Category Archives: Balinese Contemporary Art

Art Bali: a stepping-stone to a sustainable art ecosystem

sri mulyana, heri pemad & triawan munaf during the official opening of art bali - image courtesy of art baliMinister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia, Sri Mulyani, Head of BeKraf, Triawan Munif and Heri Pemad during the opening of Art Bali 9 October 2018

 

Under wraps Art Bali, a world- class presentation of contemporary art by 39 Balinese, Indonesian and foreign artists in Nusa Dua, closed 9 November. The most anticipated art exhibition in the island’s recent history, it was Bali’s first venture into a realm of global art events.

The origins of Art Bali is the synergy of a relationship beginning in 1998 when Heri Pemad, CEO and Founder of ArtJog, Indonesia’s flagship contemporary art fair that has evolved into one of the most colourful and unique events on the global art map, and Balinese artist I Made Aswino Aji, were students studying fine art in Yogyakarta.

"self portrait" - filippo sciascia 2018 mixed media image richard horstman                            Self Portrait, 2018 – Filippo Sciascia

 

Pemad and Aswino Aji’s discussions began more than 3 years ago laying the event’s conceptual foundations, the catalyst in Art Bali’s realization, however, was Pemad’s relationship with BEKRAF (Agency for Creative Economy Indonesia). The opportunity arose when BEKRAF Director Triawan Munaf presented Pemad the challenge of organizing a special event to coincide with the annual meeting of the IMF & World Bank held in Nusa Dua Bali, 6 – 19 October.

According to Pemad the Indonesian government was inspired to include an event within the IMF –World Bank side program, the meeting was attended by 34,000 delegations from around 200 countries, “They wished to challenge the ideas of delegates visiting Indonesia for the first time that Indonesia was a still a traditional country. Through a presentation of contemporary art dialogue they could observe a nation in a process of development and change.”

entang wiharso_wisdom_aluminum, car paint, polyurethane, resin, graphite, steel bar, lightbulb, electric cable, thread, color pigment, lamp, stainless steel, chai                               Wisdom, 2018 – Entang Wiharso

 

Pemad’s immediate task was to create a branch of HPAM (Heri Pemad Art Management) in Bali with a local team, led by Aswino Aji. After two years of hard work and waiting for the Indonesian governmental bureaucratic process to fall into place the event was given the green light, which left two months for the physical details of Art Bali to become manifest.

Art Bali was opened by the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia Sri Mulyani 9 October. Held in a purpose built venue designed by Pemad and sited within the Nusa Dua tourism precinct in the AB•BC Building, set over 1000 square meters, it was erected in a whirlwind 40 days. “We are pushing Indonesian art onto the new map of the global creative economy,” said Triawan Munaf. “We are optimistic that the creative economy will become the backbone of the national economy.”

"the tragedy of resistance" made widya diputra 2018, mixed media image richard horstman                The Tragedy of Resistance, 2018 –  Made Widya Diputra

 

Global art events in Indonesia that present the finest local and international talent, attracting large national and international audiences, the media, collectors and the art industry have been a feature of the Java art landscape for over a decade. Art fairs, ArtJog and Art Jakarta have become crucial platforms and meeting points for the Indonesian art world – the event’s brands now securely positioned on the global art map.

“Art Bali will be an annual event,” Aswino Aji said. “The venue will become a new feature on the Bali landscape, in the pipeline is a series of regular events.” Art Bali, however, is the subject of speculation. If the event continues it could prove to be a vital game changer – a catalyst within the reconfiguration of an important economic sector that was the initial driver of the tourism economy on Bali almost a century ago.

galam zulkifli_seri ilusi - indonesia idea #voice face_acrylic, fluorescent, glow in the dark paint on canvas_400x600 cm (6 panels, each 200x200 cm)_2018             Seri Ilusi – Indonesia Idea #Voice Face, 2018 –  Galam Zulkifli

 

Art and cultural tourism was responsible for the first wave of tourism to the island beginning in the 1930’s, until 1945. In the 1970’s during a renewed period of tourism growth art and culture again played defining roles. Post 2008 witnessed the new phenomenon of lifestyle tourism, driven by events such as the Bali Spirit Festival, and the Ubud Readers & Writers Festival, along with the development of resort tourism, as the burgeoning new economic engines. The advancement of new digital technologies as practical and powerful tools has fuelled the rapid growth in these thriving sectors.

