The Indonesian title of the work Cahaya is translated as Shining Light. The term cahaya also refers to the brilliant light of the divine. In Javanese esoteric beliefs all communication with the unseen dimension transpires in the language of Light.
This is a collaborative batik textile produced by Brahma Tirta Sari Batik Studio and a group of Utopia women artists, including Lena Apwerl, Ada Nora Apetyarr, Hilda Apwerl, Myrtle Apetyarr, Violet Apetyarr, Glory Angal, Joy Apetyarr, Rosemary Apetyarr and Barbara Weir. These artists have been making batik since the early 1970’s and are regarded as pre-eminent in the field of Aboriginal batik and extensively represented in international collections.
Cahaya is a textile length intended for display as a fine art work. It is a combination of Anymaterre and Javanese batik styles applied to one cloth by the both groups of artists. The design depicts linear Utopia motifs, derived from women’s body painting, applied by a brush predominantly around the left edge of the fabric. These include, in beige, the flower like symbol for light in the upper left hand corner. The Javanese sacred batik motifs kawung and parang form a dominant portion of the cloth. The kawung motifs are in small and medium sizes while the parang is a small more geometric version of the motif. There is a stylized version of kawung as well as two motifs called Fire in a large and smaller versions overlaid on each other, which are designs of BTS Studio and form a central portion in the overall design. The predominant colors are autumn tones of brown, orange, red, rust, khaki green and bordo. There is an overlay of a large, kawung motif in yellow ochres.