Dr Siobhan Campbell

Researching Indonesian Art and Culture.

Siobhan L Campbell

Siobhan L Campbell
Photographer: Siobhan Campbell © Siobhan Campbell

Siobhan Campbell embarked on a study of the cultures of the Indonesian archipelago via learning the Indonesian language, completing an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, and working as a translator and interpreter.

In 2013 Siobhan completed her doctoral dissertation at the Department of Indonesian Studies at the University of Sydney, under the supervision of Professor Adrian Vickers. Her research focused on the collection of Balinese paintings at the Australian Museum.

The Australian Museum houses one of the most significant collections of classical Balinese paintings collected in the village of Kamasan in East Bali, known as the Forge Collection . Siobhan’s research contributed to the enhancement of the Forge Collection and its archival documentation. It also made the Collection accessible and meaningful to students, artists, amateur enthusiasts and our visitors, virtual and those who walk through our doors, via a substantial body of images and stories placed on the Museum Website.

In 2011-2012 Siobhan conducted a long and comprehensive fieldwork in Kamasan which set an exceptional example of community engagement. Her work initiated a process of identification and re-interpretation of paintings in the Forge Collection by members of the Kamasan community. This process could continue for a long time, because community perspectives evolve and the collection’s role transforms in the light of contemporary developments and changing social relations.

Siobhan advocates nurturing the ongoing relationship between the community and the Museum. During fieldwork in 2011 Siobhan and Dr. Stan Florek purchased 25 Kamasa paintings for the Museum Collection, illustrating new developments in this old tradition and also focusing on women artists. This is a significant new component in the Museum Collection and in relationship with the community of artists.

Siobhan researched extensive collections of Balinese paintings in Netherlands as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies in Leiden. She also researched Donald Friend’s collection of Balinese art and Dr John Yu’s collection of Indonesian textiles, providing curatorial expertise on the related exhibitions.

Siobhan continues to research Balinese material culture and reporting it in academic and popular publications.

Selected articles:

Kamasan Painting at the Australian Museum, and beyond. Art Monthly: Eyes on Indonesia Issue 244 - October 2011

Anthony Forge in Bali: The Making of a Museum Collection. Visual Anthropology, 2014 - 27:3, 248-275.

Bali at war: a painted story of resistance to colonial rule.International Institute of Asian Studies Newsletter, 2014 - No. 68

Living Traditions. Inside Indonesia, 2011 -106 (Oct-Dec).

Dr Stan Florek , Collection Officer
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