The lack of local initiative and know-how to build a dynamic and functional infrastructure has, however, resulted in art being almost forgotten within the island’s recent fortunes, with enormous social and monetary potential being unrealized – and this is where Art Bali becomes essential.

ashley bickerton "yello nose & orang nose" 2018 mixed media image richard horstman                Yello Nose & Orang Nose, 2018 – Ashley Bickerton

 

“Our aim is to help build a sustainable art eco system in Bali,” Aswino Aji stated.

For a sustainable art eco system to evolve three essential fundamentals from the 20th century global art machine must exist within the Bali art landscape; a world-class art fair, museum and auction house, all with international stature. Understanding and prioritizing the need to revive and preserve Bali’s renowned creative traditions is also vital. This may be achieved by a purpose built center for research and development that also focuses on the necessary platforms to launch products and talent into the 21st century global creative economy.

Each year Art Bali must inject fresh and exciting energy into its program, making it very international, with new artists and new works, building its brand beyond Indonesia; first targeting collectors from SE Asia, China, Japan and India. Understanding Art Bali’s target audience of national, regional and international art collectors, and being able to lure them to Bali will be one of the keys to its future success. When the above-mentioned key facets of the art infrastructure are in place, the other essentials will organically evolve.

courtesy of National Gallery of Indonesia                          The Traveller, 2018 – Eko Nugroho

 

For Art Bali to flourish and become the spearhead of a sustainable art eco system teamwork and collaboration is pivotal, including support from many Indonesian government ministries beyond BEKRAF, and likewise the cooperation from the Bali government. A challenge is how to mobilize the enormous pool of talent from Bali – its artists and art communities.

Art Bali needs to capitalize on the superb international branding power of Bali, while making a clear distinction from ArtJog by having an event with a strong Bali identity. A vision of how the sustainability of Bali’s art eco system can be achieved is possible. Art Bali is the first step in this process.

chusin setiadikara - "jejak-jejak jalur sutra" 2017 150 x 200cm oil & acrylic on canvas - image richard horstman                      Jejak-Jejak Jalur Sutra, 2017  – Chusin Setiadikara

 

nyoman erawan - "dancing with the shadows" 2018 mixed media image richard horstman               Dancing with the Shadows, 2018 – Nyoman Erawan

 

ab - bc bali collection building nusa dua, bali image richard horstman

 

www.artbali.co.id

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images courtesy of Art Bali & Richard Horstman

 

Advertisements

empowering Balinese woman artists – FUTUWONDER

 

participants in the "puan empu seni edit-athon" at rumah sanurMembers of Futuwonder and volunteer participants in the “Puan Empu Seni Edit-athon” at Rumah Sanur

 

During 2018 a small, yet enthusiastic gathering of volunteers set out to make a very significant contribution to Balinese art. “Puan Empu Seni: Edit-a-thon”, was conducted 7 July in Bali within a fun and learning environment at Rumah Sanur-Creative Hub. It was a part of a national drive to increase the amount of information on Indonesian female artists to be found on the Internet’s most go-to source of information – Wikipedia.

The landscape of information and knowledge about Indonesian art on the Wikipedia Indonesia Page is far from comprehensive and is not reliable as a valid source of knowledge. Profile entries of Indonesian painters and sculptors total forty-six, of which only three entries are profiles of female artists. Inspired by a similar event held in March this year by IVAA (Indonesian Visual Art Archives) in Yogyakarta, the “Puan Empu Seni: Edit-a-thon” (women who master arts) event was the premiere event held by Futuwonder, a new Bali woman’s art collective, in collaboration with Wikimedia Indonesia.

volunteers, futuwonder members and wiki pedia indonesia at work on laptops during the edit-athonMembers of Futuwonder and volunteer participants at work during the “Puan Empu Seni Edit-athon

 

From the words future and wonder, Futuwonder is an interdisciplinary group of artists, curators, writers and designers from different fields dedicated to encouraging development of the arts through discourse and artistic activities, especially for women.

