‘Bali Nine smuggler saved my life’

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 01 Maret 2015 | 20.01

Turned around ... former intimate Dayu Alit in the workshop inside Kerobokan jail. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro. Source: News Corp Australia

DAYU Alit was just 16 and taking drugs when she was sentenced to four years and three months jail in Bali's Kerobokan prison.

Caught with just 0.14 grams of methamphetamine, the school student faced a bleak future inside an adult prison with a crushing sentence.

A young Australian man on death row changed her life. Now 20 and free, Dayu, wants that same man to have a second chance at his own life.

Chance meeting ... former inmate Dayu Alit came of age under Myuran Sukumaran's tutelage. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro Source: News Corp Australia

Released on parole after three years in jail Dayu — whose was born Ida Ayu Komang Alit Kencana Dewi — has gone back to school to finish her senior high school and has become an artist.

She is one of a group of six former prisoners who have gone on, after release, to paint and who now plan to open an art gallery which they want to call the Bali Nine Gallery.

Keen artist ... Dayu has gone back to school to finish her senior high school. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro Source: News Corp Australia

They have earmarked a place in Legian and are hoping to secure a rental deal this week.

The former prisoners are testament to the success of rehabilitation programs set up inside Kerobokan jail by Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, who are facing imminent execution.

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Describing Sukumaran as a close friend who changed her life, she desperately hopes he will be allowed to live and continue sharing his knowledge and passion with scores more prisoners.

Without him, Dayu and the others say their lives would have continued down the same destructive trajectory. Instead, they developed a skill and love for art and are well on their way to drug-free and successful lives in the outside world.

Talented bunch ... The artists are hoping to secure a rental deal this week on a Bali property to display their works. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro. Source: News Corp Australia

Dayu is now finishing the senior high school she missed out on while in jail, will graduate in May and then hopes to study accounting and art.

Inspired ... Dayu with one of her paintings. Picture: Adam Taylor Source: News Corp Australia

Before ending up in jail, Dayu had never painted before. But, facing a long sentence and boredom coupled with a desire to forget her case and troubles, including an ex-boyfriend who threw acid in her face in the jail visiting room, Dayu decided to start attending art and dancing classes in the prison.

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She loved it and was so immersed in her new hobby that when authorities asked if she wanted to move to a children's jail she rejected it and stayed at Kerobokan.

Art ... Dayu mostly paints Balinese dancers, illustrating her love of dancing. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro. Source: News Corp Australia

Sukumaran had fought hard to have the female prisoners allowed to attend the workshop, known as the Bengker, with male prisoners. And he had one hard and fast rule — no drugs.

The art room, under Sukumaran's presence, flourished. Outside teachers were brought in and renowned Australian artist and Archibald Prize winner Ben Quilty, started taking classes.

From the moment Dayu took up a paint brush she was a natural. Her very first artwork was an of an old man. It wasn't too bad, she says.

Now she mostly paints Balinese dancers, illustrating her love of dancing.

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"At the beginning I just wanted to try it because I felt bored. I wanted to try to paint and I liked it," she recalls of her early foray into painting.

"Myu taught me about the basic way to paint and how to mix the colours," she says. She hasn't looked back.

"Many prisoners that are released from jail are without a job. But I have a hobby and skill that I can use now," she said.

Prison class ... an art class inside Kerobokan jail. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro. Source: News Corp Australia

She does not want to think about the possibility of Sukumaran and Chan being executed and deplores the idea.

"I hope it will never happen, because the death sentence is not appropriate for Myu. He has changed. He changed not only for himself, but he also changed many other people's lives for the better. Like setting up rehabilitation programs."

"Why can't they see the conditions in the prison? Do not execute a changed person. Why not give him the second chance. Even God can forgive us, why can't human beings?"


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