| It Has Been A Rough Year |
I am adding this additional chapter to my introduction, because after I initially wrote the introduction, it was very difficult to come back to it and try to make sense of all that I have experienced through the various stages of my life and the trials that I have endured or overcome. I wish ...
| The Birth of Charles Leonard Wiggins |
The story has already been written for awhile on my blog "From the heart of Praise, Prayer and Perseverance. 0; Here is a link to that posting, Below are the pictures of the blessed event.
http://fromthehea rt-dotwigg.blogsp ot.com/2008/03/an other-2-prayer-re quest-answered.ht ml
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Richard 's Story > Chapters > The Orient 1994 Research Tour
| Date Range: 10/20/1993 To 02/20/1994 ||
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| | Artists Orient Research Tour- 1993/94
When the work needed a little push in framework...and the epitome of pop culture influence was overwhelming, some impetus was needed in my art work.
Now the culture, our culture is a little narrow. I say this guardedly but I know it to be sort of a fact looking back. My artwork in those days was delicately formed, and the rush to put the art through in New York I felt had to be studied from primary levels. Pop culture did not do this for me. I always considered "Pop" art something of a mystery...yet it was all around me. Our syndicate of culture was influencing me and in some ways had a push behind it that was purely commercial. The edge of commerciality drove for profit and loss statements, but what about the art. Art should be a measure of Truth in my book. I had many studies for new work that were going up in galleries as well as the big market of New York. I was contracted to a gallery there for 4 years of exhibits and had offers left and right for some publications- often which I didnt accept because I needed to work on the output and its serious influence.
Of course our world and the world of internet was just budding. My personal work had positively nothing to do with this. I had hundreds of sketches that were puzzles unsolved for generations of work to come! Oh the world and the people dont care for this...they buy art because of compulsion. (Well sorry folks this is a serious artist here, with an almost too serious background in making the work that was to be sold)
I decided to visit the places of significant influence once again and maybe gain some perception of what it was that I wanted to be doing in my work. No, I do not work from photos and "heavens" Im not a poser but a serious artist...Hell if the world understood this one would, or might turn to some kind of understanding. I couldnt look for this in Phoenix, since there was little or no culture there that could possibly give me the breath and weight of what specificly I was looking for. And dogged I was to try to get blood out of a stone with much of the work that I was seeing about in different galleries, feeling misguided as to this or that compulsion...fame was too much of an example. Art was lost here.
Now there are places in the world where art is still being done. Im not talking about picture galleries or other exhibits of people that were famous who I could rub shoulders with or gain their insight...but art from a prime existence...the vision which I was working through, and had interest. (Incidentally I have not given this vision up as of 2010...but ride a peculiar time of our culture when we no longer consider art very valuable in our culture..I write in hindsight, and in particular respect to a time when I was "trying" to get some "real new art" in some good galleries. Now its unfortunately mostly what I consider photostat stuff or poser material...easily duplicated overseas..as I saw in numerous displays-Zerox Renoirs/Degas and rather puffy overslates of decorator art, at high cost in the west but literally produced in less than an hour in factories (which I saw). No my work will never...never be likd this-) During this time I was looking for "serious" material from former influences- tribal art,shamanic art- I needed the valuable "first experience of this"-not a book on this-but the straight story and one-to one observation of some process and proceedures. No...there is positively no way, not a way in heaven that I was going to get very much inspiration from my work in Phoenix, although some people suggested that I take certain courses at the university in order to get a primary idea of "things"-mostly photographs and others input. There were very few books on what I wanted...and if there were, these were probably pulled off the shelves long ago. Not that my Phonecian experience was difficult...there was little or nothing to draw from! A sense of vacancy and a search for things and ideas that were wanted was a inpetus for travel.
I went to Northern Arizona, being invited to some Native American Ceremonies...and I met with people (who are dead now c.2010) in regards to some ideas I was working on in my own work. Still I hold this a hard and fast secret. Some ideas that I had seen demonstrated in Native Ceremonies of the Navajo and Hopi had some resolve...no one would talk about some issues, and often I was finding that certain subjects were (protected) among native tribesmen. (This is of course is another story entirely). I had seen on past trips to the orient things which needed certain resolve...and I pressured myself for some singular purposeful research into areas of art that I found affective.
Lets face it...Sedona Art...and that area of expertise which sometimes has been paralleled to what-it seemed- that I was searching for was elementry. I went up there and was at total loss for words and ideas in less than a week. It was not Spiritualism I was looking for in Art. It was not Mysticism that I was looking for either. It was not style or tone, nor way of putting brush on paper or canvas...it was a certain thought- a way of thinking. My trips up to Sedona came up chuck dry for a real experience. Except for several wonderful artist whom I knew there at one time...all I found was one big commercial game.
I did my studies off the books.
A thought-function that would tranfer images in an abstract way to understanding...
Pretty vague but it was primary.
Im sure there are experts in the field who could help me...certainly,so I thought but it came up as dry as the desert not withstanding!
I knew what I had to look at was East Indian-Indonesian in nature. So I gathered myself-resources- packed my bags and went.
Now I had been there before. Im sure some thought this a tourist trip. (This is rather obvious idea among many..but not to me) I was going for the goat! I was going to meet several still living relics that perhaps may give me what was needed...or perhaps inspire me.