“Our goal through this Wikilatih (Wikipedia article writing) workshop was to discuss, and write together inserting valid information about Balinese female artists so it may be accessed by many people,” said Putu Sridinari, a visual designer born in Ubud who is one of the four woman team members of Futuwonder. “From this workshop, we contributed 18 new articles on female artists from Bali.”

“We hope the information gap about Balinese female artists can lessen so as to help in the positioning of women in the arts, while adding more knowledge to the Bali arts writings through a collective site such as Wikipedia,” Putu said.

citra sasmita - metamorphosis(the flowers of carnage) 2018 acrylic and oil on canvas, image courtesy of the artistMetamorphosis (The Flowers of Carnage) 2018 by Futuwonder member Citra Sasmita

 

Along with Putu Sridinari, Futuwonder consists of Ruth Onduko, one of the most experienced and respected art managers in Bali who has worked in artist and gallery management for more than ten years. One of Ruth’s recent projects includes the instagram-based Bali art and creative sector information platform Senidibali. Citra Sasmita, a Balinese-born self-taught artist who was one of the recipients of the Gold Award Winner in the 2017 UOB Indonesian Painting of the Year painting competition. Her paintings, installations and performances which have been presented throughout Indonesia and abroad embody issues regarding women’s cultural identity and position within a patriarchal culture, along with social and cultural realities, and

Savitri Sastrawan, a Balinese-born curator who has a master’s degree from Goldsmith University of London. She was one of the curaters of the 2016 landmark exhibition “Celebrating Murni”, a tribute exhibition for the iconic Balinese female artist IGAK Murniasih (1966-2006) who raised issues of sexuality and identity in her works.

44694816_300366523902050_2307222136097341440_oFutuwonder exhibition “Masa Subur: Efek Samping” at Karja Art Space, Ubud, Bali

 

“A meeting in 2017 of four young women from different backgrounds yet with similar visions determined to create a platform to support women’s art activities and encourage visual discourse inspired the beginnings of Futuwonder,” Putu said. “The driving question that motivates our initiative is: ‘Why are there not many established women artists in Bali?’”

Balinese society is very patriarchal and while the visual art world is dominated by men, there are, however many talented female Balinese artists who successfully complete their academic art training. Few, however, continue on to become successful artists or to make a career from the visual arts. In 1991 the Seniwati Gallery of Art by Women opened in Ubud in reaction to the invisibility of women artists in the galleries and museums in Bali. Founded by Mary Northmore, the gallery and art studio taught women and girls art and held exhibitions, competitions and helped to market their artwork. It closed in 2010 and the Seniwati Art Space continued on for a few years in Batubulan from December 2012.

44652780_300363373902365_1687779777752072192_oPerformance by Citra Sasmita and friend during the opening of “Masa Subur: Efek Samping”  20 October

 

Artist’s collectives have historically played an essential role in the development and representation of Balinese art. The first being the highly influential Pita Maha Artists Cooperative founded in Ubud in the 1930’s. Seniwati was instrumental in helping to launch the careers of well-known artists IGAK Murniashi and Ni Nyoman Sani, yet for the past 6 years, until the founding of Futuwonder, there has neither been a venue, or organization, that champions women artists in Bali.

Open from 20 October – 9 November at Karja Art Space, Penestanan, Ubud “Masa Subur: Efek Samping” – Futuwonder’s premiere exhibition showcases a selection of women artists from Bali. The participants have been selected through an open call method and the event includes a program focussing on issues surrounding women’s art and politics through writing, discussions, workshops and the recording of fine art databases by women. This inaugural exhibition will be the starting point of a sustainable movement, driven by female artists.

