode in rattan howdahs upon brown small eared elephants, heading heaven knows where, or why. Maybe it was just to give the tourists some ancient ambience, though I would have thought that Borobudur temple itself might do that. The sun was making its equatorial presence felt as blue skies delivered small wisps of white cloud, just enough to seem romantic, if you're not bothered about sweating that is. And then we were there. We were finally confronting that candi mandala structure of Borobudur, believed to have been designed by the architect, poet and general thinker, Gunadharma, and built between the 8th and 9th centuries. We are informed that from above, the structure forms a three dimensional mandala, somewhat resembling a pyramid. Each layer has relief carvings of the Buddha’s life, stories of Buddhism, Buddha’s teachings (Dharma) and scriptures (sutras), not to mention countless sculptures of the Buddha too, some in better repair than others. Some of the stair pathways are steep and narrow, wide enough for just a single climber. Some congestion does occur, especially when teens forget their manners and rush dangerously past. It is an effort, which to some extent is worth the anticipation and the effort to climb the various layers until the uppermost layer is reached. But, I have to say, there is little of the sheer overwhelming spiritual feeling that accompanies places like Angkor Wat, the splendid majesty of the Taj Mahal, or the connections felt from the ancient Ley lines at Stonehenge. Borobudur is interesting, but it did seem much smaller that I had anticipated. Perhaps it was me, and all those years of my expectations, but it all seemed, somehow, a little less. Another explanation, regarding the distinct lack of spiritual feeling, may have hailed from Borobudur’s initial reconstruction, between 1907 AD and 1911 AD, entrusted to one Theodoor van Erp after centuries of


Entertaining elephants





Bas relief


For long I prevaricated, should I stay or should I go, The Clash’s lyrics bouncing around in my head. Years I had spent thinking, considering, wondering. And yet, from somewhere, I had found time and energy to visit Stonehenge, Wiltshire, in England, the Taj Mahal, Agra, in India, and Angkor Wat, Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia, but it was only, finally, this year that travel plans were formulated to actually go to see Borobudur.

“ 51

Stunning views



Carvings worn over time


Carving detail

the site’s decay, then the re-re-construction between 1975 AD and 1984 AD, when UNESCO stepped in to preserve the structure. Two thirds have been added onto the devastated site originally found by the British Lieutenant Governor, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, in 1814. Maybe, just maybe all the reconstructions have taken the mystique from the temple site, leaving the physicality of stones, carvings etc, but has denude that structure of any real spiritual connection. Leaving the structure of temple Borobudur, we were had to run the gauntlet of insistent and persistent small holders trying to sell their wares. While I wish them well, after some hours of climbing in the hot sun, being tired, worn out in some cases, the very last thing you need is rampant consumerism. We stopped at only one stall, on the fringe of the selling madness, and that was to buy coconut water to replenish both thirst and energy. Having located our driver, we drove on………


Golden P

A spiritual sketch journey across South East Asia, r

Angkor Wat Bagan, Bo Bujang Vall

Ten Artists and Tw on a mystical journe

We are seeking interested to self-fund and join us into remembrance of the glory of helping to bring awareness of civilisat

contact: Honey Kh Organisers: Zhe Xuan Fine Art Gallery; Ever co-organiser: Art 56


re-discovering ancient Buddhist monuments

t, Ayutthaya orobudur ley, Champa

wo Art Historians ey to self-discovery

d artists and art historians on a sketching journey South East Asia’s ancient temples tions once existing within the region

hor at 012 606 9210 Day Art Studio and The Blue Lotus magazine t Specialist Centre 57

JosĂŠ Manuel Cuesta JosĂŠ Manuel Cuesta currently lives in Miami, Florida, USA, but comes from Cienfuegos in Cuba. He had graduated from the Academia de artes San Alejandro, in 1978 and paints in a soft, organic, surreal manner with hints of Hieronymus Bosch (flora) and Max Ernst (The Nympth Echo, Gyspy Rose Lee).





In the process


Oculta en el bosque



Extreme philosophy of death




Someone wanted to fish




Ventanas dimensionales


Aunty by Dr Rob Burton

Arthur’s Chinese wife Yan comes from Anhui province, which is the next province south from Jiangsu, the province in which Nanjing sits. She was currently staying with her parents in the mountains at a place called Beizhongzhen. So with Arthur, I boarded a coach for the eight-hour trip and then the four-hour minibus drive into the mountains. China is big and distances are huge. The idea of eight hours on a Chinese coach was quite daunting. My main worry was being forced to use the squat toilets en-route at the way stations. I am not a fan of the squat toilet going out of my way not to use them. I had pretty much trained my body to do its business in the morning before I leave the comfort of my apartments western style toilet. Western style toilets are few and far between and I am one hundred per cent certain they will not have them in the village or anywhere else we were going to in the next few days. As it was holiday time there was the constant background of fireworks exploding to ward off evil dragons. They were going off at six a.m. continuing on and off through out the day we travelled. Our luck remained with us. Dragons did not waylay us as we caught the eight thirty a.m. coach to a city called Taihu where we would get the taxi onwards to the mountains. The coach left from Nanjing Nan, or Nanjing South Railway Station, which is the largest station in Asia, and the worlds second largest railway station. The coach was full, every seat taken. We set off on time but soon the driver was pulling over. We stopped so that the driver could take on more ‘cash’ passengers who sat on little plastic stools in the aisle – this was the driver’s bonus. It wasn’t long before we had left the city behind. We crossed the mighty Yangtze River and were soon travelling through the countryside. It was a thrill to be out of the city for the first time seeing the ‘real’ 68