Now there are experts in the USA that know all this (So I am advised)
Workshops for Spiritualists and Shamen...this is what people generally think,but far far-far from the story! I was not going after a National Geographic Discovery...nor a Pablo Picassoesque inspiration- nor a trip to the go-go bars. (Gee Wizzzz.what peoples perceptions are in this day and age, when most dont have a clue)
Were talking an artist that has studied in New York and Europe and has the fully functional degrees of his expertise as well as residences in Europe (and study) and visits to Asia before...one place being Tibet. (no its not the Tibet-hotel) but the real issue 1985-an experience along with other experiences which has lead me to some vital euphorias in my realm, my art which is ecclectic and does pull from many cultures.
Oh...what have I got to say for myself! A ten-thousand dollar grant from a private firm just to do this...explore. What do I have to say for myself as an artist when the world at large is posted on one issue and one issue only...cold hard cash and profits, the driving force behind market economies and real estate...the godlike engineering of a culture! Who was I to be an artist, or explore the realms of that which I wanted...when the markets were often tilting. Money as an all too large Promethius was the only singular god that was supposed to save me, and the economic urge and testement to this was all too heavily laid on my shoulders. But a ten thousand dollar grant was provided...and it wasnt going to cost that much if I did this trip the way I designed. Perhaps, like I was told by a independant and gracious financeer...take the money and buy stocks and bonds! Invest in this and watch it grow! Or, do the silly thing and invest this in oneself and ones vision? I had two very marked choices. I had the trip covered and was eager to persist in my vision. Art is afterall "Heart". If its a financial heaven that I was looking for I would have dawned my thick spectacles and paper,paper clips and cell-phone and perhaps reached that heaven of millions and millions of dollars, locked away from the thing I loved most and put in a room...blank with art and rich with statistics and gleened a torturous millions from what I did know at that time. No...invest in ones vision!
As an artist I knew this was the "right"thing. Pencils and paper clips and the fumblings of administrative papers was not what I was looking for and did not contribute one iota to the process which I had built up over these years. It was not a sense of getting famous that I was going after either. (Although this just happened De-facto -at least as getting known in "referance" through, never mind the shows I have had or things I was going to do in the future)
Ticket in hand I packed my art equipment and two 400 page journals.
Kid you not..this was going to be an adventure...and it was going to be solo.
I said goodby to the people I knew and boarded an evening plane for Taipai form Los Angeles.
I told some people about some of my interests-but I do remember that the trip from their standpoint was "in one ear...and out the other". At least I had the experience and was going to make this one on my own (it was the first solo trip for aprox 24,000 miles)
-Koa Pangan-Koa Pipi
As the plane came into LAX I cried for more of the wonderful adventure that I had. First thing on my mind were the tribesmen in Bali who bid me a cordial 'going home" song. Tears rushed from my eyes as I looked up and out from the International terminal at Los Angeles. I remembered the little beautiful young lady in Bali who came to me and brought me fruit. I remembered the artists of Ubud and that one sculptor who made trades with me. I also remembered the sizzling heat of that place where I landed in Borneo that was snacking with mosquitos. But that was out there...all of those wonderful experiences.
My return to Phoenix was cold. People had wondered what happened to me. I tried to tell them, but they wernt interested afterall. (You cannot try to convey very much...just that I left and returned as one might have expected one did if on a much smaller trip to a city in the vicinity- but 24,000 miles had passed) As for Phoenix...it seemed empty and void. My journals were filled with information- videos-photographs. I tried to show these to people, but they were asking-what about the clubs...the beach shots..when I showed them a worn and torn Richard Ozanne coming out of a DC-3 on some chunky worn runway in Borneo. (no interest) The pictures of the artists-no interests, nor the material I brought back-except for a trade I had made with a blow-gun. That was interesting to most...that one column of air could anchor the dart in concrete 6o feet away was amazing to most! The art I brought back was un-interesting to them. I received snide remarks- how was your vacation...I laughed. I remember the Thai police episode and the walk through the jungle to meet tribesmen. I remembered the mosquito laden quanset hut where I had to spend two days..and the rather aweful fish dish that I shared with the natives. I do remember the jumbo shrimp, and several nights of good food however! But I dont recount a Hilton but I do remember getting poisoned..No this was not a vacation.
Other snipes conjured other quips. I was tired of this. The work that I had done did go to New York and a good show was made of it however. But that I didnt make the cover of Art News that year was something of a petty thing laid against me...only the show in New York City. (Two people from Arizona saw it!) I always found it rather petty the kind of remarks people make...of course they cant help themselves. Not too many artists out there...at least artists that can understand. No...in contrary all those people are artists, I have to be the one who learns from them!
Bankok-Koa Samui the South China Sea....
I took a flight in to Phuket, and then to Koa Samui, the delightful island in the South China Sea- Memories of the trip---Full Moon Parties and going out by private boat to see small islands such as Koa Pipi and several other small islands that were off the usual charter of tourists-
It turned into a rugged trip at one point when there was no place to stay and the only accomodations were a very rugged setting at a mosquito infested quanset hut. The Thais were delightful people and made this into a great adventure- Memories of taking a motorcycle to Naton and back again-by Tuk Tuk- Meeting a fellow by the name of "Little Buddah" and sitting with him on the beach discussing the metaphysics of the world. Of course this stay was only a couple of week stay before I was back to Bankok and then by bus up north to Chang Mai and Chang Rai, Temple Hopping---the old lady with the white hair--a shack with windows overlooking a wonderful temple-, then to Laos by bus and back again (just seemed like motion--I was tired at this point of so much going on-. A proposed trip to Cambodia-Waiting for a visa in Bankok to open for a trip to Ankor Vat in Kampuchea (Cambodia), joining some fellows who were up for adventure, somehow I was spared---(I heard later their ship was borded by Kamier Rouge, and some abandoned their boat and swam for their life--luckily I was spared with anything but a story of landing on a beach as machine guns go off left and right because somehow they had ended up in Cambodia and one of the crew decided to make trouble with the Cambodian border patrol, all hell breaking loose- a couple Thais missing and a couple of foreigners thrashing through reeds to get to safety after the patrol boarded their boat, made trouble- This was their story, but not mine---it could have been---I returned to Koa Samui but was outward bound to Indonesia and more adventure, not quite as hair raising.