44794797_300367053901997_5091191517565943808_oParticipating artists and members of Futuwonder during the opening of “Masa Subur: Efek Samping” at Karja Art Space

43652063_300362650569104_3072101591847796736_oArt audience at the opening of “Masa Subur: Efek Samping” at Karja Art Space

 

https://futuwonder.wordpress.com/

https://www.instagram.com/futuwonder/

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Coutesy of Futuwonder

Previewing Larasati’s Traditional, Modern & Contemporary Art Auction, Bali, August 2018

dewa putu mokoh "iringan pengantin" image courtesy of larasati                     “Iringan Pengantin” – Dewa Putu Mokoh 

 

Each year Larasati Auctioneer’s, Indonesia’s oldest fine art auction house, present two auctions in Ubud highlighting Balinese traditional art. Upcoming Sunday 26 August is seventy-four items for sale in the Traditional, Modern & Contemporary Art Auction. Open to the public, viewing begins 11am Friday 24 August at the Larasati Art Space at Tebesaya Gallery, Ubud, Bali.

The sale is led by a collection of Mr & Mrs Charles Powell, USA, and three beautiful traditional paintings by Wayan Radjin from the 1970’s. The sale presents works by old masters of traditional genres, some unique and rare paintings, works with investment potential, and an array of compositions that allow good entry opportunities into the market for new collectors.

wayan radjin "ramayana membebaskan dewi sita" image courtesy of larasati               “Ramayana Membebaskan Dewi Sita”- Wayan Radjin

 

Catering for a range of tastes works on offer include ink, and watercolour on paper, Indonesian modern art, Balinese modern and contemporary paintings and works in traditional styles, along with a wood carving. Distinguished Balinese artists featured are Ida Bagus Made Poleng, Ida Bagus Made Widja, Gusti Ketut Kobot and Nyoman Gunarsa. For new buyers wishing to enter the market, estimated prices in this sale begin at IDR 500,000 (USD $35). Auctions offer buying opportunities at prices much cheaper than purchasing works directly from the artist studio, or galleries.

These works by respected old masters will be of interest to the connoisseurs of Balinese art. Tjokorda Oka Gambir (1902-1975) is one of the founders of the Ubud School of Painting, lot# 549 Mythological Scene in Kamasan Style is a large 248 x 132cm work in natural colour on cloth with an estimated price of between IDR 65 – 80 million, while lot #550 Garuda & Wisnu is by one of the esteemed masters of the influential Pitamaha Artists Association from Ubud (1936-1945), Gusti Ketut Kobot (1917-1999) with an estimated price of between IDR 95 – 110 million.

dewa ketut rungun "burung burung bangau" image courtesy of larasati                   “Burung – Burung Bangau” – Dewa Ketut Rungun

 

Lot #574 Taris Bali is a superbly balanced composition of traditionally attired Balinese warrior emerging from the forest performing the unique warrior dance by Ida Bagus Made Poleng (1915 – 1999) who is regarded as one of the finest Balinese painters of the past century. This work bears the stamped identification that guarantees authenticity from the Ida Bagus Made Foundation, and has an estimated price of between IDR 165 – 190 million.

The following are rare pieces lot #544, Sarasvati is an early work by the respected Batuan painter Wayan Taweng (1922 – 2004) who trained under Nyoman Ngendon (1906 – 1946) with an estimated price of between IDR 10 – 15,000,000 million. Wayan Radjin (b.1945) is the son of the celebrated Batuan artist I Djata, considered the founding father of the Batuan School. Lot #527 Ramayana Membebaskan Dewi Sita by Radjin is a beautiful acrylic on canvas composition with an estimated price of between IDR 28 – 38 million. Most of Radjin’s works are on paper, and rarely does such a quality work come onto the market.

gusti ketut kobot "garuda wisnu" image courtesy of larasati                          “Garuda Wisnu” – Gusti Ketut Kobot

 

Lot # 572 Iringan Pengatin is a unique work because it is a crowded composition by the renowned painter of the unconventional, Dewa Putu Mokoh (1913 – 2010), and has an estimated price of between IDR 7 – 10 million, while lot #521 Ibu dan Anak, featuring a composition of a mother and child is too an unusual work by Dewa Ketut Rungun (1922-1986), who is noted for his bird compositions. It has an estimated price of between IDR 15 – 20 million.

