Trees and Time Old Friends

Trees and Time Old Friends, a conversation with artist Harijadi, written by Dewi Dian Reich.

The topic ‘Inauguration of Trees‘ continue this month at Sawidji. Our community are sharing their thoughts and reflections that have emerged from Delo Made Budiarta’ invitation to reflect upon trees with him.

Our recent conversation with Nyoman ‘Butur’ Suantara in ‘I Hear You Tree’ still resonate with us. Through the simplicity of black and white photography, we are able to enjoy perhaps a deeper beauty of what we are seeing. It is perhaps just right, that now I sit with artist Harijadi, who came for one of his regular visits. An artist with extraordinary mastery of black and white ink. Harijadi’s method is astounding. Reflecting the patience it requires and precision of detail to render his landscapes so perfectly.

Part of Harijadi’s subject matter has been the environment that he resides in. The many beautiful places that we are so fortunate to have here in our own backyard. Trees have been a primary subject matter for the most part from very on in his early career. Often, on the grounds of Bali’s Temples.

Trees and Time Old Friends
Bunut Bolong, Harijadi 2021

Why Trees?

Since I started to be able to digest and understand what I see, trees are one of God’s creations that amaze me. Because trees are not only a vital element for the sustainability of life on earth and everything in it, but trees also provide many teachings for my life.

The longer it grows on the earth, even though it is getting older and older, it does not become weak, old or fragile. But instead it will look become more solid and strong because its roots are firmly gripping the earth. And artistic. Tree, the bigger the physical shape, the more useful for as many people as possible, even if it’s just for shelter.

Some of this, is perhaps why I like to draw trees.


Trees and Time Old Friends

When I heard this I thought, how remarkable. it made me think ..”time is a friend to trees”. Time might tolerate us and most other things, but Time definitely shares a deep friendship with Trees. Perhaps there is trust between them. Time knows of Tree’s constancy.

Therefore, Time rewards its constant friend. The older Tree becomes, the stronger, the more majestic, and awe inspiring they become. Of all the living beings to be on this Earth, Trees are perhaps some of the oldest to grace our Earth. For hundreds and perhaps over a thousand years old. Trees return that friendship. In their very bodies they reflect the movement of time in a beautiful pattern.

The Artists’ Method and the Tree

From a glance, you can see that Harijadi’s work is technical, controlled, precise and methodical. Requiring practically a meditative state to complete. The technical precision of his method contrasts the organic fluidity of his subject matter. Maybe, that is what makes his works so captivating.

When we were discussing the challenges posed by treating large trees as his subject matter he shares more of his own feelings throughout his process. About his own reactions to the beauty of trees.

Especially Banyan Trees, because there are so many tentacles and complexities in the Banyan tree. The more complex the more challenging and enjoyable I find the execution of the drawing. The Banyan tree is beautiful, in itself already artistic. Enticing you to draw it. Even when you don’t do anything to the Banyan tree, simply transferring it onto paper or canvas,.. they are already art in their own right.

Amongst friends, when they see my work, they enjoy it, much of this is simply the unadulterated beauty of the Tree.


For this conversation, Harijadi left us with the following contemplation..

Trees and Time Old Friends

For human beings, as we get older, we endeavour to still be useful, not to become a burden. As we get older we have more experience, let it be useful for the young. And that in itself is a form strength and being able to protect and shelter the young. By helping them to avoid the same pitfalls and mistakes that we made.


I have been an avid listener. This past month, on the conversations that have emerged within our community. Upon a topic that our fellow artist Delo had begun. ‘Inauguration of Trees‘. I know we said we would be reflecting on this for this month. But frankly, I hope we will keep on remembering, reflecting, exploring.. always on the beauty of Trees. Their generosity, fortitude, and the greatest beauty perhaps in the wisdom they impart. Resounding even more so in the wisdom they inspire in us.

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