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Artists’ Statement

A Natural Creative Process: Kodrati

In our study of Javanese philosophy we have been taught about the concept of Tribawana (the Three Worlds). This ancient teaching shows us that we live within these three worlds. As humans we have our own micro-cosmos or ‘small world.’ As sentient beings we also exist within a larger universe and so we are connected to nature, all living beings and matter, which is the macro-cosmos / the universe or ‘big world.’ Finally we are all connected to the immaterial or unseen world, which is the source of all creativity. Tribawana, therefore, is the self in connection to the environment and the source of creativity. As humans connected to nature we follow the path of our life, which is bound by natural laws that support and guide us. This path is called kodrati and is integral to any act of creation. It is a foundation to understand and honor the values of inter-connections and unity with all.

We are open to all aspects of culture because we try to uncover, contemplate and be responsible for the growth of our creative process based within a cultural context. Such a process has ancient roots and is ongoing, manifesting itself in a cycle of cultural materializations and regenerations that bring about creative growth in a natural way. This growth, like the Tree of Life, which stretches its roots below and reaches to the sky above, involves the material and the immaterial realms. An endeavor to awaken an awareness in this regard creates a desire for unity, loving compassion and a sense of gratitude for life. In this integrated process, we have access to an unlimited source of creativity.

How does this process work?
There are all kinds of indigenous cultures on our earth that are guardians of our world’s cultural heritage. With a consciousness of kodrati we can find a harmony with the natural laws reflected in these ancient systems of knowledge like the philosophy of Tribawana. Though seemingly separated, there are a variety of universal creative values that have grown naturally within indigenous cultures. They give us access to our own innate creativity.

In Javanese philosophy there is an expression “ilmu itu kelakone kanti laku,” which means that through consciousness within the creative path, we achieve knowledge. This, in turn gives us an awareness of our behavior and it is this insight that arises from the interconnection of behavior and creativity. This process of contemplation and subsequent correction of our behavior goes on in an unending interaction until we reach an understanding at one phase of our path and go on to the next. From this evolving awareness there appears a sense of integrity and harmony that manifests itself in our life through our connection with Tribawana. (The traditional Indonesian batik motif semen, which means “to sprout or grow,” exemplifies this concept. The semen motif may have a white as well as a black background, which respectively portrays the seen and unseen world. Semen also symbolizes, Tribawana, the interconnection between humans, the universe and the world of light or the source of creativity.)

Creativity that results from this interconnection to behavior enables creative energy to be channeled into any type of activity, anywhere, as long as the behavior has integrity. The central voice of creativity that exists within all humans has the potential to be awakened in all actions. It is simultaneously a journey in a singular and in a collective process that gives a pure voice to creativity.

Agus Ismoyo - Nia Fliam



Semen Latar Putih/Semen on a White Background

Semen Latar Putih/Semen on a Black Background

Tarian Terakhir / Last Dance, 2005 (detail)