26 August 2022

Mural for Bega gallery speaks to relationship between town and Indonesia

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Artist Dias Prabu stands with his batik works. Photo: Dewi Bukit.

A connection is being drawn – or rather, painted – between Indonesia, the Yolngu people and the town of Bega through a new public artwork.

This month, Indonesian artist Dias Prabu has been working with two local artists at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery to paint a mural on the gallery’s building site hoarding.

“Dias Prabu, a mural painter and creator of batik tulis (hand-drawn batik) from Yogyakarta, will be assisted with his work by local artists Stan Squire, Mike Barnard and Ness Mercieca,” gallery director Iain Dawson said.

“This is an exciting way to enliven the building site for the new gallery.

“To have an artist of Dias’ calibre here is such an honour and it’s a great way for artist peers to connect with each other across national borders.”

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The mural speaks to the connection between the Macassan people of Indonesia and the Yolngu people of the Northern Territory, as well as the developing relationship between Indonesia and the Bega Valley.

Dias Prabu, Jaeko Sieno, Dewi Bukit, Andika Ananda stand with Bega Valley Shire Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick at the gallery. Photo: BVSC.

In 2014, Mr Prabu won a mural design competition at the National Gallery of Indonesia and his mural was painted on the wall of the gallery, where it remains today.

In his batik works, he uses a traditional hot wax canting tool to create large-scale, hand-dyed textile works.

The designs are informed by Indonesian folklore and legends represented by drawings of hybrid figures, mythological beings and contemporary refiguring of traditional Indonesian motifs and symbols.

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During the painting of the mural in Bega, Mr Prabu’s contemporary art group Kultura Collectiva also performed a traditional Indonesian dance onsite.

Mr Dawson said the redevelopment of the regional gallery was moving towards a summer opening date.

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