Aunty at her door Beizhongzen


Street boys Beizhongzen


China. I stared out of the window to see the first rice paddies, some with water buffalo or yaks wading about with the obligatory white bird on their shoulders. Peasants with conical straw hats were working the fields by hand, their huts and homes were clearly old and dilapidated by our standards. This was in stark contrast with the areas we passed being used as economic development areas where huge expansions of modern buildings necessitated the destruction of the traditional local communities. Huge skyscraper flats, and massive factories covered acres of land mostly standing empty awaiting tenants, workers and entrepreneurs. There seems to be a ‘build it and they will come’ mentality. We arrived in Taihu in the early afternoon. The bus had stopped on the outskirts somewhere to let someone off. Some Chinese guy jumped on the bus shouting - all eyes turned to us. He came up the aisle still shouting. It turned out he was our taxi driver, organised by Arthur’s wife. So we had to jump up hustling our arses off the bus, and into the awaiting minibus. The minibus was a sort of a Honda/Suzuki Chinese knock off that had seen some hard miles on the mountain roads. We weren’t sure about it hoping for something a bit more roadworthy, but we kicked the tyres a bit and were soon speeding through the city streets. It turned out we were not the only passengers in the small minibus. More people were picked up so there was three of us in the back, three in the middle (plus a babe in arms) and three in the front, including the driver, two girls shared the front seat. It was a bit of a squash. The drive into the mountains was spectacular. The two lane road snakes up and up and up, past paddy fields, precipitous drops, lakes, spectacular views, chickens crossing the road, rice drying outside buildings, river



Aunties bed Beizhongzen


valleys, tobacco drying on lines, cotton fields, people sitting and watching, peasants working their small fields, vegetables growing on the verges, every inch of land is being used to grow, the hillsides are covered in ancient terraces, climbing the slopes like huge giant staircases. Amongst the ancient farm buildings, new build is going on apace, they are building new houses. Arthur tells us that you don’t need planning permission here in the outback you just find somewhere to build and build what you want. The state owns the land but the people are free to build on it, there are no planning or building regulations to comply with. Many of the houses look pretty nice so money must be being earned somewhere. Arthur reckoned that to build a house would cost something like two hundred thousand yuan, which was about twenty thousand pounds. The downside of this Wild West building was that if the Government requires the land back they come and bulldoze you off it. The ride up the twisty mountain track seemed to be interminable. We had to make one or two pee stops but mainly it was because most of us were succumbing to motion sickness as we twisted and turned ever upwards. Soon enough, with aching butts from all that jolting and sitting on the well-worn springs of the minibus, we arrived at Beizhongzhen. The family welcomed us handsomely. Yan was there; she introduced us to her dad who she said was a town leader. Their home was a storefront with rooms above. He sells motorcycles on the side and was also pig farmer. There was a big commotion at having foreigners in town, all the kids came running to stare at us, from a safe distance, just in case we bite. The neighbours came looking and within minutes we were shaking hands with someone who spoke quite good English. He introduced his three


Working hard Beizhongzen



Xia and aunty in the main room



The kitchen Beizhongzen




mates that had turned up. We had been in the village for no more than about five minutes. Although this guy called them his ‘mates’ they were all in police uniform. It was all a bit suspicious but we shook hands anyway and smiled, we said ‘Ni Hao’ (Hello), they said ‘Papers.’ Fortunately, we knew that when travelling we needed to have our passports with us so we showed the cops our papers. They smiled; nodding as they leafed through them, probably the first time they had ever seen a foreign passport, and really not knowing what they were looking for. They disappeared, apparently satisfied. Drinks were served; food was put on the table. We were watched by the townspeople like living exhibits in a museum. Living in China is quite a public affair. Most of the houses have large double doors that are left open so one can see right into the living spaces. These are usually spartan and utilitarian spaces, a table, chairs, a settee, a TV and not much more. Even in the mountains there is no AC and no heating, when it gets cold one just puts on more clothing - the doors stay open. The children got lollipops, and the ‘policeman’ for that is what he was, tried to get us all drunk on baijiu, the Chinese vodka type of drink which is not far off pure diesel. Fortunately mine got ‘accidentally’ spilt. Twenty years ago this guy would have been the town informer for the Party. When I asked Arthur who the hell he was, as he was eating with us, he didn’t know, but we all knew he was a cop. The hotel was just down the road. All my prayers to Saint Thomas of Crapper were answered; the rooms had western style toilets. It was a new build so it was actually very nice, considering we were up in the mountains, four hours from the nearest small city. The setting was spectacular; all around us green mountains soared into the blue sky as the sunshine sparkled prettily off the river. It was as idyllic a scene as ever


Soft top transport....

