My Love is in an Island Far Away, is a major solo exhibition of commissioned artworks by the internationally acclaimed visual artist Jumaadi, who was born in East Java, Indonesia and who currently lives and works between Yogyakarta, Indonesia and Mosman, Australia. My Love is in an Island Far Away, takes inspiration from the celebrated poem of the same name Cintaku Jauh di Pulau, by one of Indonesia's most important writers, Chairil Anwar. The exhibition imagery traverses the histories and narratives that weave between our neighbouring countries of Indonesia and Australia. In several new series of artworks including paintings, hand tooled buffalo hide works and major large scale installation works, Jumaadi responds to and interprets the historical events of the internment of Javanese political detainees, who lived in exile in the Dutch penal colony of Tanah Merah, Digul, Western Papua from 1926 and were eventually stationed in Cowra, Central Western New South Wales at the request of the Dutch colonists during the Second World War (1943 - 1944). The artist juxtaposes these little known and dark events in our nations’ shared histories with Chairil Anwar's epic and folkloric narrative tale of voyage, longing and love. In staging the exhibition My Love is in an Island Far Away, Jumaadi invites audiences to revisit the past through a new lens of creative imagery that re-imagines these difficult stories through a range of visually arresting and poetic artworks that speak to human resilience, the power of beauty and the enduring nature of love: of people, of culture and country.
Image: Jumaadi, Boekan Katjoeng [Not the 'katjoeng' (The Savage)], 2019, acrylic on cotton primed with rice paste, 152 x 330cm. Photo: Tim Connolly