Special feature running now...

Haiga by Ken Sawitri and Jimat Achmadi

Kampung Halaman, Haiku and Haiga from Indonesia

Writing haiku is to address something universal, one flows in such refinement to submit to nature, return to nature. “Where they look is nothing but flowers, what they think is nothing but the moon. Perceiving shapes other than flowers amounts to being a barbarian. Holding thoughts other than the moon is akin to being a beast. Come out from barbarians, depart from beasts.” (Bashô, translated by William J. Higginson in The Haiku Handbook, 1985).

But as R.H.Blyth said: “A haiku is not a poem, it is not literature; it is a hand beckoning, a door half-opened, a mirror wiped clean…” (Haiku, Volume One). As Jalaluddin Rumi said, “I’m a mirror, not a debater.” (Ghazal-38).

Haiku has thrived so far from its place of origin. It is challenging to express my experience as an Indonesian in haiku or haiga. I have selected my haiku and chose my own photograph, and especially Jimat Achmadi’s photographs and paintings to this ‘Kampung Halaman (Hometown)’ series. In Jimat’s art, my haiku find once again their new way to share Indonesian experiences in such a universal way. Thanks to Jimat Achmadi who allowed me to use his work in my haiga.

About his art at this series, Jimat said: “My work is my expression about the most memorable memories about Yogyakarta, and a village in the southern Yogyakarta, where I stayed in my school holidays at my grandfather’s house. Yogyakarta is my hometown, where I was born and grew until my adolescence. Pojok Beteng for instance, was my everyday outdoor playground. Making batik woman was my neighbour I was always happy to see her in my childhood. Mount Merapi I saw every day. Riding a buffalo was the most exciting time when I lived in grandfather’s village, where kedasih (plaintive cuckoo, Cacomantis merulinus lanceolatus) often appeared and would make the village feel gloomy when it sang.“ Some of Jimat’s work can be found at Jimat’s blog

Posted: 2 February 2016