one would want. The next morning we were provided with a car to take us further up into the mountains to visit a temple, up and up we went further into the mountains and then even further up on dirt roads. When we eventually got there, the place took my breath away. It was simply fantastic. The views over the valley were spectacular. The modest temple was quite beautiful in its simplicity. We paid our respects to the golden Buddha, meeting with a monk who told us that we were only the second foreigners ever to visit the temple. We stayed there a long time enjoying the peace and serenity. I have to say I found it a hugely emotional experience. The temple, the location, the views affected me immensely. I got a bit emotional a few times. It was one of the best places I have ever been in all my travels. It was like the mythical Shangri La - mystical, set in a harmonious valley, gently guided from a temple such as this. I would have loved to have stayed there longer, or to live closer to the place, so that I could visit it on a regular basis – maybe I should have stayed and taken the vows? Too soon we had to leave, as the next stop on our trip was a visit with Yan’s aunty who lived in the house where Yan was bought up. We travelled onwards, up and down more hills, more dirt roads, and more mighty views. Yan’s aunty was a wizened woman of interminable age. She was about four foot tall still working her field when we got there. She seemed to be unfazed at this group of foreigners coming to meet her. She gave us all a big gap toothed smile. Her single storey home was built on a terrace 82

tucked into the mountainside and seemed like it had been there forever. This was the real China. This was not like where I lived. Nanjing is no more than a strange bubble that bears no relation to what China is really like. When we sit outside the Blue Marlin we could be in any city in the world drinking Carlsberg beer and eating French fries. Here, in the real China, you have to work to stay alive. The house has no heating, no running water, no inside toilet and a basic kitchen. She welcomed us into her home - just four rooms under a tiled roof. The walls were un-plastered they had once been white a long, long, time ago. There was no ceiling, just the blackened joists holding the tiles on the roof. A single light bulb hung low over a wooden rough wooden table in the centre of the main room, two country style bench seats neatly placed either side. At the back of the room stood a long wooden sideboard, the four doors and drawer fronts beautifully painted in bright colours. I would imagine it was the sort of thing one would see in a posh trendy antique shop in Knightsbridge, London with a large price tag dangling off it. In Aunties bedroom there was a short four-poster bed, again beautifully painted in the country style. A couple of wooden chairs stood against the white washed wall. The kitchen, if one could call it that, was no more than two tiled working surfaces and a wood-fired range for the wok. The other room was clearly unused but still had the rather dilapidated, but still nicely decorated four-poster bed, where Yan’s parents once slept. The bursting straw mattress witness to the hard life these people lived. Yan took great pleasure in sitting at the table, showing us the view she had as she ate her breakfast before school, of the conical mountain in the far distance. We never knew Yan’s aunties name. We were up early the next day to catch the minibus back down the mountain. This time we had insisted that we had a minibus to ourselves as the trip up was a bit of a squash. The trip downhill was pretty uneventful, but there was still lots to see in terms of the views across the valleys and as we went through the small towns and villages that were just waking up. People were eating their breakfasts outside their houses, brushing their teeth, washing their hair, trudging off to work with tools over their shoulders. The street butchers had new cuts of meat on their counters, Arthur told us that if we were earlier we would have seen them slaughtering the pigs in the gutter ready for the days fresh supply. Outside many of the houses, shops and buildings, golden coloured rice was laid out drying on the concrete slabs. We also saw soya and cotton drying in the hot October sun. We passed a chopstick factory with wigwams of one metre long sticks drying outside. Other houses were festooned with drying tobacco - it was clearly harvest time in the mountains. On the mountain roads rice fronds were laid in the road for passing vehicles to thresh. All too soon the road levelled out. We boarded a coach soon to be speeding back to the big city and the 21st century lives we enjoyed. I slept most of the way back. How quickly we become inured to the sights that once astonished us. And back in the mountains, life carried on as before. Xia's aunty Beizhongzen


The Adve


“This erotilogue will show you a China hidden from the tourist”

in Ch

In his late fifties Doctor X realised that he was in the ‘death zone,’ and didn’t want to go out feet up, sitting in front of the TV in the UK – he wanted to continue to live a life. Journey with him on his five-year love and hate affair with China, seeking out a new life, and enjoying strange encounters - boldly going where no English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher has gone before. Doctor X gives us his unexpurgated insight into an ESL teacher’s life in China. What it’s really like in the high schools of China. He outs the unprofessional, and drunken behaviour of the riff raff that wash up professing to be teachers but are really professional bar flies. He also provides crucial hints, and tips for the new teacher thinking about giving China a go. He writes frankly about his relationship with some of the women that were just ships that passed in the night. From Little Yellow, and the ladyboys of Bangkok to meeting E - his eventual life partner. This erotilogue will show you a China hidden from the tourist – the bathhouses, and the pink curtained massage parlours. Doctor X does not regret one moment of it - it has been an experience worth living – one moment close to death, the next in the arms of random women. 84

entures of



...and to think Doctor X could be back home in Britain stacking shelves in Tesco

find this book on Amazon HERE

ISBN-13: 978-1999721510 ISBN-10: 1999721519 85

Khor Pei Yeou

BLUE LOTUS Since graduating from the Malaysian Institute of Art, Khor has steadily progressed to become an International artist who, nevertheless, continues to reveal her spiritual side. The works here are a re-visiting of her floral themes, but now with depth, mysticism and an artistry gleaned from her years of travel and practice. In this showing Khor investigates the mysterious nature of the enigmatic blue lotus, a flower steeped in


Lotus 1


Lotus 2


symbolism since the days of the ancient Egyptians. She captures the notions of rebirth, as well as the flower’s aphrodisiac and hallucinogenic qualities. The lotus has been sacred in many of the world’s religions, including within India and Egypt, where it the lotus is a symbol of the Universe itself. Having its beginning in mud, the lotus rises to flower, symbolising purity and resurrection. Its leaves and flowers are held above water. Symbolising enlightenment. The blue lotus when connected to Egypt has


an association with the Sun, of creation and rebirth. It has been used in Egyptian medicine too, as a sweetener for wine and known to have both narcotic and aphrodisiac properties. The sacred blue lotus was the flower most commonly used. The one most depicted in the Egyptian hieroglyphs. The Egyptian Book of the Dead talks of "transforming oneself into a lotus" and fulfilling the promise of resurrection. In Buddhism the blue lotus denotes a victory over the self, becoming


Lotus 3


Lotus 4


open to spirituality. In Buddhist art the blue lotus flower is partially open. It is the preferred flower of Mañjuśrī (Gentle Glory), known as the bodhisattva of wisdom,the enlightened bodhisattva transcended wisdom. The Blue Lotus Flower or Nymphaea Caerulea is known as the Sacred Lotus Flower in China, Japan, Bali and various other Asian countries. They respect this flower for its multiple different


symbolisms which include: Being victorious over selfish attachments. Showing love and compassion for all things, living or non-living. Rising above the suffering of humans. Purity of wisdom. Patience with yourself, others and life’s greatest lessons. Being aware of one’s true self. Experiencing contact directly to the spiritual realm. Various stages enlightenment.



