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‘Nasi Boboko’ means ‘coconut rice’ in bahasa. The coconut is a resilient fruit that has been able to survive in relatively inhospitable weather with virtually no maintenance, just like most women!
In this composition, it is middle aged / senior ‘everyday women’ who are being honoured. Just like a hibiscus flower that only blossoms for a day, this painting pays homage to the passing of beauty, and how the feminine principle underneath beauty and sex is nurturing, hardy, protective, hardy and nourishing, deserving of deep respect.
In this mickey mouse, karaoke culture that our post modern world finds itself in, many asian women are engaged in domesticity and small businesses that often keep the entire family sheltered, clothed and fed, and they are often taken for granted.
The two women in the composition are both wearing ikaat textiles / sarongs that will probably not be perpetuated by the present jeans and t-shirt wearing generation. In that same vein, the artist has depicted Indian tiles in the background, which can be seen all over South East Asia. These tiles are not made anymore, and are being replaced by anonymous, homogenous alternatives.
The above metaphors depict a world in transition. The painting largely consists of women, flowers and dessert (cendol). Women have often been called ‘sugar’, ‘honey’, sweety’, ‘pumpkin’ etc. Eatable sexuality with an expiry date?!
Coconut rice is a meal Indonesians partake in everyday, and like most food, we forget what we eat soon after our stomachs are full! Likewise, our lives are made up of many meals or experiences that are so ordinary that we do not even consciously acknowledge them. Our wisdom and strength lies embedded in our often invisible, un-remarkable lives; in our ability to generate and perpetuate love. This painting is my way of congratulating all Indonesian women; they have touched me in ordinary ways; with their smiles, jokes, hospitality and kindness. I have spent much time there, and have learnt so much from the women of this archipelago.