In 2023, Dr John Yu and artist Traijak Poolkasikorn generously donated over eighty Balinese and Indonesian textiles to the World Cultures Collection.

Dr Yu is a retired Sydney paediatrician with a long record of achievements in public health, education, medicine and the arts. Dr Yu is also a recognised connoisseur of Asian art and an avid collector whose learning, knowledge and donations have benefited many Australian museums and galleries and fostered public appreciation of Asian culture in Australia. Lately, Dr Yu has been collecting and sharing his expertise with likeminded colleague Traijak Poolkasikorn.

Traijak Poolkasikorn is an Australian visual artist of Thai ancestry. He brings the elements of Buddhist tradition and Australian bush to his paintings and experimental media. Poolkasikorn has a keen interest in Asian art and textiles.

There are over 3500 items of art, accessories, clothing and tools in the World Cultures Indonesian Collection. The collection has a particular strength in Balinese culture. Dr Yu’s donation expands that collection, with some very fine examples of distinct Balinese fabric pieces such as geringsing and lamak.

The lamak is one of Dr Yu’s favourites, used as a mat spread out for the gods, inviting them to attend ceremonies and receive offerings in the temple or shrine. It speaks to the interwoven fabric of social, artistic and cultural issues that drives his collecting.

Learn what drives Dr Yu’s collecting in the video below

  • Appliqué – a method and product of forming ornamental patterns by attaching, typically by sewing, smaller pieces of fabric onto a larger canvas.
  • Embroidery – forming a pattern on the fabric by applying thread or yarn with a needle, it could include other materials such as beads, quills, sequins.
  • Couchwork – method of stitching cords, yarns, and other fibres, in a variety of ways, to the surface of fabric to add colour and texture.
  • Geringsing –ceremonial fabric unique to Bali Aga Indigenous People of eastern Bali, made by dying thread prior to weaving - both running lengthwise and across in the loom (vertical and horizontal).
  • Silkscreen printing - is a technique where a mesh (of various materials) is used as a ‘stencil’ to transfer ink or dye onto a fabric (or paper) – design on the screen is formed by blocking selected areas which prevents the ink passing through the mesh.
  • Sequins – usually small, coloured metal (or imitation) pieces with a hole in the middle sewn into garments as decoration, have as their origin the ancient customs of sewing coins into clothing, as in ancient Egypt and India.
  • Ikat – the word, borrowed from the Indonesian language, describes the method of weaving that uses dyed threads to coloured patterns, as well as the type of fabric made in this process.
  • Supplementary weft weaving involves introducing additional weft thread which often is gold or silver, as in ‘songket’ fabric where the metallic threads are inserted between the silk or cotton weft (horizontal threads).
  • Weft - the set of threads that are woven across the loom (or horizontal threads).

Explore the collection