Lotus 5


Candi Pra

9th-century Hindu



u temple compound


Bas relief from temples dedicated to animals

Between Borobudur and Prambanan candi, we noticed the green shoots of growing padi everywhere. They were tended by be-hatted women, squatting. The recent rains had watered those long troughs, and there was more rain to come. Our dual tickets got us past the ticket counter, through the gate and into the park area surrounding Prambanan candi (850 AD approx), which is a hundred years younger than Borobudur (750 AD approx). It was a nondescript park, with a stubble of grass recently greened by the rains. Although there were people, the area gave an altogether different feeling from Borobudur, slower, calmer and perhaps a tad more spiritual too. According to UNESCO Prambanan Temple Compounds consist of Prambanan Temple (also called Loro Jonggrang), Sewu Temple, Bubrah Temple and Lumbung Temple. Prambanan Temple itself is a complex consisting of 240 temples. All the mentioned temples form the Prambanan Archaeological Park and were built during the heyday of Sailendra’s powerful dynasty in Java in the 8th century AD. These compounds are located on the border between the two provinces of Yogyakarta and Central Java on Java Island.’ While the temples compound gather original temples built between 8th and 9th centuries AD, there are the remnants of later temples, collapsed


Bas relief from temples dedicated to animals

by an earthquake somewhere in the 11th century and a later one in 2006. These remains were re-discovered in the 17th century AD and the British surveyor Collin Mackenzie chanced upon them during the early 19th century. Restoration has continued since 1918. Prambanan was the royal temple complex of Central Java, and the Javanese Hindu/Buddhist Mataram kingdom founded in 732 AD. Three of the temples are the largest in Indonesia, and dedicated to Shiva. They have relief carvings of the Ramayana. Three other temples are dedicated to the animals who serve Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. I was grateful that, unlike Borobudur, there was little climbing to do. We approached the Hindu temples at a stroll, recognising their innate Indian designs, again unlike the structures at Borobudur. There was a sadness, however, that there were still many temples laying in ruins beset with lichen, some blackened, their reconstruction abandoned. With the threat of more rain, the day was a little cooler. We wandered around the temples marvelling at the stone reliefs. The compound was neat, tidy. There was little, if any, rubbish and a few leafy trees with benches thoughtfully provided beneath. All in all, there was the contemplative

atmosphere at Prambanan that was missing at Borobudur until, that is, the local school, which seemingly had their sports field adjacent to the 99

temple complex, began to shout out sports day related instructions and congratulation at the top of their Indonesian voices from a tannoy system. To say that it was intrusive would be to say that lions squeak. The do not, and the tannoy was intrusive. Those very loud sounds completely destroyed the atmosphere of the beautiful Hindu temple complex. Who ever decided to allow a school sports field anywhere near such a temple complex needs their head testing. Our calm contemplation was shot. We endured as much as we could of the noise but, eventually, enough was enough and sadly we had to leave to preserve our sanity. A trickle of rain accompanied our exit.


Stunning stupas


Relief at Prambanan temple compound


Relief at Prambanan temple compound



Relief at Prambanan temple compound


poetry martin a bradley

Rimbaudian And so Rimbaudian I sit in my beloved Orient Benedictine My comfort lonely nights Sultry days My curse Loneliness My punishment Youth Wasted as ever Old age Approaching Disgracefully Determined To live Before I die In the Jungles Of Bird And Light


Krupp In these Bleary-eyed Equatorial Mornings I am Expressly Glad That My morning Java Comes Not From A civet's Anus Nor has to wait For burning Coals But Is simply Delivered By Krupp


I Am From I am from the difference The space between You and I From the innocent Uncomplication Of apple orchards Perfumed Not yet Wasp stung I am From Celt Roman Scenting Spring Blossom In complex Summers Fox pad Winters Badger Autumns I am For all That I am In simplicities Of rurality Comforts Of pastoral Yet forever bound Urbanely Wishing I were there 108

Man Go Finally I have You Trapped Embedded Within My Samsung Your Pixie face Forever Frozen In A cheeky Smile Hands Pressed together In Namaste Banana leaf Curiously Lit Orange You Are An Exotic Jungle Fruit Like Man go steen But Man Go Crazy


abi dionisio Abi Dionisio is a visual artist from the Philippines who has worked within the realms of symbolic and metaphorical neo-realism to enter into dialogues concerning feminisms and personal dialogues. Time literally flies in her artworks, symbolic butteries swarm, hiding or revealing. Dour young females ponder death, while mothers and daughters dream, perhaps of Alice and pink flamingoes.