Ticket onward to Indonesia and a return to Jakarta Bali-Celebes and Borneo
Landed in Jakarta- A day of hectic moving about trying to make a contact for some possible residency at a school that was provided to me but didnt come to pass---onward to Denpassar-
Remembering Bali- Ubud---
An unschedualed flight to Australia, making sudden changes in my iternerary---landing in Bali and finding the best of the best accomodations at a 1st class hotel for two nights- Pertamina Cottages-- Moving around Denpassar and Bali, greeted by an artist and his wife who offered me housing for as long as needed-
Offer in Ubud for residency- Trying to get a long-term visa for Indonesia-Waiting, talking to foreign residents about the parameters of living and working in Indonesia----Onward---A greeting from an old friend who was a driver who remembered me from years ago---1976 trip--A journey around the island and taking part in special ceremonies/the Fire Dance-Meeting the Shaman! Talking to the artists at work in Ubud---Reference to artists in the Celebes (Islands off Bali)--The once a week flight that lost a motor -flooded with smoke-mid-flight/ DC-4/1940's mix-master that made trips to the islands-didnt make it to the end of the runway on takeoff-up and suddenly down catching the runway like a rock-
I thought these machines were gone forever, big four motored propellered passenger craft that were breaking at the bolts but still used as semi commercial/cargo craft to and from the islands in the Celebes- That machine was antiquated, the inside was torn and rugged, the air wing skin darkened by years of use---The stairs pulled up and we went onboard--some crazy off-beat carrier orange and blue markings- Half the plane was used and tarped by cargo-- The hatch closed and given instructions as to proper use of the seatbelt lights came on as the machine gathered strength in all motors and we began to head down the runway to the end- The motors began to roar, a high pitched squeel was apparent as we gathered speed and then a loud thumping as an inboard motor started to flop as we were speeding down the runway towards assent- Black Smoke and little spurts of flames enshouded the motor followed by a tremendous bang as the rear wheels hit the ground immediately followed by the front- slapped forward- as we hit the runway again hard-white smoke coming out from the motors followed by a hissing sound-, the plane turning in and wildly to the edge of the tarmac tilting on one side off into the grass---the doors opening and anxious air travellers crowding to the door at the rear as it is opened--a ramp being pulled up---since I guess there was no inflatable slide that worked but gathered up and deinflated, old machinery it was clogged- We gathered and waited for the airplanes repair- something to do with the inboard engine-apparently something to do with an oil leak or something--We couldnt fly- and we didnt crash, that kind of landing can make one think about flying again, watching the machine being towed to a make-shift hanger for repairs, engine cowlings opened, mechanics scratching their heads as to what just happened, reading manuals from 1945- No problem, just stuck until another plane comes or the old one repaired- (Insert Videos)Getting stuck in a kind of WWII quanset hut-motel/hotel/bar in a room that looked like barrack from the second world war-Tough travellers housing-a bar with loud chatter and conversation- for about 15 people-rugged and soaked by the smell of sweat- A british fellow challenges me to a strange game of trying to hit the cobra--beating around the back of this place in the evening for lose snakes that may be around---given a stick and a bottle of Jim Beam- the escapade happens---Whoa a big Crate and a two-step. He had the only entertainment on the island which was a bar-motel/hotel of 5 rooms in quanset style/no airconditioning/ and conversation or a radio- More conversations-- A fellow Whoies--Bargained for a day of driving to see sights--there were no difinitave sites on this island for tourists, nor hotels-glamor- but wild yess---a throwback to some old movies in the towns we went through and dirt roads encountered, going over rivers and in through thicket- Whoies- Aboriginal fellow took me into the jungle to meet with natives of the Celebes-Eating at his brothers house-wild stuff-introduction to his daughter, trying to get me to take her back to America---strange stuff---The gift a statue with some good luck attached-- Dyak Art--Meeting tribesmen-the blowgun and the tree-man, bird and feather hunter- The ongoing flights into the islands skipping from island to island to Borneo--The weather was hot and steamy- drive by jeep into the jungles to a small native town where the last of the ___memory slip___artist/craftsman were still working--2 days out---Return to Bali- Watching the natives run-amok-some wild encounters in Denpassar- The return to Jakarta then to Bankok---Ongoing--Hawaii---\
Rough Data- Indonesia Travel
Stories form Indonesia and Borneo-Artistic Discoveries
Why would an artist like to view cultures so intensely different to modern western culture? Is it our own pride? Our own modernism? Our own elevated sense of what is the angular, regular and perfect? Or do we turn to television and the history so prevailent to today and popular to boot? What of truely ancient cultures--or those that are beginning to fade away into history, perhaps forever? Why integrate some of the relationships of old, and almost prehistoric cultures into an artists modern work? We see a great deal of African work in Picasso--but little based on Asian cultures, more specificly cultures that are out of the ordinary, and perhaps strange to our own modern sophistication- Now many of the native cultures of the world are being emancipated from their origins, modernized and liquidated- It is entirely possible that soon, and quite soon indeed we may not be able to reference these cultures as they sink into extinction- The artist has a chance to utilize some aspects of native Asian culture in his work- Does he use these elements? Why is it often seen in a very difficult way, to utilize some aspects of 'the strange' culture in relationship to what may produce as modern work? What possible significance could this have, if indeed at all?
