Julian Banks Group Blends Indonesian Tradition with Modern Grooves

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Julian Banks Group (Image Source: Sabine Legrand)

Growing up in Canberra, Julian Banks began playing music in high school. It was here that he met band mate (and real life mate) James Hauptmann. With James on drums and Julian on tenor saxophone and writing the pieces, their friendship and musical connection grew. The duo joined with Christopher Hale, who plays 6-string semi-acoustic bass guitar to form the Julian Banks Trio and released their first, self-titled, album in 2014.

In 2015, Julian Banks Trio was invited to play at the Ubud Village Jazz Festival in Bali. It was here that Julian was introduced to Cepi Kusmiadi, a talented Indonesian percussionist who joined the band for their Bali gigs. Playing the Kendang Sunda, a set of two-headed drums that is traditionally played within Sundanese gamelan orchestra, Cepi brought a new sound to the group. “I immediately fell in love with the sound of these drums and I was blown away by Cepi’s sense of musicianship”, says Julian. Soon after this gig Cepi officially joined the band, which grew from a trio to a quartet and became the Julian Banks Group.

Julian was so inspired by the sounds of Cepi and his Kendang Sunda that on his return home he began to write music that incorporated guitars, saxophone and drums to highlight the traditional Indonesian percussion. Shying away from any rigid labels, the Julian strives to “write tunes that have an almost ‘song’ like feel to them”. Comprising of strong melodies and groove as well as some folky sounds, their eclectic and unique ‘Indie-Jazz’ sound is certainly unique to the group.  The Julian Banks Group has expanded again to include James Gilligan on bass guitar, who brings even more depth to the band’s sound.

Although the purpose of Julian Banks Groups wasn’t to create cross-cultural exchange or become an emblem of successful bilateral relationships, the friendships they have formed and their collective passion for music is undeniably that. Despite their different mother countries and cultural backgrounds, Julian says “Cepi and I are basically doing exactly the same thing with our lives”. He attributes their successful collaborations as a result of genuine friendship and the band’s strong musical partnerships.

Last year Julian Banks Group returned to Ubud Village Jazz Festival, where they also recorded their current album. Julian describes the album as a “beautiful blend of all the instruments and Cepi’s bubbling magic on this beautiful traditional Indonesian instrument creates the perfect bed for the modern grooves and melodic sensibility of the compositions”. Recording the album the day after completing a grueling hike up Gunung Agung in East Bali. The boys decided to name their album AGUNG, in “tribute to our adventure on the great volcano”.

With support from the Australia Council for the Arts, Julian Banks Group is returning to Ubud Village Jazz Festival and playing a number of gigs in Ubud and Candidasa in Bali this month. The band is excited to be back and playing for the diverse and multicultural audience that is drawn to Bali. Along with these appearances, Julian Banks Group will be hitting the road for a number of gigs in Australia as well as recording new music.

If you didn’t think the band was working hard enough, on top of these gigs and recording, the band will be giving workshops at Yayasan Pendidikan Dria-Raba, a not-for-profit school for blind children in Bali. The Australian Consulate in Bali set up YPDR and has provided instruments to the students to learn and practice playing music. Julian hopes that the band can soon expand their interaction with Indonesian audiences, especially with festivals in Sumatra, Lombok and Java.

If you want to see the boys performing live, you can check out their full tour details on Julian Banks Group’s Facebook or their website: www.julianbanksmusic.com.

You can also check out Julian Banks Group’s latest album at: https://julianbanksmusic.bandcamp.com/album/agung-2

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Art & Decks

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Okta Samid

Born and raised in Madiun, East Java, Okta Samid moved to Yogyakarta after finishing high school to enrol in art school at Institut Seni Indonesia. Best known for his clean illustration work and his use of pastel tones, Okta continues to gain acclaim in Indonesian and Australian art scenes alike. His clever use of cute, catchy phrases coupled with simple line work is characteristic of Okta’s distinctive style.

Okta is a professional artist and skateboarder who last year opened his own studio and boutique skate and art-supply store, Mendaftar Studio in Yogyakarta. He has been drawing and skating since he was a child, but it wasn’t until 2008 that he began to participate regularly in art shows and his work began to explore youth culture some of the issues he and his peers faced.

