K. Elizabeth Sekararum
After A Certain Time…
etching, spit bite aquatint, hand watercolor
18 x 14 in.
Grounded in a multicultural and embodied background, my prints celebrate and subvert the intoxicating world of mystical symbols, myth and ritual. Informed by decades spent as an artist in Indonesia, my work sits in the margins. Strongly influenced by the cultural artifacts of Javanese mysticism, things are rarely what they seem, truth is subjective, power ascribes to color, direction, place, words, and forces such as the wind. Eschewing cultural fossilization and reification, the work reimagines and deconstructs performative events: a young girl in ritual trance, the flashing movement of a dance scarf, pounding feet kicking dust into the air. The resulting images – finely detailed, closely cropped and intentionally stark – flicker on the edges of amorphous almost-recognition. Included in the ‘Wordplay’ exhibition, ‘After a Certain Time’, is one of a four-part series focused on the mythical Javanese goddess, Nyai Blorong. Heightening the sense of ‘text as object’, the handwritten words inscribed on the printed copper plate display a decorative sensuality reminiscent of the aesthetics of written Javanese. The fluid gracefulness of the sculpted, calligraphic lines of text add an additional layer of [obscured] meaning to the prints, and reflect the indeterminate nature of mystical symbols, myth and ritual. The use of marginalia to ground the narrative image evokes the classical Javanese lexicon and creates the illusion of a traditional illuminated manuscript.
© K. Elizabeth Sekararum