This story begins upon arrival in Indonesia and makes reference to some native cultures which the artist Richard Ozanne has utilized in his work as well as travels. -As an artist I have seen these cultures first hand, made notes and references to these for future exhibits, but have to no end been confounded to the often 'unbelievable' aspects of people, not necessarily understanding, nor asking about some of my travels-as perhaps only exploits, but actual, explorations (artistic)or considerations in the utilization of some principles in my own art- As this story goes---and it is a true story of an artist on reprieve for new subject matter in the interior of the Asian islands of Indonesia-
Ticket onward to Indonesia from Thailand, a MD-80 (Garuda) makes its way from the terminal in Bankok and is on its way to Jakarta (Indonesia)-and a return to Jakarta Bali-Celebes and Borneo
I Landed in Jakarta, on the plane I met a businessman Mr. Berni who suggested I make some contacts with him as well as could stay for a couple of days with he and his family in a suburb apartment out of the city center while I get situated. Thumbing through my books of contacts I needed to contact the International school, a contact made abroad as to the possibility of living and teaching in Indonesia. Jakarta is a big place to get lost without contacts, Berni insisted as we drove across Jakarta and hauled my luggage up to his rather spacious apartment in the suburbs of Jakarta- I settled down, and was given a small room (their guest room to stay for my visit) I met the family and enjoyed a very comfortable meal with them as well as exchange of conversations that had been somewhat lacking over the course of this particular trip, from Thailand up. - The next day was a day of catching busses or cabs, as the case may be and trying to gain my contacts for the position which seemed still possible, at least via telephone, and a crude and slow internet from Naton where I last made contact. It so seemed I was right on the button for this position, considered and was going to make final contact this day in Jakarta. It was a day of hectic moving about by cab and bus in a foreign city- trying to make a contact for some possible residency at a school that was possibly provided to me. The head of the school was most kind and accomodating, our meeting formed at 4pm the next day at the International School where it seemed plausable that I would be teaching for the next year.
We met precisely at the time given. I sat down for tea and biscuts and was given a tour through the school where I would be teaching English and other courses as assigned. I was taken with the approach and the school as well as the number of international students, including Americans and British who had sent their students for study- (Perhaps they were the sons and daughters of consulate personalle or international business people who had residency here) After about a two hour meeting we talked about business. It was unfortunate that there was a bit of some difficulty getting the required visas while in Indonesia. For these I would have to apply from the US at the Indonesian consulate and then return for the position. Unfortunately this was a bit of a difficulty since I figured that most of the paperwork could have been completed there upon my arrival. I returned the next day and we discussed business again, but the position, which was open to me didn’t come to pass particularly because of some visa requirements and housing suppliment from the school (which might be offered later) That night I talked with Mr. Berni, and he offered me another position with his company out of Bruni (Borneo)- an oil/gas commodity. I was interested and I made inquiries about tickets to Bruni from the American Express office, finally purchasing the tickets on an onward flight from Denpassar (Bali Indonesia)-Making a booking for pickup at the airline office upon arrival, ---Onward to Denpassar-
I had a late arrival in Denpassar. The airport was clogged with passengers seeking outbound flights to other destinations. Upon arrival I was impressed by the new airport. On my first trip in 1973 to Bali, there was only a tarmac and a small place where passengers would turn around and disembark. I remember the old wooden and stone structure, as well as the old embarkment platform—a small staircase and a stone statue which went from the tarmac to a chain link fence ending at the parking lot. But this was now a big international terminal-modern and with all the conviences, quite a change than a one-flight a day arrangement for a 707- On the flight down from Jakarta, that was onward bound to Australia, (having booked stand-by last minute reservations) I met a British couple who were traveling to Bali for their first time. We talked a bit about accomodations upon arrival. This unfortunately seemed my 'unlucky' day since I had positively no reservations in Bali and was coming in unannounced during days of a festival where most hotels were booked solid. Someway, I gathered my luggage, went through customs and made my way to the taxi lot meeting my British friends who wished to share a cab to their hotel---It was now late---I agreed and we drove onward- Asking for reservations, I had to really spin one or I was going to be sleeping on the Beach that night, (since at the reservation desk of this particular hotel it seemed packed with people-cordial, but harried) I grabbed a brochure from the hotel that had on it the word--”reservations” in bold yellow printed on top. When asked about my personal reservations after waiting in line---I produced the brochure and pointed to the word “reservations” and asked if this is where I checked in. They gave me a white card---processed me through and I was on my way, given a private drive to one of the most exclusive hotels in Bali for an extension of two nights stay--
Here I was in Bali and finding the best of the best accommodations at a 1st class hotel for two nights- Pertamina Cottages-- The suite was two giganitc rooms with a double king size room-the freshest air coming through from an ocean view, and a basket of local fruit in a bouquet laid for me on a large teak table. Room service brought me breakfast to my room and there was a house man who, dressed in high collar and whites, was present for all my needs. I mentioned the need of a “driver” and I didnt need to inquire any furthur—it was done, and within an hour I had 3 drivers waiting for me to choose from.
