Isotopic technique pinpoints Burrup rock art age 10/5/2013


TWO Australian National University researchers have used a high-tech isotopic method to estimate the potential age of the Burrup Peninsula’s rock art, based on the rate at which the rock surface erodes.

"Our measurements indicated that some of the surface erosion rates at the Burrup are amongst the lowest in Australia and indeed the world"—Prof Pillans. Image: Paul Williams

“Our measurements indicated that some of the surface erosion rates at the Burrup are amongst the lowest in Australia and indeed the world”—Prof Pillans. Image: Paul Williams

Geologist Professor Brad Pillans and nuclear physicist Professor Keith Fifield employed cosmogenic radionuclide measurements of the isotope beryllium-10 on rock surfaces at the world-famous Pilbara site.
They concluded that the oldest carvings could be 20- 30,000 years old, or even older, which implies they were possibly made when the site was a range of low hills about 100km inland from the glacial-period coastline. Continue reading

Cultural centre Bedulu

Another draft chapter from my guide to Lempad’s Art and Buildings in Bali

Getting there:

Lempad's wall at the abandoned cultural centre in Bedulu, Bali.

Lempad’s wall at the abandoned cultural centre in Bedulu, Bali.

If you are staying in Ubud, go south down Jl Hanoman or Jl Cok Gde Rai for about two kilometres until you reach Jl Made Lebah/Jl Raya Teges and turn left.Travel east along a road that then changes its name from Jalan Raya Goa Gajah to Jalan Raya Bedulu and then Jalan Pura Samuan Tiga. Pass through an ornately carved stone gateway and travel along a dual carriageway to a paved car park. Pura Samuan Tiga temple is on the left and Lempad’s art is part of the neglected cultural centre on the right, just before the road narrows. As all of Lempad’s art is on the outside of this building there is no need to go inside and consequently no entry fee.

Several excellent but neglected examples of Lempad’s art can be seen at this now abandoned cultural centre. Lempad was commissioned to carve a bas relief into clay bricks for this Suharto-era building used by visiting politicians to address meetings. It has been reproduced in full colour in Gaspar, Casannovas and Couteau’s book “Lempad”. Continue reading

Yeh Puluh carvings

This is a draft chapter from my guide Lempad’s Art and Buildings in Bali.

Yeh Puluh temple ticket office, Jl Yeh Puluh, Bedulu, Bali.

Yeh Puluh temple ticket office, Jl Yeh Puluh, Bedulu, Bali.

This chapter does not direct you to any of Lempad’s own work, but to some much older art which is said to have had a life-long influence on him.

Getting there:

The Yeh Puluh carvings are on the way to Beduluh’s Yeh Puluh temple and you need to be reasonably steady on your feet to see them. At the end of Jalan Yeh Puluh is a car park and a little kiosk where you need buy a Rp 15,000 ticket unless you are Balinese and dressed in temple clothes. Continue reading

Pura Desa Pengastulan temple, Bedulu

Directions: Jl Yeh Pulu, Pengastulan, Bedulu.

Boma above a gate at Pura Pengastulan in Bedulu.

Boma above a gate at Pura Pengastulan in Bedulu.

Lempad built this temple in 1962-63, soon after he had completed the Saraswati temple in Ubud. If the Saraswati temple was lavish this one is flamboyant.

While he must have been working with a much smaller budget Lempad was able to express himself with great abandon in his home town. Look at the fingernails on the Boma (guardian spirit) masks above the gates. They look more as though they were rapidly drawn with a pen than carved in stone. You might like to contrast these with his earlier drawings in the Neka and Puri Lukisan museums which are almost as though they were made with a chisel. Continue reading

Pura Taman Kemuda Saraswati

This is a draft chapter from my Guide to Lempad’s art and buildings in Bali.


Stay on the north side of Jl Raya Ubud and continue to walk west until you get to a hotel called Saraswati Bungalows. Go to reception and ask for permission to visit the temple.

IMG_1235 copyBuilt in 1952, this was Lempad’s second major Ubud project. The beautifully-maintained complex shows how much his style had developed almost four decades after he built the Peliatan royal palace. It is also unusual for Lempad in that it appears to contain no unfinished sculptures.

The temple took the form of the cosmic mountain being churned in the middle of the celestial sea (the milky way). Much of the present paved areas were originally lily ponds Lempad filled in after Mount Agung erupted in 1963. The earthquake also damaged the original central tower which he had to replace. Continue reading

In her element October 2015

Perhaps once in a generation we come across an artist whose practice is informed and inspired by a life in the forest environment, and a close observation of its elements.

Photo by Ebone Tippett

Photo by Ebony Tippett

Although she makes no attempt to copy his work, Monique Tippett is an artist that works within the genre started by Howard Taylor.

Monique lives in a part of the world where my earliest coherant memories come from: Dwellingup.


Belonging to Where I Am 25/5/2015

Stewart Scambler likes to talk about the quality of a rock in the landscape.

Photo via Stewart Scambler

Photo via Stewart Scambler

“There’s a rightness about its presence there, a quality of stillness that exists and a quality of discovering something new and previously unseen when you lift that rock,” he says.

This is my latest artist profile for Artsource newsletter, about potter Stewart Scambler. Please note it is now an entirely online publication.

From Artsource [read this story]

Studying music, dance and art in Bali 12/2/2015

If you have every harboured the secret wish to study Bali’s traditional arts, this story is for you.

Kristi in Ubud

Kristi at the Sacred Monkey Forest. Photo by KiKi

I was lucky enough to catch up with four young people who are living the dream, studying in Bali.

Bali offers courses for all levels of committment: you can sign on for anything from a three-hour session to a PhD. [read this story]

Academic gets new take on old treasure 8/11/2014

Archaeologist Liesel Gentelli has borrowed techniques used by the police gold stealing squad to identify Spanish silver coins from old ship wrecks.

The Kalgoorlie Miner 8 November 2014

Click on this image to read the story

The WA Museum allowed her to study deformed lumps of silver from six ships wrecked off the west coast before the days of the Swan River Colony.

Ms Gentelli identified silver dollars from far-flung mints in Mexico, Peru, Spain and the Netherlands from the time when Spanish silver was the world currency.

She switched majors from archaeology to forensics to pursue this major project for her PhD studies.

This story first appeared in Science Network WA on 5 October 2014. The Kalgoorlie Miner republished it on 8 November 2014.

Science Network WA [read this story]