Puji Lestari is a housewife with disability. Currently, the 24-years old mother of one is pursuing the art of painting. She lives in Dusun Mendak, Giri Sekar Sub-District, Panggang District, Gunungkidul Regency. Being born with disability doesn’t make her inactive and passively awaits for any aid or assistance, those are the principles that she lives by. Puji admits the difficulty to live as a disabled person, since she received many cynical comments and mockery which sometimes made her feel down. However, she is grateful to have a family that loves her and support in whatever she does while still accepting her disability. These conditions are the reason behind her spirit and confidence in her life. The opinions from the people in the community are varied; some understand and respect people with disability while others consider them as a burden and have no use to the society and family. Therefore, Puji proves through her work of art that people with disability, despite their limitations, have ability as demonstrated by her ability to paint using her arms and legs. Their condition was never an excuse to stop creating artwork.
World of Painting
Since she was 14 years old, Puji has been into drawing as a pastime activity. This activity has been her enjoyment for the last 2 years. She receives many supports from the family and Iwan Setiyawan – her tutor as well as a mentor – by providing her painting tools as well as the knowledge of art. Currently, she continues to communicate with several art community to gain more ability because she thinks she still has so many thing to learn. Not only does she wants to visualize her ideas, but she also wants to give a message well-delivered in her artworks. The messages are what give distinction in each of her artwork. Now, Puji mostly paints the theme of farming and villages as she lives in one. However, her artworks tells the story of women and disabled people as well. She uses her painting as a media to introduce and fight for the rights of women and disabled people. The difficulty that she often encounters is to get the tools and materials to paint. She has to wait for days to get them but it never put down her willingness to paint. She is grateful to be known through her artwork and her condition. She even participated in an event celebrating International Women’s Day, attended by the Regent Head and the Head of Regional House of Representatives for Gunungkidul Regency. In that event, both figure stroked some brush on the painting and Puji continued the painting. When asked about her painting style, she said that that she is more into expressionism since she like the freedom to express anything she feels and thinks.
Puji has a message to her fellow disabled people to never give up because people have their own ability. She wants them to keep honing their ability by keep learning and practicing diligently and with high spirit. Anyone can learn from anywhere, from anyone, and anytime. The most important thing is to keep growing to be a smarter and better person. Puji wishes to tell the parents and the family of every disabled person to never be embarrassed and to support them instead by helpong them to develop abilities in order to be better and useful. The support and the love from family is what everyone need.