This was classic style! The second day after my arrival I made a move to stay at the nostalgic hotel where we stayed a long time ago on the beach in Sanur. In those days there were only 3 or 4 hotels available—now Bali sports hundred to choose from in all price levels. The beach at Sanur had changed. It was no longer pristine white sand as far as one could see. The beach was now dotted by new construction and the sands were darkened with material washed up on shore---but there were memories at this small hotel from years ago—I was given the “best room in the house” upon my arrival. After check-in I turned around and a fellow was standing there looking at me with intense eyes, my driver standing along side him. I had wondered what happened for a minute but was cheerfully delighted. The fellow moved forward and grabbed my hand and smiled. He had been our driver before (remembering both my father and I as well as my mother from 1974)-Its amazing how strong memories are- Mr Imade was particular in giving me the best service as a driver at whatever rate he charged before for his services, the other driver smiling (and I giving him a substantial tip, smiled and was on his way with a smile) I sat for two hours with Imad talking about how he remembered me and then discussing our iternirary for several journeys around the island as well as the possibilities of travel to other islands, which he was specificly good at arranging as one of his friends had a charter air company outbound from Bali to Suluwasi, Celebes, Timor and into the islands of Borneo. Moving around Denpassar and Bali chasing air tickets. The ram-shackle “air cargo” company office where I bought tickets for cash onward-- I was a passenger on half cargo stops—apparently (this was going to be really interesting since I had no idea what kind of equipment we were going to be using on these flights) I was assured that I could use other “integrated” airlines if needed, or asked for- I purchased a ticket for Timor, the airflight leaving in a week at 6:30 am and then onward bound to several islands in the archipeligos of Indonesia, points of interest. Until then I would enjoy my stay in Bali---Imade agreed! We made arrangements to travel around the island and visit several temples, monkey forest and see some of his family on the north shore of Bali.
My time in Bali was wonderful and inspiring!
Visited monks in temples, had the ultimate of meetings and sit-down dinners on floor mats with the Balinese. Heard musicians and partook in the festivals-whether it be the Barong or the really rare Fire Dance (which I filmed this time around---remember how rare this special dance was a long time back. (The fire dance is a rare ceremony in its original where a Shaman walks on fire for nearly an hour---puts the flames out with his feet! It was a rare and sacred dance in its original form—but unfortunately tourism came in to make it a money-making turnout---but I viewed it in its original---facinating---more!)
I was greeted by an artist and his wife who offered me housing for as long as needed- We did some exchanges and I learned some customs, bought some of his handicraft and met with his family on several occasions during the evenings-
I had Offer in Ubud for residency- Trying to get a long-term visa for Indonesia-Waiting, talking to foreign residents about the parameters of living and working in Indonesia----Onward---A greeting from an old friend who was a driver who remembered me from years ago---1976 trip--A journey around the island and taking part in special ceremonies/the Fire Dance-Meeting the Shaman! Talking to the artists at work in Ubud---
I gained personal reference to artists in the Celebes (Islands off Bali)--At the end of the week I was on the tarmac of the air terminal, off to Timor and onward to visit and explore little travelled islands of the archepeligo. I remember waiting outside a metal hanger, talking with one other resident who was from Australia- garnishing the tickets with extra cash (for the interisland transport for the once a week flight- that lost a motor -flooded with smoke-mid-flight/ DC-4/1940's mix-master that made trips to the islands-didnt make it to the end of the runway on takeoff-up and suddenly down catching the runway like a rock-
Malek-Air Cargo (Ive forgotten the operator)
That old machine chopping the air, pulling around to its resting spot away from the commercial terminal-I thought these machines were gone forever, (There it was-A relic of the past) abig four motored propellered passenger craft that were breaking at the bolts but still used as semi commercial/cargo craft to and from the islands in the Celebes- That machine was antiquated, the inside was torn and rugged, the air wing skin darkened by years of use---The stairs pulled up and we went onboard--some crazy off-beat carrier orange and blue markings- Half the plane was used and tarped by cargo-- The hatch closed and given instructions as to proper use of the seatbelt lights came on as the machine gathered strength in all motors and we began to head down the runway to the end- The motors began to roar, a high pitched squeel was apparent as we gathered speed and then a loud thumping as an inboard motor started to flop as we were speeding down the runway towards assent- Black Smoke and little spurts of flames enshouded the motor followed by a tremendous bang as the rear wheels hit the ground immediately followed by the front- slapped forward- as we hit the runway again hard-white smoke coming out from the motors followed by a hissing sound-, the plane turning in and wildly to the edge of the tarmac tilting on one side off into the grass---the doors opening and anxious air travellers crowding to the door at the rear as it is opened--a ramp being pulled up---since I guess there was no inflatable slide that worked but gathered up and deinflated, old machinery it was clogged- We gathered and waited for the airplanes repair- something to do with the inboard engine-apparently something to do with an oil leak or something--We couldnt fly- and we didnt crash, that kind of landing can make one think about flying again, watching the machine being towed to a make-shift hanger for repairs, engine cowlings opened, mechanics scratching their heads as to what just happened, reading manuals from 1945- No problem, just stuck until another plane comes or the old one repaired- (Insert Videos of the day---)
