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Boedi Widjaja Nanyang 2019 Jawa 2019 Root Word 2021 Image by Drew Forsyth

Nanyang (2019), Jawa (2019), Root Word (2021)

In these works, Boedi Widjaja combines his genetic code as an embodied form of storytelling, with two ancient scripts: the I Ching hexagrams (of ancient Chinese divination) and Javanese hanacaraka text. The works form a unique visual writing system that tells a personal story about his lineage, and cosmological myths of his ethnicity and cultural origin.

Nanyang encodes Widjaja’s paternal grandfather’s journal, written in the last years of his life, when the latter lived with Widjaja’s family during his childhood in Solo City.

Jawa patterns an ancient Sundanese poem Bujangga Manik (circa 15th/16th century) that mapped - in topographical details - the journey of the Sundanese prince, Prabu Jaya Pakuan, as he travelled on foot from West to East Java and back.

Root Word visualises a poem that Widjaja composed based on his personal memories, histories and mythologies, as underscored by his childhood migration experience:

“Rivers and lakes

Tanah dan air

Land and water

Sungai sejarah”

Nanyang and Jawa are ​​courtesy of the artist. Developed from Path. 10, A Tree Talks A Tree Walks commissioned by Temenggong Artists-in-Residence. Supported by the National Arts Council Singapore.

Root Word is ​​courtesy of the artist. Supported by the National Arts Council Singapore and NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore.