Dijanne Cevaal, artiste textile, illustre « La Sagesse, un chemin vers le Bonheur »
Dijanne Cevaal, artiste textile, illustre « La Sagesse, un chemin vers le Bonheur »

My name is Dijanne Cevaal and I’m
from Australia. As a child I embroidered a lot, and I used to make
many things, like puppets, wall hangings… And then I embroidered jeans for my friends when I was a teenager – because we had embroidered jeans, And then I went to university, and
studied, and I was too busy to sew very much! I did a lot of knitting and I then
worked for ten years as a lawyer. And then when I was pregnant with my first daughter, I thought I should make her a quilt! So I began to make quilts again! I begin all of my pieces with white cloth, so I die, I print if it’s needed,
I use serigraphy techniques, and I like that building process of building the image
and creating layers and then finishing it with stitching. I’m very much inspired by places because I travel a lot! I tend to do a lot of work by hand
because it’s easy to carry with me and I’ve found that those pieces really have started
being about places and things that I’ve encountered in places so they’re like little memories that I collect… When the theme arrived,
I started to think about what it meant “La Sagesse” for me it was a wider word
than “Wisdom” in English. “Wisdom” in English tends to mean “knowledge” or acquired things from learning whereas “Sagesse” suggested to me a much wider
principle of a way of approaching life, and I didn’t think that I could say very much really about it because I would never call myself “wise”,
I just try and live my life as best as I can! But I had the opportunity to do a residency
on a very small island called Atauro island, which is part of East Timor. It was with a group of women that worked together,
they were a cooperative I was there to share my skills, but I learned more than I think they did, because they would sing in the workplace,
and I’ve never sang so much in my life! Whilst we were working, and I was teaching them how to make lino cuts and how to expand their stitching repertoire
with the machines which are [trettel’s] It was a very humble place to be because there’s no electricity!
Running water It doesn’t exist! It comes from wells underground,
so it has to be carefully used! But the people themselves were amazing, they had been through great hardships in the last 40 or 50 years… They were a prison for the Portuguese. During the Japanese invasion
they were also prison for Japanese prisoners. And then when the Indonesian invaded in 1975, the Indonesians used it as a prison
for all the families of the Fretilin activists who were fighting against the Indonesian. So the population quadrupled,
and that was really difficult for a very small island… So they’ve been through great hardships and
they were still very strong! They had a great sense of humility.
They also are Catholic but the Catholic in in like almost the
truest sense of the word! They attended the mass on Sundays, and
they would dress up, they would sing, and I think this priest – “el Padre Luis” was his name –
I think he had the most beautiful choir in the World! So to be there was a really joyful experience and I thought “Well, I’ve come to share my
knowledge, but they’ve shared so much with me!” So is this a part of wisdom! Their way of life was simple but they had a complicated history. I say “life is simple”, but yet they found a way
to deal with their life in in a really good way! So this arrived because it was very hot,
33 degrees during the day, and 30 degrees at night! So the only time in the day it was cool enough
to walk was around sunrise! And the church… the mass would be on
every morning, so I could hear the mass on the loudspeaker
so I could hear the voices of the singing, but also not everybody went to mass, of course,
and I would go and walk along the beach and watch the sunrise
but there were lots of people doing the same thing! They would just quietly sit and take in the sun,
it was almost like they were meditating and so I discovered all these sea urchins on
the beach and I wanted to capture that memory of how
that felt in the morning, in the piece that I made, and To me this suggests everything about at all our island and what I experienced there… It’s a very contemplative process. Particularly working by hand, it’s a very slow process,
so you have to slow down, you have to stop all of the distractions that normally happen in life: the phones, the rushing around… Because you actually just have to sit and stitch! And as you sit and stitch, you…
It’s a kind of meditation, you loose yourself in the work! It does acquire a very peaceful aspect,
because you’ve got to calm down and slow down…

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