Well of all the weird incidents one can have is getting stuck on an island where there is a flight every other day- and this island far away from commercial ports---Hot and Humid---So sticky that one can imagine that one is dripping motor oil---Asides from this---Getting stuck in a kind of WWII quanset hut-motel/hotel/bar in a room that looked like barrack from the second world war-Tough travellers housing-a bar with loud chatter and conversation- for about 15 people-rugged and soaked by the smell of sweat- A british fellow challenges me to a strange game of trying to hit the cobra--beating around the back of this place in the evening for lose snakes that may be around---given a stick and a bottle of Jim Beam- the escapade happens---Whoa a big Crate and a two-step. He had the only entertainment on the island which was a bar-motel/hotel of 5 rooms in quanset style/no airconditioning/ and conversation or a radio- More conversations-- A fellow Whoies--Bargained for a day of driving to see sights--there were no difinitave sites on this island for tourists, nor hotels-glamor- but wild yess---a throwback to some old movies in the towns we went through and dirt roads encountered, going over rivers and in through thicket- Whoies- Aboriginal fellow took me into the jungle to meet with natives of the Celebes-Eating at his brothers house-wild stuff-introduction to his daughter, trying to get me to take her back to America---strange stuff---The gift a statue with some good luck attached-- Dyak Art
From Google-quick ref-
The Dayak or Dyak (pronounced /'da?.?k/) are a people indigenous to Borneo. It is a loose term for over 200 riverine and hill-dwelling ethnic subgroups, located principally in the interior of Borneo, each with its own dialect, customs, laws, territory and culture, although common distinguishing traits are readily identifiable. Dayak languages are categorised as part of the Austronesian languages in Asia. The Dayak were animist in belief; however many converted to Christianity, and some to Islam more recently. Estimates for the Dayak population range from 2 to 4 million.
The consensus interpretation in modern anthropology is that nearly all indigenous peoples of South East Asia, including the Dayaks, are descendants of a larger Austronesian migration from Asia, thought to have settled in the South East Asian Archipelago some 3,000 years ago. The first populations spoke closely-related Austronesian languages, from which Dayak languages are traced. About 2,450 years ago, metallurgy was introduced; it later became widespread.History of the Dayak PeopleThe main ethnic groups of Dayaks are the Bakumpai and Dayak Bukit of South Kalimantan, The Ngajus, Baritos, Benuaqs of East Kalimantan, the Kayan and Kenyah groups and their subtribes in Central Borneo and the Ibans, Embaloh (Maloh), Kayan, Kenyah,Penan, Kelabit, Lun Bawang and Taman populations in the Kapuas and Sarawak regions. Other populations include the Ahe, Jagoi,Selakau, Bidayuh, and Kutais.
The Dayak people of Borneo possess an indigenous account of their history, partly in writing and partly in common cultural customary practices. In addition, colonial accounts and reports of Dayak activity in Borneo detail carefully-cultivated economic and political relationships with other communities as well as an ample body of research and study considering historical Dayak migrations. In particular, the Iban or the Sea Dayak exploits in the South China Seas are documented, owing to their ferocity and aggressive culture of war against sea dwelling groups and emerging Western trade interests in the 19th and 20th centuries.
During World War II, the Japanese occupied Borneo and treated all of the indigenous peoples poorly - massacres of the Malay and Dayak peoples were common, especially among the Dayaks of the Kapit Division. Following this treatment, the Dayaks formed a special force to assist the Allied forces. Eleven United Statesairmen and a few dozen Australian special operatives trained a thousand Dayaks from the Kapit Division to battle the Japanese with guerilla warfare. This army of tribesmen killed or captured some 1,500 Japanese soldiers and were able to provide the Allies with intelligence vital in securing Japanese oil fields.
Coastal populations in Borneo are largely Muslim in belief, however these groups (Ilanun, Melanau, Kadayan, Bakumpai, Bisayah) are generally considered to be Islamized Dayaks, native to Borneo, and heavily influenced by the Javanese Majapahit Kingdoms and Islamic Malay Sultanates.
Traditional headhunter cultureThe gallery in the interior of a Kajan Dayak house with skulls and weapons along the wall, exhibiting their headhunters culture.
In the past the Dayak were feared for their ancient tradition of headhunting practices. After conversion to Islam or Christianity and anti-headhunting legislation by the colonial powers the practice was banned and disappeared, only to resurface in the late 90s, when Dayak started to attack Madurese emigrants in an explosion of ethnic violence.
AgriculturalTraditionally, Dayak agriculture was based on swidden rice cultivation. Agricultural Land in this sense was used and defined primarily in terms of hill rice farming, ladang (garden), and hutan (forest). Dayaks organised their labour in terms of traditionally based land holding groups which determined who owned rights to land and how it was to be used. The "green revolution" in the 1950s, spurred on the planting of new varieties of wetland rice amongst Dayak tribes.
The main dependence on subsistence and mid-scale agriculture by the Dayak has made this group active in this industry. The modern day rise in large scale monocrop plantations such as palm oil and bananas, proposed for vast swathes of Dayak land held under customary rights, titles and claims in Indonesia, threaten the local political landscape in various regions in Borneo. Further problems continue to arise in part due to the shaping of the modern Malaysian and Indonesian nation-states on post-colonial political systems and laws on land tenure. The conflict between the state and the Dayak natives on land laws and native customary rights will continue as long as the colonial model on land tenure is used against local customary law. The main precept of land use, in local customary law, is that cultivated land is owned and held in right by the native owners, and the concept of land ownership flows out of this central belief. This understanding of adat is based on the idea that land is used and held under native domain. Invariably, when colonial rule was first felt in the Kalimantan Kingdoms, conflict over the subjugation of territory erupted several times between the Dayaks and the respective authorities.