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Artist impression of famous Melbourne Library Wallride skate spot (Okta Samid)

In 2014 Okta was invited to Melbourne for a one-month residency. During his time Samid lived and hung out with local artists and skaters. This experience allowed Okta to explore Australian culture, visit a couple of famous skate spots and galleries as well as work on his pieces. At the end of his residency, Okta displayed at an exhibition and painted a mural at Conduit Arts in Melbourne. Since this first trip, Okta’s relationship within the Australian art scene has steadily continued to grow.

Okta continues to collaborate and freelance with a number of Australian brands and artists. His work has been printed on products for Australian brand Salty Shoes, he has exhibited works at Kubu Studio in Geelong and Lowbrow gallery in Zombie Queen in Adelaide to name just a few. Despite his relative prominence within the Australia-Indonesia art world, Okta is hoping to be able to further develop his skills and reach and hopefully return to Australia for more collaborations.

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“No Future” (silk screen print) – Part of Okta’s work displayed at YKK–>ADL art show at The MILL gallery, Adelaide 2015.

A big fan of Australian artists such as Marcus Dixon, Okta stocks the skate brand PASS~PORT, which Dixon’s work features on, in his store. “I really want to collaborate with Marcus”, says Okta. Given Okta’s talent, creativity and passion I’m sure this isn’t an unlikely dream. For now though, Okta plans to continue to produce art and grow Mendaftar Studio in order to develop “good relationships and collaborations with galleries and stores [in Australia] that share the same vision”.

If you want to check out Okta’s latest work, you can see it at Paperu exhibition as part of the Jogjakarta Art Festival from 31 July – 13 August. But if you’re not in Jogjakarta, Okta’s Instagram https://www.instagram.com/sketceria/ and Tumblr http://sketceria.tumblr.com are excellent ways to keep up-to-date with his art and collaborations.

Menarik Hati Wisatawan Australia dengan Gamelan Jegog

Semenjak tahun 1970an, liburan ke pulau Bali sudah menjadi gaya hidup untuk sebagaian besar warga Australia. Namun, sampai sekarang tempat yang kerap dikunjungi oleh wisatawan Australia hanya terkonsentrasi di bagaian selatan, termasuk Pantai Kuta, Seminyak, dan Nusa Dua. Ternyata, di luar kawasan ini ada banyak daerah lain yang juga layak dikunjungi. Akhir-akhir ini, gerakan “Pariwisata Berbasis Budaya” merupakan salah satu strategi untuk “menggoda” wisatawan keluar dari zona nyaman, dan sekaligus memperluas kreativitas masyarakat Bali.  Menurut Adi Hartawan, seorang seniman muda yang telah berhasil menjalankan program pariwisata berbasis seni budaya di Kabupaten Jembrana, gerakan pariwisata ini dapat membuahkan hasil positif untuk masyarakat lokal serta wisatawan Australia.

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Wisatawan asing sedang bermain jegog di Sanggar Adi Gama, Kabupaten Jembrana

Pada tahun 2015 Adi bersama dengan bapak I Wayan Gama Astawa mendirikan sebuah sanggar seni karawitan dan tari Bali khas Jembrana yang diberi nama Sanggar Adi Gama. Sedikit demi sedikit, mereka membuat sebuah program khusus untuk wisatawan asing yang ingin mengetahui lebih dalam tentang musik khas daerah Kabupaten Jembrana. Terletak di ujung barat pulau Bali, Kabupaten Jembrana memiliki berbagai macam kebudayaan dan kesenian yang sangat berbeda dengan kabupaten lain di Bali. Perbedaan ini justru memberikan nuansa yang khas sehingga Jembrana memiliki jati diri sendiri.

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I Wayan Gama Astawa dan I Made Dwi Adi Hartawan

Jegog merupakan sebuah alat music terbuat dari bahan dasar bamboo yang menghasilkan suara sangat merdu dan menawan hati. Menurut Profesor I Nyoman Darma Putra dari Fakultas Ilmu Budaya di Universitas Udayana, perkembangan industri pariwisata di Jembrana berhubungan dengan erat dengan kesenian jegog. “Jegog dan pariwisata berhubungan secara resiprokal,” kata Prof. Darma. “Artinya, jegog lestari dan tumbuh semarak karena pariwisata, pada saat yang sama, pariwisata mendapat jenis hiburan baru dari seni tabuh dan tari berbasis jegog,” imbuhnya. Gamelan jegog memang merupakan identitas Kabupaten Jembrana samapi banyak wisatawan asing tertarik untuk mempelajari musik jegog ini.