Opportunities for good investments are lot #513 a. Di Malam Ini and b. Aku dan Dia Bermain, two paintings by Indonesia’s most important woman artist I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniashi (1966 – 2006), with a combined estimated price of between IDR 18 – 25 million, and lot #520 Bali Life by Ketut Gelgel, which has an estimated price of between IDR 95 – 110 million.

i gusti ayu kadek murniashi "di malam ini" image courtesy of larasati                  “Di Malam Ini” – I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniashi (Murni)

 

New collectors have opportunities to enter the market with lot #507 Hierarkie by Susilo Budi Purwanto, Berburu Kuda, lot# 512 by Made Wiradana, and two abstract oil paintings, lot #540 Kampung Nelayan Kusamba and lot #541 Gunungan Semar by noted Javanese painter Bagong Kussudiardjo (1928-2004), and the beautiful flowing flora and fauna forms within Burung Burung Bangau, lot #573 by Dewa Ketut Rungun. Emerging Balinese artist Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya is a young artist worth keeping an eye on, with excellent technical skills, good ideas and a distinctive style, lot# 508 Upgrade comes with an estimated price of between IDR 7.5 – 9 million.

Other popular artists within the sale are renowned Dutch colourist Arie Smit, Otto Djaja, Mochtar Apin, Jehan, Ida Bagus Nyoman Rai, Nyoman Dewa Jati, Dewa Putu Bedil and Agung Mangu Putra.

For buyers seeking to invest it is important to have a strategy, with the view of buying and holding for at least 10-15 years, and to invest early in an artist before everyone is getting on to the market. Look for works that are rare and unique – uniqueness referring to the quality and how often the artist makes such image or composition. A painting’s provenance is important for the established taste and also for authenticity, with the more prominent the previous owners, the better. This also includes the works history of exhibitions and inclusion in books or catalogues.

ida bagus made poleng "taris bali" image courtesy of larasati                           “Taris Bali” – Ida Bagus Made Poleng

 

Potential buyers bidding over the phone, or via real-time Internet bidding who are unable to attend the previews days or auction are advised to contact Larasati and enquire about the colour reproduction accuracy of the images contained within the online catalogue to ensure that what they wish to purchase can be realistically appraised. The absence of reference to the condition of a lot in the catalogue description does not imply that the lot is free from faults or imperfections, therefore condition reports of the works, outlining the paintings current state and whether it has repairs or over painting, are available upon request.

Provenance, the historical data of the works previous owner/s is also important and is provided. An information guide including before the auction, during the auction and after the auction details, including conditions of business, the bidding process, payment, storage and insurance, and shipping of the work is also available. A buyer’s premium is payable by the buyer of each lot at rate of 22% of the hammer price of the lot.

The online catalogue, complete with a guide for prospective buyers is available at: www.larasati.com

Larasati Bali Art Space at Tebesaya Gallery

Jalan Jatayu, Banjar Tebesaya, Peliatan,

Ubud, Gianyar Bali, Indonesia

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images Courtesy: Larasati

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Denpasar2018 Art+Design: An Exhibition & Movement

Invited artist Yoka Sara                        Denpasar2018 – invited artist Yoka Sara

 

During the month of October a unique program of activities presented by CushCush Gallery (CCG) in Denpasar highlights the ongoing transformation of the city into a modern creative hub that is evolving side-by-side with its cultural and historical icons. Opening 5 October DenPasar2018 Art+Design – An Exhibition & Movement headlines the program along with other community happenings, including Design Talk, Design Walk, Open Studios, that coincide with the launch of the DenPasar Art+Design Map 2018/2019.

 “In recent years many creatives from throughout Indonesia and overseas have been attracted to Bali for its lifestyle and rich culture. Many decide to base themselves here, while others return regularly. As the island’s multi-cultural society evolves so does its creative potential,” said CCG co-founder Suriawati Qiu, who along with her partner Jindee Chua in July 2016 launched CCG upon the local art and design landscape injecting exciting energy into Bali’s creative scene.