The Dayak indigenous religion has been given the name Kaharingan, and may be said to be a form of animism. For official purposes, it is categorized as a form of Hinduism in Indonesia. Nevertheless, these generalizations fail to convey the distinctiveness, meaningfulness, richness and depth of Dayak religion, myth and teachings. Underlying the world-view is an account of the creation and re-creation of this middle-earth where the Dayak dwell, arising out of a cosmic battle in the beginning of time between a primal couple, a male and female bird/dragon (serpent). Representations of this primal couple are amongst the most pervasivel motifs of Dayak art. The primal mythic conflict ended in a mutual, procreative murder, from the body parts of which the present universe arose stage by stage. This primal sacrificial creation of the universe in all its levels is the paradigm for, and is re-experienced and ultimately harmoniously brought together (according to Dayak beliefs) in the seasons of the year, the interdependence of river (up-stream and down-stream) and land, the tilling of the earth and fall of the rain, the union of male and female, the distinctions between and cooperation of social classes, the wars and trade with foreigners, indeed in all aspects of life, even including tattoos on the body, the lay-out of dwellings and the annual cycle of renewal ceremonies, funeral rites, etc. The practice of Kaharingan differs from group to group, but shamans, specialists in ecstatic flight to other spheres, are central to Dayak religion, and serve to bring together the various realms of Heaven (Upper-world) and earth, and even Under-world, for example healing the sick by retrieving their souls which are journeying on their way to the Upper-world land of the dead, accompanying and protecting the soul of a dead person on the way to their proper place in the Upper-world, presiding over annual renewal and agricultural regeneration festivals, etc. Death rituals are most elaborate when a noble (kamang) dies. On particular religious occasions, the spirit is believed to descend to partake in celebration, a mark of honour and respect to past ancestors and blessings for a prosperous future.
Over the last two centuries, some Dayaks converted to Islam, abandoning certain cultural rites and practices. Christianity was introduced by European missionaries in Borneo. Religious differences between Muslim and Christian natives of Borneo has led, at various times, to communal tensions. Relations, however between all religious groups are generally good.
Muslim Dayaks have however retained their original identity and kept various customary practices consistent with their religion.
An example of common identity, over and above religious belief, is the Melanau group. Despite the small population, to the casual observer, the coastal dwelling Melanau of Sarawak, generally do not identify with one religion, as a number of them have Islamized and Christianised over a period of time. A few practise a distinct Dayak form of Kaharingan, known as Liko. Liko is the earliest surviving form of religious belief for the Melanau, predating the arrival of Islam and Christianity to Sarawak. The somewhat patchy religious divisions remain, however the common identity of the Melanau is held politically and socially. Social cohesion amongst the Melanau, despite religious differences, is markedly tight.
Despite the destruction of pagan religions in Europe by Christians, most of the people who try to conserve the Dayak's religion are missionaries. For example Reverend William Howell who has contributed to the Sarawak National Gazette. His contributions were also compiled in the book The Sea Dayaks and Other Races of Sarawak.
SocietyKinship in Dayak society is traced in both lines. Although, in Dayak Iban society, men and women possess equal rights in status and property ownership, political office has strictly been the occupation of the traditional Iban Patriarch. Overall Dayak leadership in any given region, is marked by titles, a Penghulu for instance would have invested authority on behalf of a network of Tuai Rumah's, and so on to a Temenggung or Panglima. It must be noted that individual Dayak groups have their social and hierarchy systems defined internally, and these differ widely from Ibans to Ngajus and Benuaqs to Kayans.
The most salient feature of Dayak social organisation is the practice of Longhouse domicile. This is a structure supported by hardwood posts that can be hundreds of metres long, usually located along a terraced river bank. At one side is a long communal platform, from which the individual households can be reached. The Iban of the Kapuas and Sarawak have organized their Longhouse settlements in response to their migratory patterns. Iban Longhouses vary in size, from those slightly over 100 metres in length to large settlements over 500 metres in length. Longhouses have a door and apartment for every family living in the longhouse. For example, a Longhouse of 200 doors is equivalent to a settlement of 200 families.
Headhunting was an important part of Dayak culture, in particular to the Iban and Kenyah. There used to be a tradition of retaliation for old headhunts, which kept the practice alive. External interference by the reign of the Brooke Rajahs in Sarawak and the Dutch in Kalimantan Borneo curtailed and limited this tradition. Apart from massed raids, the practice of headhunting was then limited to individual retaliation attacks or the result of chance encounters. Early Brooke Government reports describe Dayak Iban and Kenyah War parties with captured enemy heads. At various times, there have been massive coordinated raids in the interior, and throughout coastal Borneo, directed by the Raj during Brooke's reign in Sarawak. This may have given rise to the term, Sea Dayak, although, throughout the 19th Century, Sarawak Government raids and independent expeditions appeared to have been carried out as far as Brunei, Mindanao, East coast Malaya, Jawa and Celebes. Tandem diplomatic relations between the Sarawak Government (Brooke Rajah) and Britain (East India Company and the Royal Navy) acted as a pivot and a deterrence to the former's territorial ambitions, against the Dutch administration in the Kalimantan regions and client Sultanates.