Untitled 111





Compos Mentis ii (In Control Of Your Mind)


Compos Mentis i (In Control Of Your Mind i)







The Keepers





Affandi Museum

Affandi, The Mother and her Daughter


Affandi Museum, The first Gallery




Affandi Museum, The first Gallery


Affandi Museum, The first Gallery



Affandi Museum, The first Gallery

Affandi Museum Jl. Laksda Adisucip

Phone : +62 274 562593; Fax : +62 274 562593;; museuma 130

pto 167 Yogyakarta 55281 Indonesia; Facebook :; Twitter: @affandimuseum 131

Kartika’s Garden

Kartika Affandi at work

In Kartika’s garden, verdigris spreads amidst secreted mortars, tender leaves graced by sundering sun, shadows deep, mysterious, Jasmine perfumes, dried fronds of woven attap meld intentions of man/nature.

Indonesia's premiere artist, Kartika Affandi-Koberl (1934 - ), is the daughter of South East Asia’s foremost Expressionist painter, the late Affandi Koesoema (1907-1990). Her artistic career developed from 1957, when she first took up a paint brush, but later abandoned in favour of a more direct approach of putting colour on canvas - straight from the tube using her fingers. Since her father’s departure in 1990, Kartika has taken up the reigns of her father’s museum - The Affandi Museum which resides at Jalan Laksda Adisucipto, Yogyakarta, on the island of Java, 132

Kartika Affandi


Indonesia, caressing the Gajah Wong River by its western bank. Kartika remains the Chairperson of the Affandi Foundation. In March this year (2017), Java, once called The Garden of the East (by Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore, 1897), had a propensity to rain. On one typically sultry day in Yogyakarta (the cultural capital of Indonesia), Malaysian artist Honey Khor and I, unexpectedly, met Kartika AffandiKoberl (aka Kartika, or Kartika Affandi). We had wearied of that strip of consumerism called Jalan Malioboro, its dubiously helpful males soliciting us to see their batiks, the over enthusiastic (again) males requesting us to use their becak (cycle rickshaws), or their definitely unspeedy, but perhaps a shade romantic, andongs (horse drawn carriages), pulled by less than romantic emaciated horses. True to our proposed schedule (which had been hastily drafted in Malaysia), we grabbed a GrabCar and tootled off to the Affandi Museum. It was, ostensively, to talk with Susan (secretary) about arrangements to visit with Kartika Affandi, later in the week. Having marvelled at the first gallery and, when approaching the second gallery, we saw in the distance an explosion of sartorial colour which could only have meant one thing, or rather one person - Kartika Affandi, beloved Indonesian colourist. The closer we got, the more it appeared that she was in a meeting at the open air Cafe Loteng. That oasis was blessed by a scattering of frangipani flowers and, more importantly, shaded. By the time we had sauntered over to that cafe, our eyes had locked. Honey and I had internal dilemmas. While we deemed it rude not to, briefly, introduced ourselves, we also worried about intervening upon her meeting. Grabbing the metaphorical bull by the non-existent horns, we introduced ourselves then quickly exited after confirming our Friday meet. Honey and I resumed our wandering around Kartika’s father’s museum, safe in the knowledge that we would see Kartika later in that week. Then, as is the way when you are busy, suddenly it was Friday. Our stay on Java was nearly over. I called, yet again, for a GrabCar. It arrived within minutes. Starting off, there appeared to be a dispute regarding Kartika’s address. Honey wrangled with the driver in Malay, he understood in Indonesian. It eventuated with some warming debate, about price, and with us leaving the GrabCar in favour of a local taxi driver who did seem to know where he was going. The broken journey resumed. Honey and I were led through the Javanese countryside heading towards the foothills of Gunung Merapi (Merapi Mountain), easing past verdant rice padi, cool in our urban taxi. In watery fields we witnessed smiling women, their ‘caping’ (bamboo conical hats) shading them from the undoubtedly punishing heat, their feet firmly planted in fecund, pastoral, soil. Discovering Kartika Affandi’s Indonesian residence had not been


Cafe at Affandi Museum


A view from Kartika’s verandah


easy. The Yogyakarta inner-city taxi driver, had stopped frequently to enquire directions of puzzled local men standing, scratching their heads. Eventually we resorted to calling Kartika's secretary at the Affandi Museum, then apprising said driver of Kartika's house's location. We carefully crossed our sun-dried fingers as we did so. And yet, despite minor setbacks, journeying the Javanese countryside had been a sheer delight. The pastoral greenery was luxuriant, plentiful and reminiscent of Kedah, which according to TripAdvisor was the rice bowl of Malaysia. The Indonesian sky was blue, with just a mere hint of the rain to come. We had become gently lulled by miles of rural splendour, and the small enterprises called warung kopi (coffee lean-toos) where local (mostly) men drank provincial unfiltered coffee, smoked sigaret kretek (clove cigarettes) and perhaps dreamed garuda dreams. Brakes squealed suddenly. We slowed almost to a stop. There, down a small lane, a sign caught the driver’s eye. He quickly swung the car through a gateway I had not realised was there. Birds, aware of difference in their milieu, loudly twittered in leaf-girded trees. The taxi driver, sensing journey’s end, mentally rubbed gleeful hands at the fee he was to collect. My wallet thinned as we stepped into what appeared to be a lush park. It was the residence of Javanese artist Kartika Affandi. A quick glance from my overawed, heat-dry, eyes had told me that, within Kartika’s lavish landscaped gardens, lay numerous traditional Central Javanese buildings. Those examples of Java’s architectural heritage peeped between trees and luscious bushes. The buildings had been translocated to Kartika’s site, and were in the process of preservation and conservation. They formed part of an open air museum, which had been designed by Kartika and displayed for the delectation of Kartika’s house guests, and other visitors. Kartika had recently built her Museum Perempuan Indonesia “Kartika” (Kartika’s Indonesian Women’s Museum) galleries, adjacent to the conserved buildings. Those galleries shone with art, not just from Kartika herself, but from other Indonesian female artists too. Kartika's son-in-law, slim, tall, Mommi (aka Budi Utomo), dressed in green shirt with Keith Herring type pattern in white, met us as the taxi reversed and exited. Kartika turned from where she was painting a lotus, near vases of freshly cut torch ginger, heliconia and hanging Balinese masks, raised her eyes from her vocation and raised her voice in greeting, giving an expansive, welcoming, smile as she did so. Her eyes sparkled with radiant bon homme. It truly felt like a homecoming, Kartika mother, or grand mother, for she was both in her family. Kartika’s house had a very shady veranda under which she likes to paint. It is constructed from local wood, thatched in places with attap. All around we witnessed carvings, intricate filigree wood patterns practically hidden behind black wooden totemic figures stretching from floor to ceiling. Heavy chairs, similarly of hard wood, shared space with dark wood-constructed benches, lengthy enough to accommodate a


