This note was posted on Facebook a few days after my return from Bali in January 2013:
“Back on my computer in Jakarta after a curious attempt to trace my father the painter’s footsteps in Bali – during the 50s and early 60s. It’s time to put together all my findings. What started as “I just want to see the village where father might have used to live”, became five days of rediscovery, with a series of lucky encounters with Big Names in the Indonesian Contemporary Arts in Bali, one clue that led to another to another, ‘site inspections’ that required certain degrees of imagination, motorbike trips in the rain, various nasi campur tasting sessions, and long talks about Balinese cultures and history with a community of local artists in the middle of rice fields, which happened to be in the very same village where Eat Pray Love was located. And a surprise reunion with my childhood ‘partner-in-crime’ Noni Andarawati. Cool, yes? 😉 Thank you Neka Museum (found Dad’s painting from 1952!); Oom Wayan Sika, Oom Made Wianta, Oom Nyoman Gunarsa and Wayan Wirawan for all the extraordinary stories – and I still can’t believe the 97 year old legendary Arie Smit still remembered very well the young Fadjar Sidik in Campuhan. And thank you especially to Gede Sayur and Luden House for supporting on-site this little project of mine. Oom Wardoyo Sugianto for the cool on-the-phone insights when I got stuck. And of course Mami Samich Faried thanks for your blessings. Little sisters Anindita ‘Dindiet’ Abdullah and Nataya Anindira, let’s go on. More pictures on the way. And next step? Thinking what would be best. Let me know what you think. Silakan kalau punya ide….”
A few days later, came these encouraging replies:
Suwarno Wisetrotomo Thx Amreta untuk info dan idenya. Saya merasa bangga (dan terharu) ketika menjadi kurator (bersama Anusapati) untuk pameran “MAESTRO” pada Desember 2012 lalu. Pada 2011, saya memberikan diskusi kecil di Jakarta, dengan topik “FADJAR SIDIK: PEMIKIRAN DAN KARYA2NYA”. Yap, Pak Fadjar adalah inspirator dan motivator. Ketika saya menjadi Ketua Senat Mahasiswa Fakultas Seni Rupa, Pak Fadjar adalah Pembantu Rektor III, sehingga kami terjalin pertautan komunikasi yang indah, inspiratif, kreatif, hingga akhirnya saya menekuni profesi Kurator. Doa saya untuk Pak Fadjar, semoga berbahagia “di sana” brsama NYA. Amin.
Risman Marah Hari ini tanggal 17 Januari 2013, besok adalah genap 9 tahun wafatnya pak Fajar. Guruku yang menarik aku menjadi pegawai negeri di STSRI “ASRI”. Kenal beliau sewaktu masih menjadi Ketua Jurusan Seni Lukis 1971, aku cah ndeso dari Sumatra yang ingin kuliah di ASRI bertemu dengan Pak Fajar. Banyak kenangan dengan Pak Fajar, boncengan Suzuki Anyar ke Muntilan…lalu ban nggembos…
Thank you everyone.
And so, this little project was born.
I knew Fadjar Sidik as a father. Not an ordinary one. I think my little sisters would agree with me. But I knew so little about him as an artist. I have certain memories from my childhood, and of course from my first ‘study’ trip to Bali with him and his students when I was nine year old. We went to visit magnificent places and temples. We met with Balinese and foreign artists. And during that adventure I got my first real photography lessons using his professional camera. Father told me a lot of stories. Father read to me mythology and folklores. Our first subscription was a set of encyclopedia for kids. That’s how I got to love astronomy and the kingdom of plants. When I didn’t behave, he locked me in his office where I could use his precious tape player with a headphone and listen to his collection of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky in marathon. I’m still best friends with those geniuses. No one would argue. I can’t live without their music. And when the boys in school and in the neighborhood were mean to me, he gave me Pippi Longstocking. Straight to the point. That’s what I knew of him.
I told you he’s not an ordinary father.
Dad passed away on 18 January 2004, and then the few years that followed, one story to another plus a series of events led me finally back to Bali to dig into these memories.
UBUD, SANUR, SEMARAPURA – JANUARY 2013
Instagram snaps from the trip that started this project:
UBUD – Luden House. The basecamp.
UBUD – meeting Wayan Sika
UBUD – visiting Arie Smit
UBUD – Campuhan village, at Arie Smit’s residence overlooking Campuhan river, the object of my father’s painting in 1952 (left) – reporting to my mom via WhatsApp from the rice field terraces of Ceking (right)
SANUR – meeting Made Wianta
SEMARAPURA – meeting Nyoman Gunarsa
ADD YOUR MEMORIES
As you see, I’m digging memories of my father, Fadjar Sidik the painter. I would like to hear your stories, stories from the old days. The funny, the quirky, the epic, possibly the super-natural things that you remember of him as an artist and human being. Oh, in short, ANYTHING. Any explainable or inexplainable things that might make you think of him. Who were you before and who you are now after meeting him.
I envision this website as that special place where I would document my activities digging memories and tracking stories from my father’s life. It is probably a personal journal at the first place, but it’s also a digital library where I will be able to showcase his artwork and their whereabouts. This will be a life-long search and undertaking! But look, my mother is more than eager to help me search, gather, scan and upload pictures and media clippings from what’s still left in the house. That’s also a good start, right? Facebook has trained her well 😀 This is going to be an endeavor where I would learn more about an artist I only knew as ‘father’ and thus, perhaps, through the findings, I would also find myself.
Obviously, seriously, I need your help to bring this project to life
<<< With my parents and little sisters in 2001. Once again, we thank you.