So many things have happened in my life- all those criticisms, biased attitudes and discriminatory comments- things I thought I could never get rid of in the past. But now, I believe I can.
Looking back, when did all that courage started? Was it the mid-to-late 1980s?
It was where my cosmoscapes-the spaces of nature where I look for solitude and shield from- began to occasionally depict living beings, something that was void from my previous works. If my memory doesn’t fail me, my first work with the appearance of a human being would be in “Cinta Kasih” (Mother Love), and subsequent works like “Permohonan Hijau” (The Green Prayer). My cosmoscapes also start to populate with living creatures like white horses, doves and seagulls- symbols of peace and freedom.
"Permohonan Hijau" (The Green Prayer) 1986
Oil on canvas
145 x 145cm
Sometimes I do not know what I want and am trying to paint, but it is the emotion that I’m trying to convey. It is like a ritual I undergo while I paint to process my thoughts, feelings and come to terms with myself.
More often than not, my works are like my reflections, it is an attempt to express how I feel or to uncover my identity within. Art is my personal way of expression, for things I just do not know how to speak of or am unsure if it is alright for me to share with the world. From mid-to-late 1980s onwards, it speaks of my struggles for self-empowerment and freedom from all those fears that crippled me before. Up till today, I may not be able to confidently express myself out rightly, but I’m willing and am striving to make a change.
In "Lucia Hartini, Javanese Painter: Against the Grain Towards Herself" (Wright, 1998) said to be turning point for life?
“Terjun” (The Dive) 1990
Oil on canvas
125 x 145cm
The work represents “a turning point in the artist’s personal development. For the first time, the full female figure is shown merging with nature. For the first time, nature is not uniformly stormy—at least the water into which the woman is diving is still. And for the first time, she is completely naked. She is also here completely free of attachments, whether positive ones like children, or negative ones like fears and spying eyes.”
It shows “a close, intimate, peaceful space and, in the split second depicted, there is harmony between woman and nature. Though we do not know what the outcome will be once she is submerged, I first read this as an image of great courage and the consequent serenity found in having given everything over to faith. I saw it as an acknowledgement of an individual at peace with her body, acting upon the will to merge rather than flee from something fearful in her environment, in a world which is no longer strange a, forbidding, and vast beyond the human dimensions”
Well, the work was done when I felt at “rock bottom”, completely lost in darkness and when I felt I couldn’t go on. It was particularly that experience which I translated onto the canvas. Probably, it wasn’t empowerment like what Wright assumed it to be.
But I guess in a certain way, there were still similarities in ideas, where the work did depict the struggles that I was trying to tide through with my ritual processing in Art. In comparison, this time I was relatively straightforward in what I wanted to express. So, it was indeed the first time I acknowledged my struggles and came to peace with sharing them with the world.
To say empowerment, not so much.
But to discuss differences, definitely.