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Creative exchange between children, Indonesia/Australia

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Teman gambar’ means ‘drawing friend’. Based on the pen-pal experience many adults around the world remember from childhood, Asialink resident Elly Kent and Tlatah Bocah are collaborating to implement a creative exchange. This exchange aims to connect children who are suffering from the impact of Mt Merapi’s devastating eruptions in 2010, and children in Australian primary schools. A pilot exchange is already underway!


Tlatah Bocah (Children’s Space) is a group that organises festivals, workshops and performance groups with children on the Western slopes of Merapi. During the aftermath of the 2006 earthquake they spent 2 years working with children in southern Yogyakarta. Elly Kent is an artist and gallery arts educator from Canberra, with a long personal and professional history in Indonesia. During Merapi’s recent eruptions she was living in Yogyakarta as an Asialink arts resident. Through a shared compassion for the children who have lost their homes, schools, livelihoods and community cohesion, they hope to create an exchange which will continue through the coming months and years as families and communities re-establish themselves.


A learning opportunity for all children who participate, the Teman Gambar exhchange will also provide a connection between Indonesia and Australia that is based on communication and sharing experiences, rather than money and aid. Tlatah Bocah’s experiences post-earthquake taught them that these are the connections that have a lasting impact after the emergency subsides. For Australian children too, connecting to our nearest neighbours can become a life-long relationship.


We understand Australian teachers are in the midst of end of year activities; we are now looking for schools to join us in the new year, 2011. Please contact Elly Kent on the contact details below if you have any questions, or are interested in participating in this project.

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