Proses memperkenalkan musik jegog kepada orang asing justru bukan hal yang mudah dan perlu teknik pengajaran khusus yang sangat rinci dan teliti. “Yang paling utama sebagai guru itu kita harus bersabar untuk mengajar orang yang sama sekali belum pernah memainkan instrumen gamelan,” kata Adi. “Pertama-tama saya memberikan definisi tentang gamelan jegog kepada mereka, kemudian saya menceritakan sedikit pengalaman saya tentang awal mula mempelajari gamelan ini, supaya mereka lebih tertarik dan nyaman saat berhadapan dengan media jegog,” imbuhnya.

Dengan tekun, Adi kemudian memberikan teknik cara memegang panggul, dilanjutkan dengan pengenalan nada dan teknik pukul dari instrumen satu ke yang lainnya. Akhirnya, muridnya diberikan tabuh atau lagu yang paling mudah supaya bisa menikmati proses penuangan musik dengan jegog. “Selain teknik, guru juga harus memperhatikan respon dari murid supaya mereka tidak bosan. Saya selalu mengatur waktu untuk istirahat dan untuk belajar, karena jika terus hanya diberikan pelajaran saja, pasti mereka akan jenuh atau kehilangan konsentrasi,” ujarnya. “Maka dari itu, saya harus mengajak mereka membuat canda tawa seperti quiz dan geguyonan agar mereka relax sebelum mempelajari bagaian berikutnya hingga selesai. Saya juga mengajak mereka untuk mengunjungi tempat wisata seperti air terjun, persawahan, sungai, dan bukit di sekitar sanggar,” imbuhnya.

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Adi bersama muridnya

Menurut Adi, proses pertukaran ilmu ini juga membantu menjalin hubungan antar bangsa yang lebih erat. “Karena saya tidak hanya memberikan ilmu tentang musik tetapi juga tentang budaya saya. Dari murid saya, saya juga mendapatkan informasi tentang budaya yang mereka miliki,” kata Adi. “Wisatawan yang datang ke sanggar saya merasa sangat bahagia dan nyaman di sini sampai saat mereka harus pulang, mereka bersedih karena ingin tetap tinggal di hutan di sini,” imbuhnya.

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Kabupaten Jembrana masih memiliki kekayaan alam

Untuk kedepannya, Adi ingin masyarakat di Jembrana bisa hidup layak dari kegiatan berkesenian. “Saya ingin kesenian daerah seperti seni jegog Jembrana bisa lebih dikenal sampai ke manca negara, termasuk Australia.  Saya berharap supaya warga negara asing yang berkunjung ke Bali tidak hanya bermain ke Kuta atau Nusa Dua tetapi juga berkunjung ke Jembrana, khususnya ke Sanggar Adi Gama,” kata Adi. Kabupaten Jembrana memang memiliki pontensi alam yang belum disentuh oleh perkembangan industri besar pada masa kini. “Kekayaan alam yang dimiliki oleh kabupaten ini memberikan peluang kepada masyarakatnya untuk memanfaatkan kekayaan ini secara baik dan berguna,” kata Adi.

The Gameladies

Combining traditional Indonesian musical instruments with contemporary Western songs, The Gameladies are encompassing transculturalism to the fullest. The Gameladies is a 6-lady (though they are known to “occasionally rope in David Kotlowy, our guest ‘Gamelad’” says Abby, one of the ladies) Gamelan band that has ‘organically’ formed through their connections to the Indonesian community and another community gamelan group, Sekar Laras. The core members are Simone Bignall, an Indigenous Studies academic and avid piano player; Emily Collins, an ethnomusicologist who studied gamelan in Indonesia; Margret Eusope, an Indonesian teacher; Trina Lucas, a film maker who has long family involvement in gamelan and Indonesian Studies in South Australia; Hannah Tunstill, a classically trained bassoonist whose family is strongly involved in gamelan; and Abby Witts, a languages specialist who has studied jazz drumming. The Gameladies are taking the Adelaide multicultural community by storm with their ingenious and unique Gamelan style. I got in touch with one of the Gameladies, Abby, to discuss this unique collective.

 

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Some of the Gameladies in action, from left to right; Trina Lucas (saron barung), Emily Collins (kendhang), Abby Witts (saron demung) and Simone Bignall (gong) (Image Source: John Nieddu)

 

Gamelan is a traditional form of music originating from Java and Bali, though it is now played throughout Indonesia. It is comprised predominately of percussive style instruments, such as the kendang, gong and saron, however the exact instruments in any single ensemble are generally regionally specific. The Gameladies play on a bronze set originating from Surakarta that is, incredibly, more than 100-years old.

