Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The Wedding of Umezaki Masumi and Anak Agung Gede Wira Budisastra — Part 3 of 3

Ubud,Bali, December 31, 2008

The Wedding of Umezaki Masumi and Anak Agung Gede Wira Budisastra — Part 2 of 3

Ubud,Bali, December 31, 2008

The Wedding of Umezaki Masumi and Anak Agung Gede Wira Budisastra — Part 1 of 3

Ubud,Bali, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Cremation of Shane Sweeney — December 30th 2008 at Yasa Sentra Mandala Buddhist Cemetary, Mumbul, Bali

Shane Sweeney
(July 27, 1946 – December 27, 2008)

Mark Keatinge, Maya Sweeney, Putu Suarsa, Michaela, (in front) Jetsun Sweeney

Some words to be read in celebration of the life of Shane Sweeney
from John Darling

What can we say about our extraordinary friend Shane Sweeney, that can faintly measure his vibrant presence amongst us?

This guru, painter, sculptor, musician, songwriter and raconteur extraordinaire approached life in all its fullness. He was physically tough and pushed the boundaries hard, very hard. I can't believe I have outlived him.

Shane was the most international of people. His wide range of friends were from all around the globe.

He came to this flowering from the tough and parochial world of Irish-Australia. His grandfather was I believe, a boxer of some note in the bantamweight division.

After leaving school Shane spent a short period at the East Sydney Art School and then hit the road at 18 or 19 years of age. He was self-taught in all his fields of endeavour.

Many of us have been enthused by his compelling stories, which appeared to contain a whiff of myth, but I can say that when the story was one I had been involved with it was remarkably real.

In the early day, when I first met Shane with his 'travelling' family of Eve and the two wonderful toddlers Tara and Maya, I was astounded by their ability to sustain their life on the road. Selling a painting every now and then to keep it all happening. During these few years, the family would spend 6 months in Bali and the remainder of the year in Nepal.

Later I had a room in Shane's Paddington house when they were in Australia for Tara and Maya's schooling. I assisted Shane organise the stunning "Borobudur" show at the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra. As intended, this show resulted in him being removed from the idiosyncratic rigid Indonesian Government Black List.

Whilst in Paris, with Shane driving his mother in-law's no trim Renault with myself and the recently departed Mati Klairwein as passengers, we were suddenly surrounded in a back street by a French government SWAT team who were very nervous and trigger happy. It was at the time of a series of bombings of Jewish synagogues and shops.

The car was full of fragrant smoke, as we had just found a bag of the best. Panic! As the 3 of us were spread-eagled across the car Shane explained in his broadest Australian French that it was his mother-in-law's car and that we were Australians again and again and again. In a flash they let us go. We never understood why but secretly I have presumed that it was Shane's massacre of the French language that gave us our freedom!

We had many more adventures in Amsterdam but that would take too long to recall. In short Shane was of great 'practical assistance' in the preparation of the exhibition and book "Walter Spies and Balinese Art" that was held at the Tropen Museum in 1980.

Then we were together in Bali until I left around 1988. Shane was by then having growing success with his paintings and sculpture. I must also mention his love and talent of music and his mentoring of many musicians. He certainly was multi-talented.

I know he will be pissed off that Keith Richards has outlived him!

Then there were his years as the Alpha Male of Seminyak. The blessing of a son with Michaella in his 50's allowed him to embrace parenthood enthusiastically again. In private conversations, the 'old braggart' was, in fact quite sooky about this wonderful later life experience.

In 2003 my wife Sara, others and myself made the film "The Healing of Bali" about the Balinese response to the massive bombings. Shane and Jetsen kept me sane and encouraged and supported me to keep at what was, a very hard and traumatic film to make under tight deadlines. He understood how to harness my creativity. He was to me, all you could ask for in a 'mate'.

Shane was very well advanced on the spiritual path. He had been to Abyssinia as it was then and made numerous pilgrimages throughout India. He was immersed in the great canon of Hindu and Buddhist teachings and art. He understands I am sure, where his soul is voyaging during this ceremony.

It would be glib of me (because I enjoyed it so much) not to menton Shane's fascination with the perhaps darker worlds of Alistair Crowley, Claude Fariere, de Quincy and Baudelair.

All of us gathered here know that Shane was a dedicated follower of William Blake's dictum that "the Road of Excess leads to the Palace of Wisdom".

What magic we have all lost with the passing of Shane Sweeney. An unique person beyond compare.

Farewell to an extraordinary individual who was far more to me that just a friend. With a dulled heart I say in the Ozzie Idiom…

Good on yer mate. I will miss you.

Ian Van Wieringen delivers his eulogy-poem

Maya Sweeney, Putu Suarsa, Mrs. Michaela Sweeney and her son Jetsun Sweeney (front)

Ronnie Pinsler


Ronnie Pinsler holds forth
at the altar

Ian Van Wieringen

* * *


Jetsun Sweeney

Shane's son Jetsun attends
his father's body during the lying in state

Confining Shane's ashes to the ocean,

* * *

Shane, aged ten

Shane with second wife Michaela in Bali in 1999

Hippie, Hippie Shake—Shane
in Bali in the early 1970s

Shane and his son Jetsun in Nepal in 200
Shane in Java in 1993

* * *


Legian Lothario Shane Sweeney died on 27th December 2008 in Umalas after a long battle with cancer.
A true child of the sixties—he had discovered ‘Hippie,Hippie Shake’ heroine Louise Ferrier on his first boat trip to London and dragged her to “every art gallery in Europe”—he enjoyed a semi-nomadic career path, including stints as a Gentleman Sadhu in Goa, India (Society jeweller Jean-Francois Fichot was his daughters’ dresser), lead guitarist and stud-muffin in the band Prophesy (Indonesia’s first rock band) in Bandung in 1968; Borobudur artist for Unesco’s Year of Indonesia, 1985; and Legian Father-for-Rent during the 1980s and 1990s. From Bali he ran a successful fine arts business (Myra Oberoi, Angie Vesty and Mick Jagger were amongst his clients); indeed his impact on the Bali artworld was extensive during the years 1985-2005. He had a huge impact on the decorative art market: the exquisite, painterly, limestone bas relief panels his devoted team of Silakarang carvers executed mostly for export. It must be said then some misguided fools remember Shane as a pugilistic bullshit artist—he left broken promises all over the planet—but, as romancer and raconteur extraordinaire, he warmed more hearts than he burned bridges.