Kartika’s garden delights



Ni Nyoman Tanjung installation


recumbent westerner, or so I discovered. In the evening, all was delicately lit by bulbs shaded by rattan lampshades. The whole was an elegant mix of ageless rural idyll, melded with contemporary convenience. Kartika’s lush habitat was undoubtedly welcoming. Purple orchid, white jasmine and lilac wisteria hung or flounced as we approached Kartika’s wheelchair ramp - a Gaudiesque mosaic, guarded by a terracotta orang-utan statue. That ramp, as curvaceously serpentine as its sister in Barcelona’s Parc Guell, guided us through the morning heat to where Ibu (mother) Kartika was painting that sublime lotus. Mommi, himself a painter and de facto curator of Kartika’s museum, had been charged with the task of guiding us around those extensive tropical grounds. Along a grey (rather than yellow) brick path, which was at times tinged with verdigris, a whole host of equatorial flora surrounded us. Taking our cue from W. H. Davies (poem Leisure) it became all too easy to meander, dawdle, take our delight along that intriguing path to Kartika's recently built museum. Doing so, we witnessed large wooden cartwheels propped beside large discarded granite mortars, perhaps intended to grind rice. They nestled adjacent to serene seeming ponds, housing golden carp, which occasionally flashed breaking the stillness. Silent statuary, exotic and erotic, warily peeked from under copious green bushes. Carved totems weathered sundering heat, observing as we strolled towards galleries housing our host’s art collection. In those grounds one open-sided building was dominated by a large, dried, natural wood sculpture, rocks piled at its base. It was an installation of painted, Balinese, volcanic river rocks, representing ancestral gods. Mommi explained that, in 2006, Kartika had come across the work of Balinese artist Ni Nyoman Tanjung, on a visit to Bali, and insisted that some of her work be container transported back from Bali, and form a future installation as part of the Indonesian Women’s Museum Kartika. Ni Nyoman Tanjung’s work is reminiscent of, but distinct from, the late Indian Art Brut creator Nik Chand, with his rock garden in Chandigarth, India, and many intriguing images of Loa (Haitian gods and saints) discovered by DeWitt Peters in Haiti, during the 1940s. In 2012 Ni Nyoman Tanjung received a Heralds Culture award and her work seen in a permanent display in Kartika’s gardens. Having walked those gardens, I am reminded of ancient Javanese royals having Pleasure Gardens, spoken of in epic narrative poems such as the Sumanasāntaka, where pleasure gardens were situated in the capitals of kingdoms. There is also mention of one such garden within the kingdom of the gods, in Indra’s capital. A chorus of birds, signing in the pleasure garden, awake lovers who perform their ablutions, and pray in the taman (garden). Flowers blossom in delights of feminine grace and charm, arousing hearts of lovers and of poets in those ancient gardens. Is it any wonder that Indonesia’s foremost woman artist should choose to set aside land for harbouring arbors, ponds and a lusciousness of blooms,


to paint en plein air as a breeze stirs the scents and squinting eyes linger upon a blue cart, where golden symbols of fish mingle with white flowers and green leaves set against a sun yellow background. Honey, squatting with her boots of Cambodian leather, levels her hand phone to capture a flight of fancy, the insect buzz momentarily silent but fish still peeping from lotus leaves in a murky lotus filled pond. Forest tree ferns explode from containers half a man’s height, pandanas leaves shatter graceful foliage in tropical aroma. It is all balm to the senses, ointment for the eyes, lotion in scent, soothing to urban ears. Kartika’s garden is haven, not just for art, but that too. It is a veritable oasis crafted from nature to soothe weary souls, such as ours. Inside the museum we are taken aback by the terracotta colour of the first gallery’s brick walls. No white cubes there. Kartika’s paintings seem to belly laugh or scream from the walls. Her impasto style, adding paint straight from the tube, rubbing it with her fingers, produces vibrantly expressive imagery, leaping from the walls at us, engulfing us. It becomes impossible to look at the frames, we are drawn into the images, beguiled by colour and style. We see hosts of images of Kartika, Kartika’s family, all spread bare (literally). Some thoughtful hand, and it may have been Mommi’s, has given each painting space enough for it to be appreciated without being crowded by its neighbour. The richness of the gallery’s hard wood pillars looms above us, beside us, nature is everywhere there, windows open, doors open to stream in the light and sounds of nature, as we become immersed into Kartika’s symbolic worlds. As we walk, approach paintings, marvel at Kartika’s abilities, we are watched. From time to time we are able to catch a Kartika effigy observing us. From the far side of the first gallery, parallel to the entrance is a wooden boat. In the boat a pink bust of Kartika, her head half skull, watches, hands clasped to her throat. She beseeches, but she also stares. She appears ever there, as we wander. Further along, another effigy, a lifesize mannikin of Kartika sits in a wheel chair. At first glance you believe it to be real, thinking Kartika has come to join us, but no, it is inanimate, posed, red hat on her head, another, white hat, in her lap. It is a small installation, representing a work space replete with large wooden desk, shelves full of writing, auction catalogues, books covering everything from Chinese wisdom to Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, her novel of fragmentation and mental breakdown. Fibreglass sculptures abound within the galleries of Kartika’s museum. Large, brightly coloured, phalluses un-erotically cavort. A four-headed sculpture of Kartika, hands over her mouth, censors herself, unable to speak of the huge penile dogs intertwined, or of the multiples of lizard heads constructed for a showing elsewhere. But our eyes are always drawn back to the power of Kartika’s paintings, her landscapes and her figure works. We feel her energy and, like Van Gogh, her lust for life. I walk off silently humming Iggy Pop, back into the garden. Unlabelled Death’s Head sculpture