The Gameladies have a wide-ranging level of experience playing gamelan, from Hannah who has played since a child to Simone who has only recently become involved in the scene. Despite all their variety of professions, the Gameladies all share a common interest in and passion for music and Indonesia and met through the Indonesian community in Adelaide. Abby says it’s their love for “challenging musical idioms, and just the enjoyment of playing music together” that motivates them to keep playing. The Gameladies draw on their individual skills and different experiences playing other instruments and music genres, to allow them to alternate between instruments depending on the song.

Traditional gamelan music uses complex cross rhythms, time signatures and interlocking parts that are rarely heard in contemporary pop music that can be quite confusing and difficult to master. However, The Gameladies further challenge themselves by playing contemporary and pop music poses a number of challenges. The Gameladies have a wide repertoire, ranging from traditional pieces from across the Archipelago through to contemporary songs, from the likes of David Bowe to Lady Gaga. The ladies use their musical skills to collaborate and adapt contemporary songs into music that can be played on the gamelan. This is quite challenging as the gamelan is constricted to a five-note scale, which necessitates the Gameladies to adapt the chromatic scale of pop songs to conform to the limitations of the Gamelan. Fortunately the Gameladies strong and diverse musical background allows them to overcome these challenges to create great fusion pieces. However, in the words of Abby, “sometimes the audience will be able to place the tune, but for others, hearing a pop song played on gamelan is so out of context that it is assumed that we are playing obscure traditionals.” After watching a number of videos of the Gameladies, I have no doubt the audience is suitably enamoured by the Gameladeis skills and music, regardless of whether or not they were savvy enough to pick up on the contemporary renditions.

You can catch the Gameladies performing across Adelaide at a number of cultural festivals, such as OzAsia and Indofest, as well as at functions in the Indonesian community and also at weddings. Although the Gamelaides currently almost exclusively perform at cultural events and for the Indonesian community in Adelaide, they believe that their unique and progressive style will allow them to expand their reach to more mainstream venues and audiences.

To keep up-to-date with The Gameladies (or to even book them for your wedding) check out their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/thegameladies/

Peneliti Indonesia dan Cerita Cintanya dari Kota Brisbane

FB_IMG_1500214975343Di sela-sela menulis disertasi di University of Queensland, Temi Pratomo, seorang mahasiswa Strata 3 asal Indonesia telah berhasil menulis bukan satu tetapi dua buah novel yang terinspirasi oleh kehidupannya di Brisbane, ibu kota wilayah Queensland, Australia.  Dua novel ini yang berjudul “Cerita Cinta Dari Brisbane” dan “From Brisbane with Love” merupakan kumpulan kisah cinta yang berbuah dari imajinasi Temi saat di Brisbane sambil belajar di kampus University of Queensland (UQ). Menulis novel sambil mengerjakan disertasi justru bukan hal yang mudah, apalagi jika sedang menjalankan hidup sebagai mahasiswa di rantau. Bagaimana Temi dapat mencari inspirasi untuk berkarya sambil menghadapi tantangan kuliah di Australia?

Niat Temi untuk menulis memang sudah ada semenjak duduk di bangku SMP, tetapi sempat “mati suri” cukup lama sebelum kembali lagi ketika kuliah S2 di Norwegia. Sekarang, semenjak tinggal di Australia, hobi Temi untuk menulis “menjadi menggila.”  Dengan suasana tenang dan tertib dan gedung-gedung yang bergaya klasik, kampus UQ menjadi sumber inspirasi untuk Temi. “Ya, kondisi UQ yang memang seperti kampus impian, membuat inspirasi itu terus menerus keluar,” kata perempuan peneliti LIPI itu. Meskipun semua tokoh dalam ceritanya merupakan fiksi belaka, memang terkadang juga ada beberapa teman yang menjadi inspirasi untuk menciptakan sebuah tokoh dalam ceritanya. “Tetapi yang tentunya saya modifikasi,” kata Temi.

