Despite things going a little belly up for us last Saturday regarding getting things signed and sealed for the Banana field ( see Best Laid Plans, A Hindu Priest, And Three Blue Thumbprints) everything thankfully turned out just fine on Monday. Wayan was secretly quite pleased that we couldn’t finalise the contract on Saturday, the reason being that for Balinese Hindu’s, Monday 23rd was considered a more auspicious day on the Lunar calendar than last Saturday. So auspicious in fact, that her brother had marked it as the day to hold the Blessing ceremony for the new family temple that he has recently built to bring the God’s to his home. In truth, I also knew that Monday was a better day for the contract, but as it was a working day for us it would have been impossible to take Monday off to do the signing. It’s funny how it all worked out for the best in the end, I think it was meant to be.
The Irishman is now in the penultimate year of working on his Fine Art Doctorate. Little did I know when I met him on a blind date 3 years ago, how much involvement I was going to have in this too. We started making work together in December 2009 and to date we have made films in Estonia, the UK and now Bali. Although the Irishman is a consummate painter and printmaker, his work over the past couple of years has all been based on Performance. His faith and trust in me is extraordinary as I am no professional, but his confidence in my direction and my instinct, makes our working relationship a very creative and loving experience. Whenever possible I use an ancient Bolex 16mm film camera which I love because of the grainy quality and the movement. For the stills, I use an equally ancient Hasselblad. Everything is backed up digitally in case I mess up (which I sometimes do!) but we much prefer the qualities of real film over digital any day of the week. Here is an example of some of the work that we made last year. Pete Nevin | By Doctorate Fine Art 2010 | Category: Arts – Blurb www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1385451 27 May 2010 – Book title: Pete Nevin, Subtitle: ‘Book One: Ten Books of the Fortune of Love’, By: Doctorate Fine Art 2010, Category: Arts & Photography.
Badly behind with making the work that he needs to submit for this year’s doctoral show in June, (due to having to focus on University work here in Jakarta) on Sunday we took an hour and a half car journey to a village north of Ubud called Gianyar Tegallalang. Wayan’s Mother-in-law, along with 15 other brave villagers had kindly agreed to act as paid extras in our film. It was midday when we arrived, and scorching hot. One of the boys was sent up a palm to cut down coconuts for us to drink from as I set up the cameras and the Irishman changed into his Chinese pyjamas. The villagers, having overcome their initial shyness, were soon in absolute hysterics laughing as he then strode out into the padi with his pyjama bottoms rolled up, stepped into the muddy field and surveyed the location. For two hours we filmed and took pictures. It was an incredibly happy afternoon and some of the best fun that we have had in ages. Wayan’s Mother-in-law and friends were an absolute joy to work with and I think that they all loved it as much as we did.
Irishman and I had decided to get the last flight back to Jakarta on Sunday evening. Around 6pm we had a sudden and unexpected surprise visit from Wayan and her husband, Kutut. We had been invited by the family to go to her brother’s house and see all the decorations and blessings that had been made in preparation for the big ceremony that was being planned for the following day. Irishman and I hopped onto the back of their mopeds and sped off to Sanur to join the family gathering. What an evening! For the 2 hours that we were there, there was a constant stream of visitors, each of who arrived laden with gifts for the feast that was being prepared for the following days celebrations.
30 kg of uncooked rice, along with bowls of chicken and pork, vegetables, fruit, sweets and cakes, bags of coffee and tea, bottles of water steadily kept arriving. Women all about us were starting on the preparations for the cooking for the 200 expected guests invited to the following mornings ceremony, whilst others looked after babies or prepared the woven plates, and plastic cups for the table. The children sat glued around the loud television that was playing a DVD of The Mahabharata. They screamed and laughed loudly at the antics on the screen clapping their hands in appreciation of this most traditional and revered story. The Irishman and I sat transfixed as we watched the domestic scene being played out in front of us. We felt so honoured and privileged to have been invited to this intimate family gathering. The blessings and decorations had taken 5 days to prepare and the new temple draped in yellow and gold fabrics, made a magnificent backdrop to this unique evening that we both felt so fortunate to have been made a part of.