The remains of the day


Kartika with author Martin Bradley

Kartika with artist Honey Khor


Diyano Purwadi Diyano Purwadi is a Javanese artist who has called Bali home for over a decade. Through the human figures on his mixed media work, the artist attempts to capture and understand his surroundings. The works not only talk about the social life, but also share ideas about romance, harmony and happiness. How did you get into art professionally? I studied at the High School of Arts in Surabaya, and graduated in 1992. Then, I came to Bali to develop, but soon went back to Java as I didn’t know Bali so well. In 1994, I returned to Bali again. I made this move as I realised that the art activities in Java were quite slow. The goal wasn’t so clear, and the will to paint wasn’t as good as it was here. Moreover, the art community here was perfect. Once I arrived, I chose to stay in Kuta. I did other jobs in the day, and I painted at night. I didn’t have totality yet, but I knew that I had to survive as it was still the beginning. As time went by, I realised that the art community in Kuta wasn’t too interesting. I finally made another move to Ubud. I wanted to be a full-time artist, dedicating myself completely to art. And since then, I was always focused on art. On your works, there is a something quite dominant which is the heavy use of lines within the figures itself. Is this your characteristic? All paintings are actually started from the lines; the big lines, the quick lines, the curvy lines and the straight lines. The foundation of painting is the sketch, same in my painting. However, I develop it there. I remember when I was still a school kid, I always doodled anything that I laid my hands on. I drew figures, and I still draw figures now, of course with some improvements. I always try to emphasise the strokes of charcoal on each of my painting. And although I draw like a realist, I still keep these strokes. I’m not sure whether this is my characteristic or not. It could be gone someday, or it would still be just strokes that adorn my work. In a nutshell, it’s a symbol of my own freedom. 146

The Baby Boy


Bouc Banana





Talk with Dogs 2



Dog Lovers 11


The Grow 2




Dog Talk


Lady Bull

Where does the inspiration come from? I get some of them from my surrounding like the kids, families or pets. These individuals somehow symbolise the harmony within a village, among living things. On the other hand, there are also some questions popping up on why my figures tend to be ‘chubby’ recently. My answer is because these ‘chubby’ people often appear in my real life, in my surroundings. Contemplating on this, I then realised that these chubby characters could symbolise abundance, success and prosperity. This can be a great idea in my works as it brings together all the good things in life like romance, harmony and happiness. Featured in The Beat Bali magazine issue #402. Read it online


out now



Many eateries open in the evening in Yogyakarta


eat Java has become synonymous with coffee. For many reasons, and over many years. That connection remains, not just in the coffeehouses of America but right there on the island of Java, Indonesia, in the cultural centre of that island, Yogyakarta. One of the first things we did, after exiting our hotel room on the first afternoon, was to stray down the alleyways adjacent. In one we found a very small eatery advertising Sedia Ice Cream, it was nothing but an alleyway itself with a few wooden tables, a simple cabinet where the makings of simple meals were kept, Nasi Goreng (fried rice) or Mei Goreng (fried noodles). We were on the look-out for authentic Indonesian coffee, and found it right there. The plain unfiltered coffee (Kopi Tubruk) came in a glass. It’s as simple as coffee can get. Coffee powder in a glass, with added boiling water, but don’t eat the mud that’s left, it’s bitter, dry and will stay in your throat for minutes. Javanese coffee has its own mild taste and that was a little slice of a very welcome heaven, in very undemanding surroundings. Around the corner, a slightly larger street stall proffered Penyetan Bujon - a range of boiled or fried foods from Ayam (chicken) Kremes (with crunchy bits), to Ayam Geprek (smashed chicken - like spatchcock), Lel Tepung (catfish in flour), Tempe (fermented soybean hash brown), Tahu (tofu), Terong (aubergine), Usus (chicken intestines) and Ceker (chicken’s feet). We had a mixture of deep fried tofu, the soybean hash brown, deep fried chicken heart and intestines with cucumber, cabbage, a spinachlike green and some local chilli sauce all served up on a wavy paper plate. A superb snack. Later, we found that evenings brought out the local populace, and local food vendors too. So, on that humid first evening, we headed north along Jalan Malioboro (Marlborough) looking for both a SIM card and for an plug adapter, as well as something to eat. The hotel didn’t have an adapter to spare and we, okay I, forgot to bring ours. We crossed the railway track and headed into unknown territory. We were soon face to face with a kiosk selling the local SIM cards and, not far away, along the very same road, a purveyor of power plug socket adapters. Feeling satisfied that we were thus able to re-charge phones and my tablet, we remembered food and noticed a sign across the road - Susu Sapi Murni (fresh cow’s milk). Not just cow’s milk, but a whole range of packet and packaged snacks were available. Some, traditionally, were wrapped with pandan leaves, others in greaseproof paper sachets. These snacks included Nasi Sambel Tempe Penyet (rice with hot chilli sauce and mashed soybean hash brown), Nasi Ayam Sambal Balado (rice with fried chicken and hot chilli sauce), and not to mention sticks of Satay, and Telur puyuh (Satay sticks of soy sauce cooked quail’s eggs). More importantly, for us, was a small stall 161

