Wakatobi saraong artwork. Kate Padget-Koh creating the artwork for a Wakatobi sarong.

A Destination for Inspiration

Published April 15, 2023 in NEWS, RESORT

For Hong Kong-based artist and designer Kate Padget-Koh, Wakatobi is more than a destination — it’s an inspiration. “From the first visit, I fell in love with Wakatobi,” she recalls. “It’s a place where we become guests in a beautiful, magical other world. It never ceases to inspire and astound me.”

Kate was introduced to this magical underwater world in the year 2000 with a Discover Scuba experience in the waters of Indonesia’s Moyo Island. In the years since, she and her husband John have dived extensively in Indo-Pacific waters and beyond, often seeking out remote locations that promise pristine reefs.

Kate's inspirational Wakatobi paintings: Princess Atargatis of Wakatobi (L) and Kate's famous Mermaid (right), were both inspired by her experiences at Wakatobi. Image courtesy of Kate Padget-Koh

Two of Kate’s paintings: Princess Atargatis of Wakatobi (L) and Kate’s famous sea goddess (right), which was used for the first Wakatobi limited edition sarong. Image courtesy of Kate Padget-Koh

During their travels, Kate and John continued to hear good things about Wakatobi and eventually added it to their must-do list. They made their first visit to the resort in 2016, and it was an experience that Kate describes as “beyond expectations.” “In a word it was breathtaking,” she says. “Some of the best diving in the world, and with so many amazing creatures. In addition, the entire Wakatobi team is amazing, and have become friends. I fell in love with the total Wakatobi experience.”

“Anyone wanting to find inspiration and create a beautiful relationship with a place will find it at Wakatobi.” ~ Kate Padget-Koh

Her visit to Wakatobi inspired a new direction in Kate’s artistic endeavors. In 2017 she completed her first Wakatobi-themed creation, which depicts a sea goddess. This work has since adorned a series of custom fine silk sarongs that she makes available to the resort for gifting and sales at the Boutique. She describes her style of art as “hyper-natural,” combining reality with a sense of magic and immense beauty. “My recent pieces are inspired by the Wakatobi marine life and the beauty of the resort,” she explains. “I draw on the Sea Goddesses – Selassia and Sedna. They are mermaids, and I am sure there are mermaids swimming in the Wakatobi waters.”

Kate and husband John Koh have visited Wakatobi six times, including two trips aboard Pelagian.

Kate and husband John Koh have visited Wakatobi six times, including two trips aboard Pelagian Dive Yacht. Photo courtesy of Kate Padget-Koh

In the following years, Kate and John returned to Wakatobi five more times. “Wakatobi has the magnificence of a big resort combined with intimate attention to detail,” she says. “Such good diving combined with amazing service and facilities are very rare,” she says. “It excels as a luxury resort — the setting, the warmth of the staff, and the level of service are as good as it gets. And after years of diving in remote locations, it was a joy to sit down to exceptional meals with good salads, soft cheeses, and so forth. And as a dive resort, Wakatobi is truly in a class of its own, and I do not have a comparison in the dive world.”

The Padget-Koh’s time at Wakatobi included two trips aboard the dive yacht Pelagian. “We have been on many luxury liveaboards,” Kate says. “The Pelagian takes it to a whole other level. The boat, staff, and service level are extraordinary.  After being on the Pelagian, I would find it hard to find a serious diving liveaboard of this level elsewhere.”

Wakatobi sarong limited edition by Kate Padget-Koh. Her inspiration comes from visits and diving at Wakatobi.

A sneak peek at our second limited edition fine silk Kate Padget-Koh Wakatobi sarong. This will be available in the Wakatobi boutique. Courtesy of Kate Padget-Koh

Soon after the post-pandemic reopening of Wakatobi, Kate returned once again; she and John will also visit this July 2023. Kate is now working on new artwork that will grace a second bespoke Wakatobi-themed sarong, which will also be made available to the global Wakatobi community. “I am so grateful for the love of the Wakatobi family,” she says. “Anyone wanting to find inspiration and create a beautiful relationship with a place will find it at Wakatobi.”

About Kate

Kate Padget-Koh is a British artist, based in Hong Kong. She has lived in Asia for over 20 years, and her husband is Singaporean. Her diverse career in Fashion and her life journeys inspire her colorful, bold, heartfelt work.

Kate Padget-Koh working on a Wakatobi painting in her Hong Kong studio

Kate working in her studio in Hong Kong. Courtesy of Kate Padget-Koh

Kate’s exotic paintings draw on personal passions and her career in fashion and sustainable design. She works on large-scale two-dimensional pieces in ink, collage, gold leaf, and stickers, and she has mastered the techniques of combining digital design with hand-finished canvas prints. Her love for the diversity of Asian cultures, historical and modern, along with her eclectic view of the world, provides fuel for her work. Large-scale pieces include saints, madonnas, buddhas, goddesses, Peranakan culture, glorious underwater scenes, and vivid nature.

Find out more about Kate on her website >HERE

Contact us at office@wakatobi.com or Enquire >here.