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 Walaupun fokus utama Temi di Brisbane memang untuk kuliah di bidang Earth and Environmental Science, menulis novel justru menjadi obat jenuh dalam menghadapi disertasi yang sangat penuh tantangan. “Semakin saya stress karena disertasi, semakin kuat keingianan saya untuk menulis novel.  Lucu ya?”  ujar Temi.   Menulis novel disela-sela menulis disertasi memang tidak mudah. “Saya butuh waktu satu setengah tahun untuk mengumpulkan kelima cerita yang tertuang dalam dua buku tersebut,” imbuhnya.

Secara independen, Temi telah berhasil menelurkan dua kumpulan cerita itu dalam bentuk novel. “Pertama-tama semua tulisan itu diupload di blog pribadi saya untuk mendapatkan feedback dari pembaca dan juga melihat respon ‘pasar’ sebelum isinya diperbaiki,” kata Temi. Pada suatu hari di kampus di UQ, sebuah pertemuan dengan teman kuliah membuat Temi termotivasi untuk mempublikasikan cerita-ceritanya secara independen. “Saya bertanya bagaimana caranya dia mempublikasikan puisi-puisi karyanya.  Ternyata dia melakukan secara indipenden dan suaminya yang menjadi penerbitnya.”

Sampai saat ini, respon dari pembaca cukup bagus. “Target saya adalah teman-teman alumni UQ, karena tujuan saya menulis adalah memberikan suvernir kepada mereka, sesuatu yang mampu membuat mereka selalu mengingat UQ dan Brisbane pada umumnya,” kata Temi. Buku pertama sudah habis 170 eksemplar dan buku kedua yang baru diterbit masih tinggal beberapa buah.

Untuk ke depannya, Temi sangat mengharapkan cerita-ceritanya bisa dipublikasikan oleh penerbit resmi. “Walaupun saya tahu saya harus kerja keras untuk itu. Masih banyak sekali yang harus saya perbaiki,” kata Temi. Temi juga menyarankan penulis-penulis lainnya yang masih malu-malu untuk tidak pernah takut gagal. “Karena gagal itu hal yang biasa yang pasti akan dihadapi.” Dengan mengutip film Indonesia berjudul, Stay with me oleh Rudi Soedjarwo, Temi menekankan bahwa “Sebuah karya nggak seharusnya hanya tersimpan di lemari.”

Indonesian Artist Carves up Australian Surf and Skate Scene

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Born in Surakarta, central Java, in 1990, Arswandaru is a talented illustrator who is rapidly gaining recognition in the surf and skateboarding art scenes in Australia, Bali and beyond.  Arswandaru attributes his lowbrow style to his surfing, skate boarding and music lifestyle he now leads in Bali, but don’t be fooled, Arswandaru is anything but your typical beach bum.  Not only is he continuing to develop his unique style and build a promising career, Arswandaru is currently establishing a charity for underprivileged children with his friends at the Australian surfing brand, Salty Shoes.

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Arswandaru’s work has progressed from abstract styles during his university days to its more conceptual style today.  His work is heavily “influenced by vintage tattoo flash, especially the simple depictions of pinups and skulls.”  However he feels that his current style has been most heavily influenced by the job he held during university.  Whilst studying art philosophy at the University of Indonesia, Arswandaru was a pencil artist for a comic publishing company. There he learnt many illustration techniques that have been extremely useful in finding his own unique style. It’s this style, and Arswandaru’s continued efforts in refining and developing his skills, that has caught the eye of a number of prominent Australian surf and skate brands.

Arswandaru has been working and collaborating with Australian brands for the last 4 or so years. After entering a surfboard design competition in around 2013, which although he didn’t win, Arswandaru’s artwork was appreciated by Australian surf magazine, Delirium, who then featured his work.  This exposure helped to accelerate Arswandaru’s career and popularity in the Indonesia and Australia surf-art scenes.  This has lead to commissions and collaborations with a number of prominent Australian surf,

skateboarding and music brands.  It is his surfing culture that has drawn him to continue to collaborate with Australian artists and brands, as he feels that their themes are relevant and relatable to his daily life.  Most recently, Arswandaru has just completed the art for the lookbook and video campaign for Australian brand, The Critical Slide Society.

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Alongside these commercial endeavours, Arswandaru is currently working on a number of pieces that will be displayed in a collective art exhibition at The Culprit Club Gallery in Brisbane this month.  He’s also working on a solo exhibition at the same gallery in September this year, which will explore his own perspectives on technology, social interaction and daily life.