During the heydays of white male peacock fashion in Paddington and Kuta, he pioneered ‘Beau Bodgie’ mens’ couture: his trademark Sawu Ikat vest (coconut buttons), bare beer tumour and shorty sarong, often affecting a bandana or teatowel (vintage) turban and hoop earrings were an inspiration to all New Age fashionistas.

His signature Sydney Beau Bodgie verbiage, spat through partial dentures, was unique....and is believed to have inspired at least one Keith Richard’s song (Richard’s was his idol and sometime buddy, were one to believe all the tales).

Shane’s seminal pivotal research on the early 19th Century Kuta trader Mads Lange—done with John Darling, and later with Lorne and Lawrence Blair—inspired a generation of adventure seekers.

Despite his good works Sweeney was slagged off in Donald Friend’s diaries no end, and rather unfairly (Donald would have been jealous of Sweeney’s youthful beauty and hypocritically suspicious of his free-willy-free-wheeling ways).

In later years his antics were celebrated in the Stranger in Paradise where he enjoyed Gay Icon status on a parr with other Stranger ‘ozzie-icons’ Lorrae Desmond, Valerie Taylor and film-maker John Darling.

Sweeney lived hard but died quietly, keeping his dire condition secret from all but his immediate family for the last six months, so as not to cause a fuss.

All his life he prayed for miracles, played to the crowd and chased dreams.

Made Wijaya, Lavender Bay, Sydney, 31 December 2008

Shane, Putu and Maya in Ubud 1973

One of the artist’s popular mural designs

A Shane Sweeney garden table

* * *
Eulogy from Eve Sweeney

On this very special moments I am greatfull to feel love and in my heart and very close to shane and to you guys who are present at the ceremony.

Shane and I, we have always been travellers on this planet and we meet for the first time in 1969 half way to France and Australia in beautifull Nepal. We were young and searching for peace and real love and our eyes meet in high spirit in the Himalayas at that time we were the children of the light hippy happy generation!! Discovering how to expend our consciensness through experiment lsd scession with the messagers of thimothy leary and we were attracted to learn about ourself and find the wisdom of our life shane had $already so much travel before i meet him he left Australia on a boat for England and had been already to Greece, Africa and Bali.
He had already at 24 years old live so many adventures and human experiences and his passion for music and painting were a natural gift for him. He already had so much talent to express himself as an artist we clicked! And we follow naturally our path together as nomads so happy to carry on our travelling in India he made me discover Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, Bali and further on Australia

Our first daughter, Tara Putu Jempirin Parnama was born in Bali in 1970 at Ubud village. At that time there was no electricity on Kuta or Ubud only wild ceremonies of transe on Kuta beach and the Balinese were always very kind to us. We had a very peacefull life in Bali then a year after Maya was born in mytic Goa and we carry on to live in Europe and in France where Shane had a band and perform all around France and then we lived in Ibiza.
We always lived in beautifull surroundings in different countries. Shane was very sensitive to beauty of nature and natural life and he guide us from place to place bringing his tribe where he thought I will be good to be. It was a real luxury.

We had friends everywhere, everybody in this moving community was helping each others when they were in need financially to carry on for their travelling. It twas a special time when you could travel with very little money and a lot of spirit and happiness was our fuel! solidarity was there and a lot of grace in the air and we did really appreciate our freedom we made money with our talent music concert, selling painting, making clothes.

Shane was painting all the time beautifull painting he was selling them in 5 minutes. He was a beautifull father for Tara and Maya having big siestas with them and fall asleep often with the kids and the angels! I could escape then the family runing around doing my things.
when we went to Australia for the first time, Shane present us to his parents and we lived in Sydney and in majic malumbimby. Shane and I, we had a full life and we really share the essentiel even if each one of us follow our own path. We share the respect we have both for each others and in ourself. We share the ultimate experience that a human beeing can have on this planet which is to know and be gratefull to the love who sustain us and learn to be humble and feel in peace inside ourself. I know shane has thanks our beautifull master prem rawat for what he has shown him and I know Shane has been so gratefull in his life to have been able to be reveiled who he is really and the part of him which is eternal for him and for all of us He is really blessed. I do thanks Shane for his kindness, his deep love for life, his love for his family his talent, his courage. He has been able to carry on his in his life when he was unwell in sickness. Very couragely and with lucidity I meet him in Rome 2 months ago and he had very sincere talks about him facing death. When we loose Shane, nobody will replace him but he stay in our heart in our love and that’s all that’s count.

Shane mother died in Sydney 12 hours after shane. It is also an incredible coincidence as he had a strong connection with her. I think of Tara and Maya and Jetsen, his children who can be proud of him because Shane love for them was and is pure and genuine and they should never forget that it is so precious.

Thank you for Shane to allowed his children to receive from him his strengh which is the love he felt for them. His love will help them all their lives you cant ask for more!!
Peace to all of you united with shane spirit

A bientôt


Some photos taken by Sara Darling when Shane's Ashes were scattered at McKenzie Beach on February 22, 2009