Bound: An Expatriate's Journey to China and Beyond was launched at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in 2014. Researching and writing about prominent expatriates in Indonesia, led to the writing of DragonFlyers: Prominent Expatriates' Influential Roles in Indonesia. Whilst working in Indonesia, I had the privilege to meet Arie Smit, famous Dutch painter who has painted in Bali for 40 years. Arie passed away just short of his 100th birthday in 2016. He has his own gallery as part of the Neka Art Museum, Ubud. Arie's paintings depict the beautiful colourful landscapes of Bali and its traditional village life. So if you travel to Ubud, the Neka Art Museum is worth a visit to see Arie Smit's paintings, together with other contemporary Indonesian painters' works.
I visited Pak Neka and Arie on a number of occasions. Pak Neka was Arie Smit's friend for about 40 years and also his patron. Pak Neka and his family kindly looked after Arie in his later years. They always welcomed me to the Neka Gallery where I would visit Arie and bring him his much loved Dutch salty licorice sweets from an Adelaide shop. I was proud to be known as a "friend of Arie Smit."
Sadly in his later years, Arie's health declined and he began to lose both his sight and hearing. However, he had a wonderful sense of humour and often told me to always: "look, observe and listen," which I took on board particularly when interviewing for my research. I loved the rich colour in Arie's paintings of daily life and landscapes in Bali; four of which are illustrated in my book: "DragonFlyers." As a man, Arie was tall and very humble considering that he is a renowned painter. I became quite attached to Arie and was very sad when he passed away in March, 2016.
AND ON TO JAKARTA to undertake research interviews for my book: "DragonFlyers"!
I travelled to Jakarta to conduct research interviews. I visited Indonesia's national monument for independence, Monas. It was great to see and experience the ambience of the famous Istiqulal (Arabic word for independence) mosque. It is the largest in South-East Asia and can accommodate 200,000 people in its open spaces. Both Monas and Istiqulal Mosque were built to celebrate Indonesia's independence from the Dutch, which occurred in 1945.