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  • Writer's pictureART HISTORY

A Tree as a Witness: Counter-Archives in South Bali's Landscapes

Updated: Jul 23, 2022

A screening of Dr Leyla Stevens' moving image artwork Our Sea is Always Hungry (2018), followed by a talk by the artist

Leyla Stevens, still from Our Sea is Always Hungry (2018), single channel video with sound, 13:16 mins.

Tuesday 17 May, 5.45pm AEST Old Geology Theatre, Edgeworth David Building, University of Sydney

Please join the Australian Society for Asian Humanities for a screening of Dr Leyla Stevens' moving image artwork Our Sea is Always Hungry (2018), followed by a talk by the artist..

Dr Leyla Stevens will present on the process behind her moving image artwork: Our Sea is Always Hungry (2018), which focuses on the spectral trace of Bali’s histories of political violence from Indonesia’s 1965—66 mass killings. Discussing her approach to moving image as a reparative form of witnessing, the artist invites an ocular shift around points of erasure and forgetting in the landscape. Extending upon current efforts to re-tell 1965 histories from survivor perspectives, the video proposes that non-human witnesses to these events offer significant redress to state endorsed silencing.

Our Sea is Always Hungry (2018) is a single-channel video work that continues Leyla Stevens’ exploration of the space between documentary and fiction. Focusing on traces of Indonesia's 1965–66 anti-communist killings, the film explores how 1965 today is both remembered and forgotten in Bali. Connecting several historical trajectories around political violence, tourism, the Wallace Line, Gunung Agung, and spirits who inhabit the natural world, the film considers alternative archives that are embedded within the landscape.

Leyla Stevens is an Australian-Balinese artist who works within moving image and photography. Working within modes of representation that shift between documentary and speculative fictions, her interest lies in the recuperation of counter histories within dominant narratives. Leyla was recently awarded the 66th Blake Art Prize for her moving image work, Kidung, which engages with Bali’s histories of political violence from 1965–66. Her work has been exhibited in Australia through artist run, institutional and regional galleries, most recently with a new commission for The National 2021: New Australian Art at the Art Gallery of NSW. She holds a Doctor of Creative Arts from the University of Technology Sydney.

Please register here to attend
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