If you didn’t think Arswandaru was busy enough, his collaborations now also extend beyond art galleries and brand merchandise. Now in the process of establishing a new charity organisation, Arswandaru feels that it is important to give back to the community.  He comments that he sees a number of Indonesian artists who have become very successful on an international scale, but aren’t giving much back to their communities.  Arswandaru hopes that those who have been fortunate enough to gain some success can share a little bit of their luck to those less fortunate.  Arswandaru is collaborating with the guys at Salty Shoes to create a children’s book as well as a video campaign.  All proceeds of the book will be donated to underprivileged children in Indonesian and Australia so that they can receive adequate education.

Arswandaru’s altruism extends beyond generating funds for the underprivileged.  He is passionate about giving back to his community in more ways than one and “hopes to teach young artists, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds or who are unable to receive adequate formal education, to be more interested about social issues, in order to improve their futures.”  This passion to make a difference coupled with his talent and drive, I have no doubt Arswandaru will be able to greatly help those in need.

You can check out more of Arswandaru’s work at his Instagram @arswandaru

Story by: Freya Gaunt

Pagelaran Gamelan Gong Kebyar Bali Capai Puncak Kesenian di Australia

Canberra, Australia – Aula gedung National Gallery of Australia (NGA) bergetar dengan suara nyaring Gamelan Gong Kebyar dan gerakan tari Bali yang gesit dan lincah pada hari Minggu (23/4/2017). Pagelaran seni budaya ini merupakan buah hasil kerjasama Sekaa Gong Sekar Langit dari KBRI, Canberra dan Kita Art Community, Bali. Pertunjukan tersebut ramai dihadiri anggota masyarakat sampai setiap pertunjukan musik dan tarian langsung disambut tepuk tangan yang memenuhi ruangan James O’Fairfax Theatre di NGA. Anggota grup gamelan Sekar Langit ini hingga penari Bali diwakili oleh warga Indonesia maupun Australia. Dengan tekun mereka turut bersama untuk menampilkan contoh seni budaya Indonesia terbaik di NGA, yang merupakan puncak seni pertunjukan di Australia. Mereka membawakan tiga tarian tradisional yaitu tari Pendet, Topeng Keras dan Joged Bumbung dan tiga jenis tabuh yaitu Bapang Selisir, Godeg Miring dan Gilak.

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Tari Pendet oleh Kadek Elena Kusuma Dewi, Jane Ahlstrand dan Ni Komang Tri Paramityaningrum

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Gede saat melatih muridnya

Selama 5 bulan terakhir, para penabuh dari Sekaa Gong Sekar Langit telah bergabung secara rutin di lokasi KBRI, Canberra untuk latihan intensif di bawah asuhan I Gede Eka Riadi, seniman muda asal Desa Kapal, Bali yang sekarang menjadi duta budaya di Australia. Didirikan pada tahun 2015 dengan tujuan untuk menghidupkan seni budaya Bali di luar Indonesia, Sekaa Gong Sekar Langit sudah menjadi cukup terkenal di Canberra sebagai wadah musik tradisional Indonesia yang bermutu. “Awalnya, saya menemukan beberapa alat musik gamelan yang disimpan di salah satu gudang di KBRI,” katanya. Sedikit demi sedikit Gede perbaiki gamelan ini supaya akhirnya dia siap untuk mengundang anggota masyarakat dan pegawai KBRI untuk membentuk grup gamelan resmi. “Yang datang untuk belajar merupakan warga Indonesia yang bekerja sebagai staff di KBRI atau yang sudah menetap di Australia dan ingin menikmati dan melestarikan seni budaya Indonesia di sini. Ada juga beberapa anggota asli Australia yang telah menikah dengan warga Indonesia. Mereka bisa dibilang pecinta budaya Indonesia,” imbuh pria yang akrab disapa “Dedu.”

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Anggota Sekaa Gong Sekar Langit menikmati kebersaaman saat istirahat

Dua minggu menjelang Hari-H, Sekar Langit kemudian bergabung dengan beberapa seniman muda berbakat dari Kita Art Community, Celuk, Bali yang diundang KBRI khusus untuk memenuhi posisi dalam orkestra dan juga untuk membawakan beberapa tarian tradisional. Dipimpin oleh I Ketut Widi Putra, Kita Art Community telah didirikan pada tahun 2006 dengan cita-cita mulia untuk memfasilitasi kesempatan untuk seniman muda mengembangkan karier di dunia hiburan dan pariwisata di Bali, dan juga untuk melakukan pertukaran budaya. I Gede Eka Riadi merupakan salah satu seniman yang memulai kariernya dengan Kita Art Community.

