Indonesian and Belgian artists Arya Pandjalu and Sara Nuytemans tell us about their project Birdprayers, developed during a residency at Sika Gallery in Bali.

It all begun when we met on 'Landing Soon', an AIR program in Indonesia in November 2006. This residency program was organized by Cemeti Art House in Yogyakarta and Heden Den Haag (former Artoteek in The Netherlands). During this period we had a lot of interaction but we were not thinking of making a collaboration project: we all focused on our own work. After three months, when the residency was finished, Sara went back to the Netherlands but we stayed in close contact. We talked a lot about the differences in our cultural, social, religious and geographical background. It fascinated us. It was a good starting point for creating something together and the idea for our project Birdprayers was born. We wanted to start our project on Bali because of its environment, which was new to the both of us. We were very happy that Sika Gallery in Ubud gave us the opportunity to develop our idea in a 1,5 month residency in August 2007.

When working on our project we got to know more and more about the Hindu culture on Bali and how that relates to our cultures. We saw for example the beauty and the strength of the Balinese religious community, within which everybody knows their position and their function, but at the same time we learned more about how suffocating their closely knitted community can become. This kind of human dualities made the concept of our project Birdprayers even stronger.  

The concept of Birdprayers is based on the ridged aspect of identity and on the fact that human often uses himself (and his own background) to relate to the rest of the world. With Birdprayers we want to talk about the relativity of thoughts and feelings and about the relativity of what we believe.

We made Birdprayers an interdisciplinary, intercultural and ongoing art project, which has to travel around the world to get even stronger.Till now we made two parts of the project: one in Ubud, Bali, and one in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (with a discussion at IVAA, Indonesian Visual Arts Archive). The next one will be in The Netherlands and after that we want to continue in other parts of the world. Birdprayers focuses every time in one or more disciplines: videos, performances, installations, sculptures, drawings, paintings, prints, readings, discussions and other forms of communication, sometimes in collaboration with other artists. The final visual result of this project will be a video compilation of all the different places we went.

Arya Pandjalu & Sara Nuytemans