Dewi Dian Reich Sawidji Gallery

Change and a Homely Wisdom. A Sawidji Story.

Change and a Homely Wisdom takes a look at the true integrity of the home and the wisdom from the signs around us.

On the 17th of September, Sawidji Comes Home Exhibition marked the beginning of a new phase in our journey. We moved from the idyllic scenery of Ubud, where we have always been and moved to the oldest part of Denpasar City. The move alone was touched by a rueful contradiction. Ubud is known to be where people go to escape the high pace of the city and refresh themselves. Instead, we found a sense of rejuvenation and revival from our move into the heart of Plawa Street, Denpasar.

The preparations were hectic and the process was turbulent with over-extended projects and deadlines. We can place the responsibility of that to the renovations that were taking place whilst we were getting ready to open. All in all, I believe this happened because it would set us in a fast-moving motion. Not to be too idle with the many excuses that can come in such an erratic and destabilising period.

Sawidji Comes Home is an exhibition of works from our artist community. In an act of celebration, we have a new home together here in Denpasar. We owe our newfound cosiness to serendipity perhaps and also to Made Kaek. As it turns out, Sawidji is now settled in the home where this artist was born.

Change and a Homely Wisdom Sawidji Article Art Community

Sawidji in Plawa Street

I love the fact that this unique and charismatic building has only ever been a family home. It has never found itself serving another purpose. Perhaps we have some of our rejuvenation from this house’s personal history.

First of all, it was a home to Made Kaek and his family. Secondly, it is now a home for Sawidji. Our friends, all spent time and energy to help get our place ready. The opening event agreed on was whipping us into motion and not a little bit of delirium. This first article is to commemorate that. I spoke on the evening of our opening but it is something so wholly important that it would not go astray to write the words here, to note its special memories.

Change Marks a New Chapter

Our chapter in our birthplace of Mas Ubud ended, and we have left our nest in the hills to land in the city’s centre. A place where our friends are closer and the house itself yields more opportunities for collaborative interactions. As an open room for collaboration, learning and discussions we could not have imagined something better.

The Wandering Spirit of Art

We often speak about collaboration in art. I often say that art is in everything. Art is a teacher, it is a friend, it is a vice, it is a hungry beast and a wise old sage. You can take the spirit that you can befriend in art and it can greet you anywhere. Somewhere surprising. You can see an old dog on the street and in his poise or his apathy, you may see a moment you wish to freeze into memory, capture into a sculpture or write into your poem. This house is like that.

The house that is now our home, is still evolving. It is the effort, the hands, the patience and the drive of many that create the ‘spirit’ within this house that feels like Sawidji. It’s not always logical, how strangers become friends and friends become family. But it stands to reason that it does, and it should.

Sawidji Logo

Sawidji and our Symbols

Sawidji is an old Javanese word that means united and focused. Our logo of the rice plant heavy with ripened seeds symbolises humility. In moving to Plawa, we are greeted with another wisdom. Plawa in Balinese carries a meaning of the development of a quiet and pure mind.

Bearing all that in mind, I like to think that in one’s journey through the loops and turns in life, we are given direction in hidden wisdom all around us. These are the symbols that surround us most prominently today. Unity, humility and calm clarity.

Nonetheless, though all the talk of home may sound sentimental, it can be noted that underlying the sentiment, perhaps my belief is best described in these words…

The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home.


Image: A top view of our courtyard. With the shape of the rice plant being laid out in terracotta mosaic. With contributions from Batu Belah Art Space and Made Kaek.

For the most part, we have many opportunities ahead to appreciate every process of art that our community shares with us. For the present moment, in this post, I wish to say thank you for the efforts and the warmth of everyone that have generously shared time and energy in helping us settle into our new home.

Most importantly, a home is where one should feel safe, nurtured and loved. For that reason, we will continue to give our best to this home for art. Art the teacher, friend, vice, the beast and the sage. As well as any other forms in which art wishes to appear to teach us something. We will do as is becoming for the home to welcome arts’ wandering spirits.

Once again thank you to our community and friends. Sawidji Lumbung Pari.

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