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Category Archives: art

Cycling in Melbourne-Part 1- Chinatown

Oh my God, watercolor, you can be so hard to govern you’d make Bakunin jealous.

I finally finished the first in my ‘Cycling in Melbourne’ series of artworks. I can’t say I am thoroughly satisfied, but at a point you just have to stop before you do more damage.

Cycling in Melbourne - Chinatown

This one is inspired by Melbourne CBD’s ‘Chinatown’ district, which extends from roughly one end of Little Bourke Street to the other.


Furniture Refurbishing

A work situation (several work situations actually) ended up with me coming home with a number of things from the office, including two wooden shelves.

I have always wanted to try decorative painting on wood, so that was my chance. After lots of acrylic and varnish, here are the results.

The first one, I was aiming for a moroccan tile look, but it somehow ended up looking a bit like a batik pattern (sigh)

Note: Batik is a special fabric dyeing technique from Indonesia. you can see samples and learn more about that here.

P1020001shelf 1 diagonal





Wooden shelf 1 front view

front view






I decorated the second one below with the classic Japanese wave picture plus some cherry blossoms.


Shelf 2 side view



front view

front view













What do you think?

By the way, the first shelf has been sold but the second one is still available for 12 AUS$. If you are interested and you live in Melbourne, do get in touch! You can leave a comment, use the contact form, or contact me via Instagram: @dinainds


Rara Djonggrang Interpretation

Roro Djonggrang

Made as part of the website design for Tiger Stone, a novel by Deryn Mansell. 
A short description of the book taken from the website:
“It’s a mystery adventure set in 14th century Java. The story follows the exploits of Kancil, a girl who takes refuge in a remote inland village after she and her mother are hounded from their coastal home by an angry mob. The villagers, however, have their own prejudices and Kancil must pretend to be mute to hide her coastal origins. “

Roro Djonggrang, or Rara Jonggrang, is a character in a Javanese folk tale. 

The tale, as told in Wikipedia: 

“The legend tells the story about two ancient and neighbouring kingdoms in Java, Pengging and Boko.

Pengging was prosperous, and wisely ruled by its king Prabu Damar Moyo who had a son named Bandung Bondowoso. By contrast, Boko was ruled by a cruel man-eating giant named Prabu Boko, supported by another giant Patih Gupolo. Despite his unpleasant nature, Prabu Boko had a beautiful daughter named Rara Jonggrang.

The story relates that Prabu Boko desired to expand his kingdom, and so began training an army and raising taxes for an invasion of Pengging. His forces launch a surprise attack on Pengging, and the ensuring war causes devastation and famine on both sides. In order to defeat the invader, Prabu Damar Moyo sends his son Bandung Bondowoso to fight Prabu Boko. After a furious battle, Prabu Boko is killed by the prince’s supernatural powers. His assistant, the giant Patih Gupolo, leads his armies away from the battlefield in defeat.

Returning to Boko Palace, Patih Gupolo tells princess Rara Jonggrang of the death of her father. The princess is heartbroken, but before she can recover from her grief the Pengging army besieges and captures the palace. Prince Bandung Bondowoso is mesmerized by the beauty of the mourning princess and propose marriage, but his offer is swiftly rejected. Bandung Bondowoso insists on the union, and finally Rara Jonggrang agrees on two impossible conditions: first the prince must build a well named Jalatunda, and second, he must construct a thousand temples in only one night.

The lovestruck prince agrees, and immediately starts work on the well. Using his supernatural powers once again, the prince swiftly finishes construction and proudly displays his work for the princess. As a trick, she urges him to enter the well and when he does so, Patih Gupolo piles stones into it and buries him alive. With great effort Bandung Bondowoso escapes, but his love for the princess is so strong that he forgives her the attempt on his life.

To fulfill the second condition, the prince enters into meditation and conjures up a multitude of demon spirits from the earth. With their help he builds the first 999 temples and starts work on the final one. To thwart his efforts the princess and her maids light a fire in the east and begin pounding rice, a traditional dawn activity. Fooled into thinking the sun is about to rise, the spirits flee back into the earth leaving the last temple unfinished.

The prince is furious when he learns of this deception, and places a curse on Rara Jonggrang which turns her into a stone statue. In this way she herself becomes a feature of the final temple, completing its construction and fulfilling the conditions for their marriage.”

Now, Rara Jonggrang is supposed to play a part in Tiger Stone as well, although I am not quite sure in what form or how…

Rialto Melbourne (Almost) pre-coloring

Rialto Melbourne (Almost) pre-coloring

I was reminded to upload this sketch before I colored it. Ah well.

Haikara-san ga Tooru, or, Happy Birthday Waki Yamato-sensei

When I was a snotty teen, I read the manga ‘Haikara-san ga Tooru’ (There Goes  Miss High Collar) by Waki Yamato-sensei. It tells  of the ‘high collar’, feminist, rambunctious female character Benio, whose adventures include being a journalist reporting to a misogynist boss, doing time behind bars, chasing after bandits, and, of course, falling in love, in the Taisho era that spans from 1912 to the 1920s.

‘Haikara’ is still one of my favourite manga, particularly because of its bizarre humour. It often refers to the pop culture at that time (1970s)-thus it is only after watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show last year (it wasn’t that popular where I am from) that I get why that man in stockings keep appearing out of nowhere –  and some of the jokes are probably Japanese puns that until now I still don’t get anyway.

I  recently discovered that ‘Haikara’ won the 1st Kodansha Manga Award for Shoujo in 1977. like, THE first. Woah.

I also recently found out that Yamato-sensei’s influences also included Monty Phyton. A-ha!

All in all, ‘Haikara’ is hilarious. Partly because it just is, and partly because of the kooky Indonesian translation, which, in its own ways, also made lots of references to pop culture that are popular in Indonesia at that time. Interesting chemistry indeed. The Indonesian company that publishes ‘Haikara’ in the recent years have re-published the series, correcting the jumbled page mishap of the first effort. To my slight disappointment, however, the translation got a bit tamer this time.

Waki Yamato writes other great manga that are perhaps not as weird as ‘Haikara’ but still very enjoyable, such as Yokohama Monogatari (Yokohama Tale),  the touching Nemuranai Machi Kara (From the City that Never Sleeps), and, of course, one of her most famous works, Asakiyumemishi, the adaptation of the classic Genji Monogatari (The Tale of Genji).

Yamato-sensei’s works are often considered as ‘classic’ manga. Particularly in the artistic sense, perhaps. Those big, doe eyes with huge lashes, the facial characters that are more Western than Japanese, the long, long legs, and so on. In many of her works, the characters, particularly the female ones, are  open-minded, adventurous, willing to travel and accepting towards newcomers (Western people, oftentimes) but still very Japanese.

And, you know what, it’s her birthday today, so omedettou to her (anyone know where to write her fanmail? Do let me know!)

Now, if Benio was a journo in 2014, maybe this would be the style she sports (gee, it’s been a long time since I draw manga, and, if anything, my skills have not improved in it :D)

And yep, I am serious about the fan mail. I have no idea whether she uses the internet at all actually, but I would like to wish her a happy birthday anyway and I hope she is happy and healthy. I can’t even write in Japanese to her because after all these years of on and off learning my Japanese is still not that good yet.  I would like to meet her one day ( I hope she’s nice) 🙂

Red Head Walking

Red Head Walking

You know, that Beat Happening song.

Window to Sydney

Please excuse my ignorance if this doesn’t reflect the Sydney you know 😀Window to Sydney