nicholas nicola etchings


Cick on each image and it shall enlarge. Below the images is some information and background material including other images to this suite of etchings. Thank you.


 This Indonesian series has a sort of Genesis re: 'the beginning of the universe' theme running through it and all six images can be viewed as one long work as shown on the home page.

  • nirvana 
  • creation of the world
  • tree of life
  •  pennies from heaven
  •  adam & eve
  •  anu krakatau is angry


  (Please note that the web colour of the prints below is much different than those shown in the above boxes whose colours are more 'true-to-life').




                 1  ‘Nirvana.’  sepia on cream paper. 6” X 4”. copperplate. Indonesia. Java.

Merapi which hovers here above a blanket of mist is an active volcano. I and a male friend from Lithuania spent a night walking up to the summit of Mt. Merapi with the hope of seeing it spout red lava just before sunrise. We did not see any lava but viewing the blanket of white cloud over the surrounding landscape made me feel we had reached nirvana. This experience was accentuated by the feeling that as we climbed this steep mountain - through a windy rainy night - I felt we were akin to the spirits of Virgil and Dante travelling through the Underworld. In the morning we had passed from the cold darkness of Hades to the warm dawn light of Paradise. Mt. Merapi is the volcano on which the nearby grand Buddhist complex of Borobudur is based on. The top of this divine temple is meant to resemble nirvana itself; seeing Mt. Merapi at dawn and its mystical surrounding environ I can well understand how it was from here that the ancient architects of Borobudur gained their original inspiration.



                 2  ‘The Creation of the World.’

                             sepia on cream paper. 6” X 4”. copperplate. Ubud. Bali.  

Around July each year in Bali is a big Hindu festival that commemorates the creation of the world. Families go to the temple in the morning to worship this event. Food is brought before the gods who come down to visit earth on this special day. After the food is blessed by priests women usually carry it away on baskets they place on their heads. Families have a big feast akin to our Christmas lunch. In this etching you can see beings that still wait to be fully formed in the shadows of the temple. While in the light are fully shaped women taking the food of the gods to their homes.   





                       3   Tree of Life.’  sepia on cream paper. 6” X 4”. copperplate.  Java. Indonesia.

An Indonesian puppet theatre; on the left side are rows of wooden puppets used during the play. The play was viewed during the day and differed from the usual shadow puppet play which has the puppets behind a curtain. The large leaf in the middle of the stage is known as the tree of life and is displayed before a play begins and also at the end of the play to signal to the audience that it is finished.




                              puppet master                                                                                     shadow puppet play




                4   ‘Pennies from Heaven.’

                      sepia on cream paper. 6” X 4”. copperplate. Indonesia. 


Leaving Flores island Kristina & I caught one of the large PELNI ferries which cruise the whole of the Indonesian archipelago. These ferries usually follow a two-week course stopping at different ports for about two hours giving just enough time to disembark and board their human cargo. These large passenger boats, which hold up to 1,000 people impeccably keep to their timetable. Sometimes there is a carnival atmosphere at the wharf when the PELNI ferry comes in as people wait to meet visiting relatives or farewell departing ones. (I still have a strong memory of two large middle-aged women in their splendid ‘Sunday dresses’ each holding a colourful little umbrella in one hand and waving little hankies as the PELNI left. While we waited for the PELNI to leave Flores several canoes approached the large white ship. I looked far down over the rail to see boys in these canoes call up at the passengers to drop coins; after doing so I watched as they dived into the water to collect their ‘treasure.’  Looking down at these industrious boys from the high vantage point of the top deck one felt like a god; I was so high up I really did feel that I was in heaven dropping coins to mortals below.


flores wharf



                         5  ‘Adam and Eve.  sepia on cream paper. 6”X 4”. copperplate. Indonesia.


Travelling through the islands of the Indonesian archipelago can be a real trial filled with many days of tedious waiting for small ferries which had broken down or for buses which only come once a day and so forth. However, there is the occasional magnificent day which makes it all worthwhile. Six of us travelled on a rickety boat to the island of Rinca near Flores to see the Komodo dragons. There is a sense of pre-history amidst the Indonesian islands which can make one feel that you have gone back to the dawn of time. We had a great day looking for the dragons and walking around Rinca and on the way back to Flores on the boat we saw one of those picture postcard sunsets that take your breath away. Amidst us six were a lovely Australian couple; here they are as Adam and Eve on the boat enjoying paradise.






                  6   ‘Anu Krakatau is Angry.

                  sepia on cream paper. 6” X 4”. copperplate. Indonesia.  M

Anu Krakatau is the child of Krakatau which blew up in the late 1800s causing thousands of deaths. One guidebook stated the sound of the eruption could be heard in Alice Springs. Thus my travel companion Kristina and I paid homage to this ancient power of nature by going out to it on a small fishing boat. The foredeck can be seen in the foreground. A boy on the craft could speak some English and so was our guide; the volcanic island erupted large plumes of black dust into the sky every ten minutes and so he informed us that on this day ‘Anu Krakatau was angry’. We spent a half hour on the island where we continued to view the blasts of Anu’s temper. It seemed as we touched the warm black sandy soil we had connected with the centre of the earth itself. The trip to a nearby island - where we were going to stay overnight before heading back to the Javanese coast - was very wild, the sky suddenly becoming grey and accompanied by a strong tempest. I feared as the boat steeply swung from side to side in the stormy seas there was a good chance it would capsize. However, we safely reached the sanctuary of the next island which - along with several others - was probably a remnant of the previous Krakatau; during the night we watched Anu Krakatau continue its tantrums - which regularly appeared as small orange glows on the dark horizon. Our eventful sojourn to this volcanic island was another highlight having the same sense of journeying into a world which preceded human time; comparing favourably to our much earlier visit to Rinca.  To finish on a ‘technical note’ I should add that the sky was devised by simply scratching steel wool over the wax which was on the copper plate.



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