- Media category
- Time-based art
- Materials used
- three channel HD video, colour, stereo sound
- duration: 00.10:58 min
- Signature & date
Signed Certificate of authenticity c.l., black ink "Leyla Stevens". Dated l.l., printed black ink "30 JUNE 2021".
- Purchased with funds provided by the Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2021
- Not on display
- Accession number
- © Leyla Stevens
- Artist information
Works in the collection
Leyla Stevens is an Australian–Balinese artist who works with photography and moving image in a research-based practice responding to histories of place. In her works, Stevens uncovers alternative histories, principally in connection to Bali’s colonial and diasporic past. Inspired by material and visual cultures, and with particular attentiveness to the affective forces of gesture and ritual, she reanimates past events to tell stories that have often been forgotten or deliberately repressed.
Kidung/Lament is a major three-channel video installation that focuses on the spectral trace of Bali’s histories of political violence. The powerful and intimate video is framed around a banyan tree that marks an unacknowledged mass grave site from Indonesia’s 1965-66 anti-communist massacres. The banyan tree is sacred in Indonesia where it is seen to represent the eternal cycle of death and rebirth and protect the spirits after death. A chant that laments the missing and the dead forms the installation’s soundtrack.
This haunting work responds to sensitive and repressed political histories of place. Stevens’ utilises landscape imagery and the banyan tree to stand in for past events that have no visual marker and have been shrouded by political amnesia. In this video, Stevens concieves of the banyan tree as the central character, acting as a witness to past events. Two of the channels project portraits of the tree in panning close-ups while in the third, a Balinese woman c hants a lament to the dead, becoming an emotive anchor point and a mournful allegory.