Thursday, April 09, 2009


post by shiyun

It is 11 p.m now.

I am sitting here revisiting memories of certain places, people and events that have happened to me. I have heard a monk said that if our mind were not so murky, we could visit the memories accumulated even before this life was born. This is all very good, but I think if this memory cannot make us admit our many mistakes and be thankful to those who are good to us, then it is completely useless even if we can remember all our past seven lives.

Village half-buried by volcanic ashes, Bali, Indonesia

I am also sitting here thinking how to be kind to children, whom we often bully by teaching them the proper things to do and getting angry with them when they can’t follow. Instead of sharing the sourness and sweetness of an orange, we teach them that it is round and o-r-a-n-g-e. Instead of realizing our own similar stubbornness, we get frustrated with them for being slow, uncooperative and refusing to learn.

Rocket Robot, Dongwook’s (10 years-old) creation for the coming exhibition

I am sitting here thinking about the sea, sand, mountain, rain and fields I floated through in Bali that day. I am thinking perhaps I should not bother living to a ripe, old age if my mind will cease to change from this moment. But I do apologise that my mind is like a boat drifting on a river.

Toyabungkah, Bali, Indonesia

You see when I was a child, I liked to destroy things. I tore papers, cut hair off my dolls, broke cups and wasted crayons on meaningless squiggles. When someone said “good”, I always said “bad”; when someone said “stop”, I never stopped. It was funny to see everything turned up-side down.

As I grew up, I learnt to make things. I put papers in clear plastic files, cleaned and dried my cups, ironed my clothes, combed my hair, and drew lines with a metal ruler. Because I was good at making things nice and perfect, many people liked me.

Then one day, as I was walking home, I saw an Oni. It was with a curious creature which had patches of colours on its body and resembled a cat. Although I did not know why, Oni and its cat followed me home that day. They came into the house and destroyed everything. The cat tore my wall paper, scratched my leather sofa and unrolled all the paper tissue rolls. While it was at that, Oni cut my bed into half.

I screamed “What are you doing? Nobody cuts a bed!”
It answered “Why not?”
Then it cut the legs of all my tables and chairs.
I screamed “Nobody does that!”
It answered “Why not?”
I cried “You’re destroying everything!”
It answered “No, I just want to make something beautiful.”

And so it did. I did not understand oni and the cat, but till this day I live with them. On certain days we annoyed one another, but we also laughed a lot.

cat and plant, onistudio

*** *** *** ***

Zai Kuning's solo exhibition

work in progress, onistudio

I could remember correctly, I thought the beginning of the process leading to the work started like this. One rainy night, around 2am, I was woken up by a constant knocking outside. My house is usually surrounded by noises of insects and birds, so I wondered if that was an unusually loud woodpecker. I opened the door, and to my surprise, I found Zai cutting a tree with a kitchen knife.

“What are you doing?” I asked, visibly irritated.
“I’m cutting this tree, it is sick!” he answered.
I said “But you’re killing the tree!”
Zai replied “No, I’m saving it!”
I asked “Ok, but can’t you do it tomorrow?” and he replied,
“No. Give me a minute and I will chase this devil away.”

Pencil drawing, Zai Kuning

And so he did. With his left hand holding onto an umbrella (which he eventually discarded), and right hand hacking the tree, the supposed sick tree was fell. The rain continued to fall and I collapsed back to sleep. I realized on the next day, that the tree was reduced to a termite hill. The termites were residing in that very sick tree. It was very puzzling experience.

Paisan and Zai, onistudio

Like I said, I thought that was the beginning of the work process. Thereafter , it was the visiting of Paisan from Thailand, who was here for his exhibition at Your Mother Gallery. He stayed in onistudio for three days and slept with the cat. He and Zai had fun playing with each other and it is also the first time I see Zai jamming with a brush instead of a guitar (or a kitchen knife).

With less than a week to the openeing, it is 1am now but there are still many busy souls in here working really hard.

Isa hard at work

Zai hard at work

to end off this note, onistudio warmly invites you to the opening reception of Zai’s solo exhibition

Some Came with Their Soul in a Bottle and
Left with Their Hearts Under Their Soles.

16 April. Thu. 7pm
Jendela (Visual Arts Space)
Level 2, Esplanade Mall

Haven't we not met for a long time? We hope to see you there.


Blogger komunitasbinatang said...

eating....drinKING.....worKING.....thinKING......talKING......reading.----ing...------ing..-----ing,......understanding " a world around " us !!
Keep going.......!
I love you, Oni !!

8:36 PM, March 22, 2010  

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