Contained within the concept of life,Â if one examines the word itself, the thing (noun) is not really what one may assume. A look at the origins of the word, takes you back to a Germanic root, which actually means leave, or more to the point: to remain. Taken yet to a more finite point of purpose in definition, to live, is to OCCUPY, a space, time and place. In living, we fill a space with our heart, mind and spirit.
Here is the story of the Bali Nine.Â A group of individuals cut off by country, and set adrift in a waking dream that was an interminable journey towards a new death.
Joanna Witt is a Canadian. Sort of. Married to a Balinese man for many years, she and her growing team of collaborators and artisans have become sort of the â€śitâ€ť suppliers of Silver artisanship in Ubud, Bali. She is one of Donna’s go to people, and watching the two of them creating together is very inspiring. Joanna and Ketut (her talented business partner and husband, with whom she was eying a marital separation) set a very high bar in the practice of the craft and art. They also run silver-smithing workshops forÂ tourists and other interested people.
So in the midst of a pending large shift in her marriage,Â while raising two children, opening new stores, and I am sure, trying to figure out what the future may look like, Joanna found herself drawn into the prison which housed the cast off souls of the Bali Nine.
She and Nyoman, one of Studio Perakâ€™s lead artisans, took a good look around and decided to throw these people a life line. Maybe they might grab aholdâ€¦. They called the endeavor which features a unique collection of works fashioned by members of the Bali Nine,Â the Hope Project. You can find the collection at Studio Perak locations on Bali.
I understand a bit about prison life. As a young Bible student, I got to go into one of the Federal Penitentiaries a few times with a man who had a prison ministry. It was a great lesson in serving. I would bring surfing and ocean video and tales, and hang with the inmates and talk about what may lie ahead and how to grab the lifeline. We would just be there, a break from the routine and a window to a free life.
As Donna and I sat in one of Joannaâ€™s shops and recorded the story, her account communicated the utter despair she found. I understood exactly what that meant.
In the struggle of building and tutoring these people in silversmithing on a weekly basis, she did something very important. Joanna and Nyoman put souls back into motion.
The significance of that is something which makes my eyes tear up. It is kind, brave, and all manner of strong. It is living.
On Bali, life is Art. My friend, Joe Cardella has a saying: Art Saves Lives.
Yes indeed, it certainly does.
The gallery below is what life looks like here for Donna and I right now, as we steadily meet and engage as many people as possible. Much to do, and we only get to live here for a heartbeat. But we occupy, thanks to these people and the grace of this place, this community.
â€śOnwardâ€ťÂ Joe Cardella