Just as there are its own spritis and ghosts in Tartu, Paris or London, we could aslo find some of incredible souls in the deepest corners of Yogyakarta, Java. Our local friend, performance artist Iwan Wijono invited me and Kiwa along for a visit to these legends – born artists, who have totally abandoned the norms of the conformist society.
Through thick rain shower and rivers of water floating under my motorbike wheels we zigzag ourselves along the narrow streets until we find the house of P’trus. Coming from the gray of the outside we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of the striking psychedelia – the walls are covered with colorful dragon paintings, various masks are hanging on the door. There’s a little baby riding a weird machine on the floor, singing merrily a tune, that somehow reminds me of Pink Floyd‘s early psychedelic chords.
P’trus is a legendary street artist, who supposedly used to ride a huge high bicycle around the town, blowing trompet, which sound was known all around Yogyakarta. With this trompet, he sometimes intervened some concerts, no-body minded, it was rather seen as a bliss. Or he was organizing performances on a daily basis, making people happy to be together and share the passion of making art out of life. For him esthetics and ethics are the same. Experiment and spontaneity are his keywords for life. Life is art. Art is life. Smile with tears, as he sais.
Three years ago he found himself a young women, who cleaned his house and made the eyes of this old hippie shining even brighter.
P’trus blowing his magical trompet
When the rain was finally over, we took a ride to a man, who’s living even more radially underground. Iwan told us: “This man, 40 years no go out.”
In the house of Puthut al the things are left as they are. Here’s no electricity, no water. He cooks his meal outside on a tiny gas lamp. The man with dark pony tail smokes his thick roll of tobacco happily and seeks for some pieces of wood under our butts. What first seems to be a pile of trash now rather takes a form of some of his creatures – there are tiny sculptures made of cigarette packages, some retro-spirit works of collage and many other things that Puthut has created along his daily blows of inspiration.
So you never leave the house?
Why don’t I?! As soon as I run out of tobacco I have to go outside to get some more.
He gets the tobacco from just around the corner – 40m walking. He smokes from the moment he wakes up until his eyes fall close again. And he doesn’t fall into bed when it happens, he sleeps gently where he happens to be at the very moment of falling asleep – in a chair, on the floor or on the pile of these unidentified objects, usually in lotus position.
If he doesn’t find a canvas, he can use any other piece of paper, seems to be his artist statement. As we wander around his dark house, I come to realize that probably he approaches any piece of paper or furniture with equal creativity and good-hearted apathy. His monthly costs are around 100 000 rp (10 euros).
The most important … (he first laughs loud at my question)… is to be happy in this life.
What makes a person happy?
There’s nothing particular. It gotta be flow. There’s no certain thing – you can sit in your house and be happy, or travel from Estonia to Indonesia just like you, and be happy.
Just the feeling! sings P’trus happily and Puthus plays some blues.
Exactly one year later I was back in Yogyakarta. I visited Puthus again, and you know what – nothing had changed! Still no bed in his house, no electricity, some wonderful miniature sculptures had appeared in his garden that wasn’t there before, he’s shown some creativity, and… his eyes have the same happy shine, just as a year ago.
Seems like nobody cares if these guys live or die, but I do. Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe myself how much I care for people like Phutus and P’trus, whose existence seems to amplify the colors and richness of life on this planet. Personally even more – when looking back at these sweet encounters now, me and Kiwa consider these two gentelmen giving us the first direct input that led us to the path of the hippie-underground of Soviet Estonia.
Puthus in in his house 2012 - nothing much had changed since one year