Borneo artist paints mural for Quilcene shelter (SEE GALLERY)

QUILCENE — He is a nationally known mural artist in Indonesia, doing commissioned work for the World Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy and Save the Bears.

She is a University of Washington graduate who worked at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.

For the past five years, they have been living and working in Borneo at the Sungai Wain Protection Forest and environmental education center, which focuses on the preservation of sun bears.

Attracted to shelter

So when Bvll Timbul Cahyono and Ali Redman moved to Jefferson County in January, they naturally gravitated to Sara Penhallegon’s animal shelter on Center Valley Road.

“We lived on site, and we’re used to living with animals,” Redman said.

Redman and Timbul Cahyono, who are married, not only volunteered to lend a hand feeding and caring for cats at the Center Valley Animal Rescue shelter, which takes in farm animals and household pets, they also offered his talents as a professional artist to paint a mural on the front of the room housing the shelter’s six iguanas after researching the animal’s native habitat.

“Everything in it is correct,” Redman said.

Self-taught artist

Born and raised in the city of Balikpapan, Borneo, Timbul Cahyono, 32, is a self-taught artist who began selling his paintings in a gallery at the age of 12.

He has done murals for Coca-Cola, Chevron, Total (an oil company) and municipalities, including his home city, which commissioned him to create a commemorative mural for a sports complex, he said.

“One of his biggest murals was the width of a football field,” Redman said.

Timbul Cahyono, whose first name is pronounced “Bull,” has also done murals for Tropenbos, a Dutch environmental nongovernmental organization, and artwork for the Australian-based Save the Bears’ Cambodian facility as well as illustrations for field guides, posters, brochures and cards.

At the 10,000-hectare Sungai Wain Protection Forest, Timbul Cahyono was the resident artist and also helped Redman, the animal manager at the environmental education center, build sun bear enclosures and reintroduce sun bears into the wild.

Although they are the smallest bear in the world, they are “still a bear,” he said.

Educational exhibits

Timbul Cahyono also did all the artwork for the sun bear information building at the education center — large murals, interactive exhibits and three-dimensional displays and mobiles.

“He now specializes in educational exhibits,” Redman said.

Timbul Cahyono completed the iguana habitat mural in four days from a watercolor sketch he made and is planning a mural of Center Valley residents to frame the front door.

He is planning to exhibit his paintings, which are surreal in style, locally, and has had work shown in the Indonesian National Gallery four times and in more than 20 invitational exhibits, Redman said.

He has also illustrated two comic books. One, titled Bolhut, was published by the Sungai Wain Protection Forest, Redman said.

She and Timbul Cahyono are creating a series of comic books about a sun bear, the first of which is currently available in Indonesia.

Redman, whose parents live in the south county, is completing a master’s degree in marine science at the University of California, San Diego.

She and her husband may return to live in Borneo at some point, she said, but decided to give the United States a try.

For more information about Timbul Cahyono, go to

For more information about sun bears and the Sungai Wain Protection Forest, go to

For information about volunteering or adopting an iguana or other animal at Center Valley Animal Rescue, go to


Port Townsend/Jefferson County Reporter-Columnist Jennifer Jackson can be reached at 360-379-5688 or

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