I told myself, It’s totally crazy. The world is in chaos, and millions are suffering. It’s nuts to be still so strong-willed to build, love, and live all at the same time. Can we make it happen? I don’t know. Who knows. Some say I live in a fantasy world, bewitched by my imagination. From my shoes, it’s a beautiful vision of humanity.

Brave, free, and co-exist for one another. I no longer believe in instant gratification, fake reality, or artificial happiness. But I have hope in striving for my authentic fibre, my life-long metamorphosis, and the gravitas of my actions.

For years, I was told to be patient, content, and accept situations. But I chose to start a revolution in the way we, Indonesians, view ourselves. I was born emotional, curious, and borderline erratic. I forgive myself for being this way. It’s not a gentle fight to do so.

This mind battle led me to find new possibilities within the ‘inlander’ stigma, which often comes like a thick cloud blinding my vision and dwarfing my self-esteem. For this reason, I chose hand-pulled serigraph as my primary medium for expressing my thoughts because this method naturally captures doubts and imperfections of the printer’s arm movements. It’s a poetic process by itself, creating every print as a unique emotional statement.

 I created large screens that make the process impossible for consistent colour application. These large screens require two serigraph technicians to apply the pigment in synchronisation. One needs to trust and be brave to let go. The other needs to be reliable and vigilant in every print setting. Our open-air studio provides an unpredictable humidity level and disturbing dust particles, so there is always a tendency for 1-2 cm shrinkage in every colour application. The set up of the studio prompts another challenge for registering the layers of colour. We can never predict what we get from one printing process, and we always need to have the agility to make adjustments when printing the next colour set.

‘Amma and Destiny’ edition involves five colour layers: ‘Bluejay’, ‘Mandarin Red’, ‘Strawberry Ice’, ‘Oxblood Red’, and ‘Butterum’. We use ecological water-based pigments, which creates transparency of every colour stroke. It’s impossible to hide any printing mistake with the transparent characteristic because every mistake has its beauty.

 As an artist with a printmaking passion, I was disturbed by Jakarta’s serigraph industry’s degrading dignity. I wish to bring forth a new podium for ‘serigraph in Jakarta’, where it becomes a stage for dignified skill, ethical job, and artistic merit. When I started in 2010, some thought I was crazy because I abandoned my celebrated design profession in Los Angeles. Some even said that I was dipping into my midlife crisis. Today, after 11 years in the job, I managed to build a passionate team to actualise a small part of this dream. Of course, I still have doubts and fears. But upon every vulnerable moment, I am humbled and re-enchanted by the colours of my dreams. These colours guide me to dance gracefully with my destiny. So I hope that the colours of ‘Amma and Destiny’ will enchant your days with good spirit too.

Have an enchanted weekend,
Melissa Sunjaya 

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