Boedi Widjaja, Drawing on myth, 2011

Graphite on newsprint, 2 sets of diptych
print: 90 x 69cm each
Artist Statement

These drawings arose from a fantastical story told in the ancient living village of Tenganan, Bali. Today, its people are one of Bali’s largest land owners, with 1,000 hectares of communal property.

“The powerful king Bedaulu lost his favourite horse ... [The Tenganans] found the corpse ... their spokesman said they wanted only the land where the horse was found; that is, the area covered by the smell of the carcass ... Accompanied by the chief of Tenganan, [an official] walked for days, but no matter how far the two went, the smell seemed to follow them. Finally the official [said] ... he considered the land already covered enough, and the Tenganans were satisfied. When the official left, the chief pulled from under his clothes a large piece of the rotten flesh of the horse.” (Covarrubias, The Island of Bali)

Did the horse truly exist outside of the myth? At Tenganan, there was no trace of its physical being. What Widjaja saw instead was a constructed reality surrounding the mythical beast: the land, the village, the markings on the map, and a story told over and over again. Likewise, in Widjaja's drawings, he wanted to invoke an immaterial beast, to give it form by building it up through dots and lines. The subject was not an animal but an idea. Any verve perceived through the viewer’s gaze is one that was raised up in his own mind.