Recollections from BHCAC tutor Trish Bourke.
In 2013 I travelled to Timor Leste. It was good timing as Box Hill Community Arts Centre was planning a collaborative exhibition with the artists from Afalyca Art Centre in the Timorese city of Baucau.
The exhibition was a celebration of the 2013 International Year of Water Cooperation and the first thing you notice in Old Town, Baucau is the water spring. It was where I got off the bus from Dili and my first introduction into the distinctive karst (limestone bedrock) topography and the customary rights.
As a starting point, we looked at a local spring myth narrative. This story portrayed clearly by Celia Mira’s lino print. Celia is a talented artist as well as cultural ambassador. She teaches traditional dance and in 2013 had opened her family compound to house Afalyca Art Centre.
The students were all skilled and apt with the tools needed to cut the lino. We worked to produce a wonderful body of work, all hand printed using a traditional Japanese bamboo barren onto Fabriano paper.
When our work was finished, I was taken on an excursion into the mountains to see the sacred lake. We spent the day drawing ‘en plein air’. This is a beautiful place and I learnt more about the story of Wai Lia and the ceremonial obligations associated with traditional water management.
This was a wonderful experience for me to share in the rich cultural traditions of Baucau. To listen to the stories and engage through art practise. I hope to return to Afalyca in the future and thank the Box Hill Community Art Centre for the opportunity to collaborate with the Afalyca Artists.