Gili Trawagan (2019)

When I think back to Gili Trawagan, there are bicycles, divespots, musicians on the beach and incredible sunsets. There is also a guy who stands on his horse’s back on the beach. Tourists flock to the spectacle. Photographers pop up to sell their services. Jeroen and I languidly lounge on beanbags or comfy chairs with an ice cold beer to watch the sunset.

This particular sunset, we were sitting near an Instagram spot. One by one we’d watch people climb on the swing or the hammock. The most beautiful dresses and assistants came by. I loved the proud flag above al of this and the intricate design of the contraption that features the Instagram page of many. As I raced against time – sunsets are NOT ideal for detailed work – the waiter came watching as well as a few photographers. They pointed out the flag, ‘Indonesia!’

The swing, the hammock, the man on the horse: so much of daily life on Gili Trawagan is about tourists and Instagram. Yet in that moment, when we started a conversation about the flag, their national holiday to come, and memories of last year’s earthquake, we were suddenly guests. And how lucky we were to sit with them and appreciate their island, to listen and share our appreciation. Painting on location invites wonderful conversations with creative souls about things that matter. I don’t care that much that I missed the crazy sunset in the end.

Gili Trawagan – 21 x 29,5 cm watercolour painting, 2019