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Sekar Langit bergabung dengan seniman dari Kita Art Community dari Bali di KBRI Canberra

Kumpulan seniman tersebut termasuk dua penari putri bernama Kadek Elena Kusuma

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Ida Bagus Putu Purwa bersama I Gede Eka Riadi

Dewi dan Ni Komang Tri Paramityaningrum, satu penari putra bernama I Dewa Dwi Putrayana dan satu penabuh bernama Ida Bagus Putu Purwa. Akhirnya pasukan penari dilengkapi oleh Jane Ahlstrand, seorang penari Bali asal Brisbane, Australia yang sudah mendalami tari Bali selama 6 tahun.  Semua mengaku gembira dan semangat tinggi untuk berpartisipasi pada saat mereka menerima tawaran untuk pentas seni budaya Bali di Australia, terutama Ida Bagus Putu Purwa, yang sudah menjadi teman baik Gede Eka Riadi semenjak mereka kuliah bersama di ISI Denpasar pada tahun 2002. “Ya, saya tidak menyangka kalau saya bisa ikut ke luar negeri, tapi ternyata, memang jalan Tuhan mungkin, saya bisa di sini juga dengan Dedu (Gede),” ujarnya. Untuk Ningrum, Elena dan Dewa, mereka semua mengucapkan terima kasih kepada Ketut Widi Putra dan Gede yang telah membantu mereka menemukan peluang berharga seperti ini.

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Tari Topeng Keras oleh pemuda I Dewa Dwi Putrayana

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Tari Joged Bumbung dengan Jane Ahlstrand dan I Komang Tri Paramityaningrum

Setelah menghabiskan tenaga dan waktu selama 5 bulan dalam proses persiapan, akhirnya semua berjalan dengan lancar di lokasi NGA. Dalam acara pertunjukan yang digelar pada dua sesi pada hari Minggu itu, semua penabuh dan penari mengaku heran atas kelancaran program dan keberhasilan dalam bekerjasama. Suara merdu dari gamelan dan kelincahan tari Bali mengundang kegairahan dari penonton sampai beberapa para pemain bahkan menduga ada campur tangan ilahi yang menentukan keberhasilan pertunjukan mereka.

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Foto bersama pada penutupan sesi pertama di NGA

Perayaan Kuningan Disambut Meriah oleh Warga Queensland, Australia

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Masyarakat sedharma melakukan sembahyang bersama di Gold Coast, Australia (Image source: Arathy Thirukumar)

Ditemani semilir angin dari tepi pantai, warga dari Gold Coast, Brisbane dan sekitarnya berkumpul di Harley Park, Labrador, Australia pada tanggal 15 April untuk untuk merayakan hari suci Kuningan. Pada hari ini yang jatuh 10 hari setelah hari raya Galungan, umat Hindu dari Bali biasanya melakukan pemujaan kepada para Dewa dan leluhur untuk memohon keselamatan dan perlindungan lahir-bathin. Menariknya, bukan hanya warga asal Bali yang datang untuk turut serta dalam upacara tersebut, tetapi juga ada warga Australia yang membantu dalam pelaksanaan ritual dengan membuat sesajen, makanan dan bahkan ada yang menampilkan tari tradisional Bali.

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Savitri Wiednya sedang menyiapkan sesajen (Image source: Agustinus Jogiono

 

Selama 3 tahun berturut-turut, yayasan Balinese Indonesian Multicultural Assocation

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Image source: Agustinus Jogiono

(BIMA) yang berlokasi di Gold Coast, Australia mengadakan upacara Kuningan di Queensland dengan tujuan utama untuk membantu para diaspora Bali menghidupkan tradisi dan budaya Bali di luar negeri, sambil memadamkan rasa rindu kepada kampung halaman di Bali.  Selain itu, anggota BIMA juga ingin mengajak teman-teman dari suku bangsa dan agama lain untuk datang dan merasakan keindahan budaya dan kesenian Bali, sekaligus menjalin hubungan baik dengan masyarakat Australia.

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Louisa Wirata, istri warga Bali sedang berdoa (Image Source: Agustinus Jogiono)

Dalam upacara Kuningan yang dilakukan di Harley Park ini, BIMA telah mengundang seorang pemangku (pendeta) dari Gympie untuk memimpin kegiatan sembahyang bersama. Selain itu, para anggota dan teman BIMA bergotong-royong untuk membangun tempat pemujaan, lengkap dengan banten (sesajen dari buah-buahan), umbul-umbul, dupa dan tirta (air suci).