Metal-working is elaborately developed in making mandaus (machetes - 'parang' in Indonesian ). The blade is made of a softer iron, to prevent breakage, with a narrow strip of a harder iron wedged into a slot in the cutting edge for sharpness. In headhunting it was necessary to able to draw the parang quickly. For this purpose, the mandau is fairly short, which also better serves the purpose of trailcutting in dense forest. It is holstered with the cutting edge facing upwards and at that side there is an upward protrusion on the handle, so it can be drawn very quickly with the side of the hand without having to reach over and grasp the handle first. The hand can then grasp the handle while it is being drawn. The combination of these three factors (short, cutting edge up and protrusion) makes for an extremely fast drawing-action. The ceremonial mandaus used for dances are as beautifully adorned with feathers, as are the costumes. There are various terms to describe different types of Dayak blades. The Nyabor is the traditional Iban Scimitar, Parang Ilang is common to Kayan and Kenyah Swordsmiths, and Duku is a multipurpose farm tool and machete of sorts.
PoliticsDayaks in Indonesia and Malaysia have figured prominently in the politics of these countries. Organised Dayak political representation in the Indonesian State first appeared in Kalimantan during the Dutch Administration, in the form of the Dayak Unity Party (Parti Persatuan Dayak) in the 30s and 40s. Feudal Dayak Sultanates of Kutai, Banjar and Pontianakfigured prominently prior to the rise of the Dutch Colonial rule.
Dayaks in Sarawak in this respect, compare very poorly with their organised brethren in Kalimantan, partly due to the personal fiefdom that was the Brooke Rajah dominion, and possibly to the pattern of their historical migrations from the Kalimantan Regions to the then pristine Rajang Basin. Political circumstances aside, the Dayaks in Kalimantan actively organised under various associations beginning with the Sarekat Dayak established in 1919, to the Parti Dayak in the 40s, and to the present day, where Dayaks occupy key positions in government.
In Sarawak, Dayak political activism had its roots in the SNAP (Sarawak National Party) and Pesaka during post independence construction in the 1960s. These parties shaped to a certain extent Dayak politics in the State, although never enjoying the real privileges and benefits of Chief Ministerial power relative to its large electorate.
Under Indonesia's transmigration programme, settlers from densely-populated Java and Madura were encouraged to settle in the Kalimantan provinces, but their presence was, and still is, resented by Dayaks, Banjars and local Malays. The large scale transmigration projects initiated by the Dutch and continued by the current national government, caused widespread breakdown in social and community cohesion during the late 20th Century. In 2001 the Indonesian government ended the gradual Javanese settlement of Kalimantan that began under Dutch rule in 1905.
From 1996 to 2003 there were systemic and violent attacks on Indonesian Madurese settlers, including mass executions of whole Madurese transmigrant communities. The violence culminated in the Sampit conflict in 2001 which saw more than 500 deaths in that year alone. Eventually, order was restored by the Indonesian Military but this was late in application.
--Meeting with a tribesmen Hiniku (there abouts trying to remember his name) He was taking me in to his villiage and showing me the native craftsman as well as meeting the Chief who gave me flowers and other things (probably as a westerner) The tribesman Hiniku then climbed a large tree, hung from the branches, his nimble body grabbing each limb as though he were a part of nature-Then he took from over his shoulder a blowgun/loaded it and dropped several birds right out of the air in front of me/ Of course we had to eat our capture-perhaps part of the experience/local fruits/Something on a skewer (Eating Bat Meat from the local Flying Fox-or Fruitbat) Tastes like chicken, but is sweeter and stringy- (As regards to getting sick-I didnt, but was always aware-)the blowgun and the tree-man, bird and feather hunter- The ongoing flights into the islands skipping from island to island to Borneo--The weather was hot and steamy- drive by jeep into the jungles to a small native town where the last of the ___memory slip___artist/craftsman were still working--2 days out---Return to Timor and then Bali- Two more days in Sanur and then off again to Bankok-
Watching the natives run-amok-some wild encounters in Denpassar- The return to Jakarta then to Bankok---Ongoing--Hawaii---
Upon completion of my trip, rather expedition, I arrived back in Phoenix- I had just gone through a remarkable adventure, almost imcomprehensible!
But one added note---that it was difficult to explain my travels or videos or any form of eclectica to many people I knew--simply no idea, and astoundingly little interest from anyone-The artist worked soon after on numerous works that incorporated these ideas for future exhibits in New York, ones planned--and others of future possibilities-Perhaps it was just an omen to continue on, do the research, utilize the material whether people understand it or not-giving a different and very definate texture to new work---unseen, challenging and difficult to conceive of---No its not travel art from postcards, nor derivitives of French art, so satisfying as though a mouth full of sticky sweet candy, but new art and personally researched material (not 1/20th of it here-written out on this journal) But some artists may agree that there is new material to be used in art--others may disagree, say its all written out, derived by internet, shown on television or in comparison too different to tolerate-
From the years 1994-2001 I utilized and incorporated numerous elements that I had learned from this set of travels- Whether accepted or entirely ignored, there is a loss here, not for the artist as this has been an engaging experience--looking deeply into cultures, understanding beautiful secrets unveiled and seeing them first hand and attempting a modulation into current artwork---
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