Jindee Chua, A Simple Life, 2011

Wooden plates and bowls, sizes variable
Artist Statement

A question was posed to Dalai Lama, “What is the thing about humanity that surprises you the most?” His answer was, “Man - because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn’t enjoy the present, and as a result he doesn’t live in the present or the future. And he lives as if he’s never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”

These words from Dalai Lama describe so well the reason I moved to Bali in search of a simple life back in 2002. Nine years had passed and I am reminded again of his words when I visited the village of Tenganan or Bali Aga – the ‘Original’ Bali. A simple life has different meaning and value for every person. For me it is doing things close to my heart, and spending time with people I love.

My work tries to connect the past with the present, tradition with modernity, the old with the new. The limited edition series of plates and bowls are made from antique lesung* of the Java and Bali archipelago. An essential tool in its time, the lesung yielded rice, our food staple. The lesung in my work are turned into contemporary objects.


* Lesung, also known as mortar in English, is a tool traditionally used for processing of paddy into rice in most villages in Java, Bali and other Indonesian islands for centuries. The lesung is typically made from a whole hard wood that is carved on the inside to form a centre hole, in which the paddy is placed. The paddy is then crushed with a pestle, a thick stick of wood, over and over again, until the rice is separated from the chaff.