Charcoal fire kettle


Making Kopi Jos 1

Making Kopi Jos 2

selling Wedang Ronde (ginger and bread drink). I had two bowls, and was tempted for a third but the night was young and in the distance we could see other eateries. We had to pace ourselves, you understand. After a hundred yards, or so, another stall presented itself, called Angkringan Kopi Jos “Pak Agus”. I paid the sign little notice until later. That stall sold another wide range of snacks. However, it also had two old-fashioned kettles boiling water over coals. It was dark by then, so the coals glowed brightly, attracting our attention. I asked for coffee. The vendor spoke something in Indonesian, pointed to the kettles and, as I have very little of that language, smiled like an idiot and nodded my head. We waited. It began to rain. Our sheltering under the ‘shop’s’ tarpaulin became quite romantic with the sound of the rain, its scent and the way the streets lit us with colour. I noticed our coffee maker take the kettle off the fire, and begin to pour the water over what was obviously coffee. He turned to me, said something else in Indonesian and brandished a hot glowing coal from the fire, at me. The proverbial penny dropped. He was offering me Kopi Joss Arang (black coffee with glowing, and some say Egyptian, charcoal). I nodded feverishly. On our first evening in Yogyakarta I had found the one thing I was hoping to find there, and without actively seeking it. It is rumoured that the name, Kopi Jos Arang, comes from the sound as the hot coal hits the coffee. But I didn’t hear it. Now, according to Wikipedia, Bakpia is a sweet pastry filled with sugared mung bean paste, and is influenced by Chinese pastries. The most famous bakpia producing area is the Pathok area near Jalan Malioboro in Yogyakarta. I can attest to the Chineseness of the pastries, as Malaysia has very similar pastries in Ipoh and Malacca with a range of more authentic Chinese fillings from red bean to Lou Po Beng (wife cakes filled with candied winter melon). However, we chanced upon one Bakpia bakery and cafe, which prides itself on difference. Called Bakpiapia, and

Making Kopi Jos 3


Choose your chilli



Rice with many fillings, eat cold.


A plethora of packets

claiming to be ‘beyond bakpia’ that establishment was baking Bakpia in a range of tastes from Abon (meat floss), Kacang Hijau Cokelat (green nut and chocolate), to Kacang Hijau (green nut), Cokelat (chocolate) and Keju (cheese). Others include Tuna Pedas (hot tuna), Durian, Nanas (Pineapple), Blueberry Cheese, Cappuccino and Pisang Keju (banana cheese). The small cafe area allows the visitors to sit and drink a refreshingly cold bottled (Sosro) ’Fruit Tea”. It less tea taste and more fruit. I drank a couple of this chilled bottles and looked for it everywhere after, but couldn’t find it anywhere else. People kept telling us that we must eat Gudeg. They said that Gudeg typifies the food culture in Yogyakarta so, of course we were intrigued. Friends living in Yogyakarta guided us to where they considered that we would find the best Gudeg, a delight of Gudeg, simply the best. A typical recipe for Gudeg ( Jogja) might include young jackfruit pieces, coconut milk, bay leaves, lemon grass, palm sugar and other ingredients depending on your preference. Basically, Gudeg is a sweet jackfruit curry, with a very large emphasis on the sweet. It is frequently accompanied by chicken’s egg, hard boiled in soy sauce and split into two. It is an acquired taste. Despite being a predominantly Muslim country, and the largest population of people of the Islamic faith in the world, alcohol, thought not quite as plentiful as Malaysia, does exist in bars and clubs. Bintang (Star), a light lager, is the beer of choice. Indonesian has had a brewery since 1929. Bintang beer (bier) has had a mixed heritage, from Heineken to national and back again since 1936. Tbk the beer manufacturer in Indonesia produces Bir Bintang, Heineken, Guinness, Green Sands, Bintang Zero and Recharge. Served ice cold in sultry Indonesia, who could possible ask for more. 167

Pink Honeycomb Cake



Bakpiapia comes in many flavours



Javanese Beer



Cleaned coffee beans from civet


Smooth black coffee with no acid


Kopi (coffee) Luwak


Except, of course, for the most expensive coffee in the world - Kopi Luwak, grown, processed and brought to the connoisseur of fine coffee in Yogyakarta. Specifically Mataram Luwak Coffee, eaten, digested and excreted by wild civets, collected, washed and made ready by small processors who package this smoothest coffee in the world for your delectation. It is said that Kopi Luwak, after its collection from those wild civets, is washed and roasted in high heat for about an hour to produce a coffee which is low in caffeine, low in bitterness and low in acidity. The above is just a small sample of the food and drink we came across from the Yogyakarta region, on the island of Java, within the Indonesian archipelago.


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Books by Martin