 

Setelah sembahyang bersama, upacara dilanjutkan dengan pertunjukan tari tradisional yang dibawakan oleh Sanggar Anahata dari Brisbane. Para anggota sanggar tersebut merupakan campuran budaya dan kewarganegaraan, termasuk Jane Ahlstrand asal Australia, Arathy Thirukumar yang keturunan Sri Lanka dan Ari Dharma asal Bali. Mereka bersama menampilkan tiga jenis tari Bali yaitu tari Baris, Margapati dan Jauk Keras yang disambut meriah oleh para penonton.

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Jane Ahlstrand bersama Arathy Thirukumar, penari Bali asal Australia (Image source: Agustinus Jogiono)

 

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Ari Darma, pelajar asal Dalung saat menari Baris (Image source: Agustinus Jogiono)

Saat ditanya, Presiden BIMA, Bapak Wayan Wiednya mengucapkan bahwa dia merasa sangat puas karena para sahabat dari berbagai latar belakang telah bergabung untuk merayakan hari raya Kuningan bersama di Gold Coast. “BIMA hanya menyediakan tempat buat saudara-saudara kami yang seperantauan untuk bisa melakukan persembahyangan dan sekaligus silaturahmi,” Kata Wayan.

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Presiden BIMA Bapak Wayan Wiednya (Image source: Agustinus Jogiono)

“Sayangnya, kami orang Bali belum punya tempat suci atau ibadah di sini tetapi meskipun begitu, saya merasa sangat beruntung kami punya teman-teman yang bisa membantu untuk melaksanakan ritual kami, ujarnya.” Menurut Bapak Wiednya, semua kerja itu adalah Yadnya, yaitu, suatu berbuatan yang dilakukan dengan penuh bhakti keiklasan dan kesadaran.

 

2016 Bali Artists’ Camp Showcases Australia-Indonesia Engagement

IMG_9618In the midst of a tropical downpour, artists and art lovers alike gathered at Made Budhiana Gallery, Lodtunduh, Ubud to celebrate the opening of the Bali Artists’ Camp exhibition held on Saturday 8 April 2017. Artwork on display was produced entirely by participants of the 2016 Bali Artists’ Camp in which artists from Australia, Indonesia and Japan gathered together in search of inspiration as they explored the beauty and lushness of Eastern Bali, built friendships and ultimately, produced an impressive suite of intoxicating artwork. In its fifth year, the Bali Artists’ Camp aims to stimulate ongoing engagement among cultures, landscapes and people, resulting in an exciting body of collaborative pieces.

Many of the artists of 2016 had previously joined the 2015 Artists’ Camp held in Australia’s Northern Territory in conjunction with the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, Darwin. On this occasion, a blend of Australian and Indonesian artists gathered for the first time to explore the rich culture and wild landscape of Northern Australia, leading to the birth of new friendships and the extensive development of artists’ repertoires.

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Nanik Suryani stands beside some of her artwork on display

Ms Nanik Suryani from Banyuwangi, Indonesia is one such artist who had the opportunity to participate in both events. Suryani speaks highly of her experience at the 2015 Bali Artists’ Camp held in the Northern Territory as source of inspiration and personal development as an artist. “It was the first time for me to participate in such an art camp, which literally involved camping in the middle of the woods. I not only made new friends from Australia and Indonesia but also enjoyed engaging with a new landscape while also learning a new style from Indigenous Australians,” states Suryani.

On returning to the Bali Artists’ Camp in 2016, Suryani’s style had already evolved to incorporate a new way of seeing and painting, inspired by Aboriginal dot painting she had learned while in Australia.  “My art is based on a Consensusism which uses abstract geometic composition, balancing elements of shape, light and colour. I now also like to experiment with Indigenous Australian painting, incorporating modern dot painting techniques,” adds Suryani.

The exhibition will be held until the 8 May at the Made Budhiana Gallery, Villa Pandan Harum, Gang Pandan Harum, Jalan Anak Agung Gede Rai, Lodtunduh, Ubud Bali. The artists and founder of the Bali Artists Camp, Mr Colin McDonald QC would like to acknowledge the support received from the Commonwealth Bank of Indonesia, the Indonesian Department of Foreign Affairs, the Northern Territory Government, and the Consulate-General of Australia in Bali.