Bundanon Tales Of Land + Sea

Rebecca Varidel
25th Jan 2024



Jumaadi, Telling Tales, 2016

Bundanon has today announced further details for its 2024 Exhibition Season 1: Tales of Land and Sea, open to the public from 2 March – 16 June 2024. Three major projects will be presented across the galleries of the Art Museum, exploring storytelling, mythological narratives, migration and the diasporic experience, by renowned contemporary artists Jumaadi, Sancintya Mohini Simpson and Isha Ram Das, as well as Arthur Boyd’s collaboration with printmaker Indra Deigan.

Indonesian-born, Sydney-based artist Jumaadi will present new and past works in a survey exhibition titled ayang ayang. Referring to the idea of the shadow, ‘ayang ayang’ suggests a physical presence and psychological condition: a silent self, following its owner through life’s journey, and the weight of history and loss which haunts the present.

Working across a range of media, including drawing, painting, installation and performance, Jumaadi’s practice is informed by personal experience as well as the political and aesthetic lineages of his homeland, including wayang kulit, a tradition of shadow puppetry originating in Java and Bali. This exhibition will bring together key works from the past decade, including the artist's celebrated works on cloth and buffalo hide, as well as new works created in Indonesia and developed on site at Bundanon through a residency. A selection of Javanese historical artefacts contextualises the exhibition, expanding on the techniques and mythologies that have influenced his practice.

The exhibition will also feature the live work, The Sea is Still a Mystery, encompassing Javanese folklore, music and shadow puppetry. Drawing on pre- and post-colonial trade routes around the Indonesian archipelago, the work speculates upon the Chinese and Arabic wrecks which lie submerged beneath the waves. This work will be presented in the Art Museum in the form of a new video commission and will also be brought to life in front of a live audience at the official opening on Saturday 2 March.

Sancintya Mohini Simpson and her brother Isha Ram Das, descendants of indentured labourers sent from India to work on colonial sugar plantations in South Africa, will present a new sculptural and sound installation, alongside Simpson’s works on paper. The exhibition is titled par-parā / phus-phusā, which translates as ‘to speak incessantly / to whisper’. The artists’ works navigate the complexities of migration, memory, and trauma by addressing gaps and silences within the colonial archive to develop new narratives and rituals.

Simpson and Ram Das will present Vessel (4), a new sculptural and multi-channel sound installation developed in residency at Bundanon, incorporating earth, ash and clay lotas (vessels). The new work forms part of a wider collaborative project by the artists, which seeks to create a restorative experience for the body. This work will be augmented by a new series of Kōlaṁ designs in sugar cane ash on handmade paper. Traditionally made from rice flour, Kōlaṁ designs are made at the entryways to homes by South Indian women. An often unseen practice of women’s labour, the flour is renewed daily, feeding the bugs and birds, functioning in part as a circular system of regenerative care.

The adjoining gallery will showcase an artist’s book of collagraphs by Arthur Boyd, and woodcuts by West Javanese printmaker and designer Indra Deigan made in 1993. Titled Sangkuriang – A Legend of West Java, the book depicts a traditional Indonesian story, selected by Indra Deigan, reflecting her heritage, at the same time engaging Boyd’s lifetime interest in mythology. Driven to develop new techniques and mediums throughout his career, he was first exposed to printmaking in his teenage years and began exploring etching and drypoint in the 1960s. In 1989 Boyd learnt about making collagraphs from Indra Deigan's husband, printmaker Anthony Deigan, and went on to produce a considerable number of collagraph prints with him. The book was designed, printed, and bound with the help of Anthony Deigan at the Graphic Investigation Workshop, Canberra Institute of the Arts, Australian National University, in an edition of ten, three of which are part of Bundanon’s Collection. 

Rachel Kent, CEO said: Together, these exhibitions explore significant cross-generational stories of migration and the movement of people and goods across the sea. Drawing from both personal narratives and Eastern mythologies, these important works highlight age-old themes of longing, displacement, cultural connection and belonging.

Bundanon will celebrate the official season launch of Tales of Land and Sea on Saturday 2 March 2024. The proceedings on Saturday afternoon will be complemented with an afternoon of ceremony, storytelling, and conversations with Jumaadi, Sancintya Mohini Simpson and Isha Ram Das.

The exhibition season includes an extensive public program of talks, workshops, concerts, and other live works, giving audiences the chance to engage with all the elements of the season. The full public program will be released in early February 2024.

ABOUT BUNDANON: Established in 1993, Bundanon was gifted to the Australian people by Arthur and Yvonne Boyd, representing one of the most significant acts of philanthropy in the history of the arts in Australia. Bundanon is located on 1,000 hectares of bush and parkland overlooking the Shoalhaven River, on the South Coast of New South Wales, two and a half hours from Sydney. 

Bundanon’s mission is to operate the property as a centre for creative arts and education, for scientific research and a place to explore landscape and engage with First Nations history and culture. Bundanon’s residency program for visual artists, writers, musicians, dancers, performers and scholars, and its learning programs, are an investment in Australia’s future. Bundanon is supported by the Australian Government through the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications’ Office for the Arts, Create NSW, the University of Wollongong, Landcare Australia, and a range of other foundation, bequest, and philanthropic contributions. The Collection features some 1,448 works by Arthur Boyd together with Boyd’s contemporaries such as Sidney Nolan, John Perceval, Joy Hester and Charles Blackman. In addition, Bundanon has an archive of artist books, scripts, compositions and working models related to artwork developed on the properties through the Artist in Residence program. 

Bundanon’s Artist in Residence program is the largest program of its kind in Australia and spans a 30-year history. In 2023, over 150 multi-disciplinary artists and researchers will be in residence at Bundanon. Bundanon’s residency program is for visual and performing arts, literature, science, dance and music. It provides important career opportunities for artists and researchers to develop their work in an inspiring environment. Artists and researchers are hosted in purpose-built studios and rehearsal spaces on the organisation’s secluded Homestead Site.