TAASA Review Issues

March 1996

Vol: 5 Issue: 1
Editors: Ann MacArthur & Robyn Maxwell

Cover Photo
Affandi, Indonesia, 1907-1990
Self-portrait 1944
watercolour, ink on paper 50.5 x 32.5 cm
National Gallery of Australia

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Editorial

Robyn Maxwell

Despite its strong Sydney base, TAASA is, in fact, the only Australia-wide organization supporting the arts of Asia. There are, however, strong regional groups with interests in specific aspects of Asian arts. The Melbourne-based Indonesian Arts Society is undoubtedly one of the oldest and most successful. The IAS has generously agreed to support this issue of the TAASA Review financially, and through a series of articles on aspects of Indonesian art and culture by IAS members, many of whom are, of course, also ‘card-carriers’ of TAASA. The IAS committee hopes that this will provide an introduction to the activities of the society, and welcomes inquiries about activities and membership. The next major event is the wayang kulit performance outlined in this issue.

This is also an opportunity to introduce, to a wider Australian audience, some of the research interests and personal passions of Melbourne identities in the Asian arts arena. Hence the volume focusses quite strongly on Indonesian cultural themes in which, for various historical reasons including the location of Radio Australia and the Volunteer Graduate Scheme (later Australian Volunteers Abroad), there has been a notable interest in Melbourne since the 1950s. Over the years, the city’s tertiary institutions have developed particular expertise in Indonesian studies: Monash University, for instance, has produced a number of prominent ethnomusicologists who studied with Margaret Kartomi, a founding member of IAS. The close links between the IAS and international artists and scholars has allowed the society to tap into visitors – ranging from Ben Anderson to Rendra – for lectures and performances.

Other articles in this issue introduce members to research and activities occurring around Australia. Darwin, not surprisingly, is developing as a strong centre for the study of Indonesian arts: James Bennett replaces Fiona Leibrick at the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery, providing, as a curator and artist, another focus on the region’s textiles.

I personally would like to see interest in Asian art develop further in Canberra. To this end, it is pleasing to see the names of a number of younger Canberra scholars appearing in TAASA publications and seminars, as it promises a brighter future for this field. There is already considerable expertise and acknowledged prominence in many aspects of Asian studies around the national capital: it is now important to indulge and challenge Canberra residents and visitors, short and long term, with the diverse artistic endeavours of traditional and contemporary Asia.

We welcome as guest editor for this issue Robyn Maxwell. Robyn teaches art history and curatorship at the Australian National University. She was formerly curator of Asian art at the National Gallery of Australia, where she continues to act as exhibition consultant. She is also a founding member of the Indonesian Arts Society. Ed.

Table of contents

COMMENT – Robyn Maxwell

THE INDONESIAN ARTS SOCIETY – Hugh O’Neill

THE TROUBLED GRASS AND THE BAMBOO’S CRY THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ROTINESE SASANDU – Christopher Basile

EXPLORING INDONESIAN KENDI – D.S Nugrahani

BUNGALOAFING HAWAII, HOLYWOOD AND THE WESTERN RECONSTRUCTION OF BALINESE ARCHITECTURE – Timothy Lindsey

11  IDENTITIES HUGH O’NEILL – Robyn Maxwell

12  IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN CONTEMPORARY INDONESIAN AND AUSTRALIAN BATIK – James Bennett

14  COLLECTORS CHOICE KENDAYAAN MASKS – Michael Heppell

16  PROFILE JUDITH RUTHERFORD – Claire Roberts

17  PREVIEW WAYANG KULIT PERFORMANCE IN MELBOURNE – Helen Pausacker

18  REVIEWS AND PREVIEWS – Heleanor Feltham, Ann MacArthur, Robyn Maxwell

24  MEMBERS DIARY – James Hayes

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1999

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1998

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1996

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1995

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1994

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1993

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1992

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