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To Laugh

by S. Teddy Darmawan

To laugh is no longer easy,
to smile is not a choice, but a chance.
Laughing at oneself is an effort and a wish.

Up to this point I have been worrying about my own self.
And ask again: what else can I do?

Time is turning upside down,
Old questions reappear one by one,
reconsidering the old questions,
striving to answer them again.

The event reminds me: may good things happen again, and indeed they will already be

I first met Sin Sin in Jogya, came on the backseat on Yunizar's motorbike to Theresia Agustina Sitompul's rented room, not long after the big earthquake that devastated Jogya. At that time, my own art studio was destroyed, so I worked in the porch of Tere's rented room which was quite pleasant because her place was actually a home stay for tourists. We lived together there for sometimes until eventually we got married. As I was only staying there temporarily, in the beginning I worked only with paper as my medium. In the end though, I had no qualms to take over Tere's room and made it my own painting studio where I paint on canvas, my main medium, as well. (Pictures of these can be seen in the Indonesian Invasion book, taken by photographer Rolland Hagenberg).

Back to Yunizar who drove Sin Sin on his motorbike to visit me. We had a lengthy chat, discussing my works on paper. It was such a hilarious conversation due to my very limited English.

There were many happy and crazy moments with Sin Sin. Once - Sin Sin, Bob and I drove around the streets of Hong Kong at dusk on a convertible with hip hop music blasting loudly. Bob sat at the back in his fur coat with his Zombie-like dreadlock hair fluttering in the wind. We went to a Chinese Opera afterwards. Sin Sin liked me and immediately she felt like an older sister to me - especially in spiritual matters. Maybe because we both are crazy. It could be said that I am part of the second generation of Indonesian artists who joined Sin Sin together with Bob Sick and Ugo Untoro, after the first generation of Indonesian artists who have been exhibiting widely with Sin Sin such as Alfi, Yunizar, M. Irfan, Rudi, etc. Spontaneous, great sense of humor, honest, entertaining and educative. She always sends me good wishes. She is sad whenever she got angry with me because of my alcohol addiction, I was always drunk. She let us stay in Villa Sin Sin in Bali when Tere was expecting with our child. When Blora Frida was born, again we were invited to stay in her Villa. Every morning she taught us to practice Tai Chi on the beautiful and refreshing beaches of Bali. I have always loved Bali.

The most wasted of all days is the one without laughter ( E. E. Cummings ).

To create art is something that I have always dreamed to do in my life. In this matter, I learned a lot from my Balinese friends in the art academy: Putu Sutawijaya's gang, Made Sumadi , Pande Ketut Taman and Mahendra Mangku; about their tireless, spirited fight to create, how they place to paint as a glorious number one priority in their life, how at any time there would always be a piece of blank canvas ready for whenever inspiration strikes. Anything and everything could be transformed into either art media or subject matters. This was something that fascinated me, made me cry quietly, deeply. This made me realize that I could form a thought and that my thought could be right and have to be voiced and recorded. I feel the need to share my opinions to others through visual shapes that I imagined in my head, to be completed with my thoughts on things that impressed me, or say, certain moments that came to me.

Because for me, to create is my way to voice my thoughts, to show certain moments that I cannot engineer or fake into being. I do take considerations of shapes, although in the end, they would have to conform to the moment that existed at that time.

There are two aspects affecting the artistic shapes in my works: physical and non-physical. The physical concerns the materials I use to create, which usually depends on which materials I happened to feel attracted to at that time. The non-physical concerns my emotional, sentimental and subjective worlds which form a deep impression or thought that naturally and spontaneously drives me to create, enthusiastically following the lines, shapes and senses that unfolds the story within.

Drawing is a very fundamental thing to me. I found now that drawing is very important; it is something that I cannot do casually or mindlessly as if it is a study before the work. I have just realized that I also need certain moments to draw. Hopefully this is a good moment to write. Come on, Sin Sin - let's create more moments!