Curatorial Talk #1 with Kevin & Marishka 6 10 2018   Curatorial Talk #1 with Kevin & Marishka 6th October at CushCush Gallery

 

“Nowadays many of Bali’s youths have been educated in universities outside Bali and internationally, and then return. They are important agents of change and vital contributors to Bali’s artistic spirit and are stakeholders in the new emerging creative economy.”

The development of Bali’s contemporary art and design infrastructure (including new art spaces, co-working creative hubs, festivals, and organizations) are the important meeting and showcasing points for the thriving new generation of creatives. Following on from the first edition released in 2017 the DenPasar Art+Design Map 2018/2019 will include a listing of community events celebrating Art & Design in October.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA               Design Talk – Denpasar Inside : Out at Maya Sanur Ballroom

 

The DenPasar Art+Design Map 2018/2019 highlights museums, government and cultural institutions, art and design educational institutions, art galleries and creative spaces, art and creative communities, festivals, artists’ studios, cultural heritage/public spaces/monuments, and the markets within the city of Denpasar.  The map is endorsed by the Denpasar Central Government (Pemerintah Kota Denpasar), Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association and the Denpasar Tourism Promotion Board, along with the Indonesian Government’s Agency for Creative Economy, Badan KREATIF Denpasar. Printed in 10,000 copies the map will be distributed at selected Creative spaces and hotels in Bali over the next twelve months. The unique feature of this year’s map is the QR Code to allow direct access to the listed venues via the smart phone App.

“The recent importance given to the creative economy, and its support through government organizations such as Bekraf encourages initiatives in the Creative sectors of economy,” Suria added. “The government plays an important role too.”

Invited artist Alit Ambara                         Denpasar2018 – invited artist Alit Ambara

 

Three invited artists along with 12 Shortlisted Open Call artists will exhibit in DenPasar2018 – An Exhibition and Movement. Themed “Jingga”, which describes the colour of twilight and is a metaphor of how the people of Denpasar feel about both the joys and hardships living in Denpasar. The theme endeavours to capture varying perspectives within Bali’s multi-layered realities in a three-month long exhibition showcasing works of fine artists, designers, architects and performers. Works featured include paintings, installations, multimedia projections, photography, ceramic art, and posters.

Co-curated by Suriawati and Jindee, and independent curator Stella Katherine, the invited artists include Sydney-based painter and performer Jumaadi (b. 1973, Sidoarjo, East Java), who has collaborated with Balinese traditional Kamasan painters, designer and activist Alit Ambara (b. 1970, Singaraja, Bali), exhibiting his poster designs and artefacts used in social movements, and renowned artist and architect Yoka Sara (b. 1965, Denpasar, Bali), who founded and leads SPRITES ART & CREATIVE BIENNALE (est. 2013).

Layung #2 zatkimia 17 10 2018            Layung #2 zatkimia at CushCush Gallery 17th October

 

DesignTalk invites distinguished practitioners and scholars of architecture and design disciplines, including Budiman Hendropurnomo of DCM Indonesia, Maximilian Jencquel of Studio Jencquel, a lecturer and researcher from Warmadewa University Gede Maha Putra, and Japa Wibisana and Magat Kurniawan as representatives of the Indonesian Young Architects community, to share their specialized perspectives on the evolution and transformation of Bali’s architecture. DesignTalk is hosted by Suzy Annetta, the Editor-in-Chief of Design Anthology Magazine and is themed “Bali Inside:Out”.

DenPasar2018 Art+Design is a collective effort to mark the city with its own distinct character as a hub for contemporary arts, design and culture. With CCG’s DenPasar program we aspire to put Denpasar city in the mapping of contemporary Art + Design in Bali and beyond by showcasing the potential in Denpasar and inviting Art + Design lovers to come explore,” Suria stated.

Denpasar2018 Mural Jamming with Kuncir and students of ISI Denpasar on the walls of the Kerobokan prison 30 10 2018Mural Jamming on the walls of the Kerobokan Prison with Kuncir and art students from ISI Denpasar 30th October

 

This combination of an exciting mix of people who are presently in Bali, and the many active platforms give a rise to exciting collaborations and events, to be shared amongst local communities. This visionary initiative helps to lay the foundation for increasing art/cultural/design tourism into the island’s capital and developing the local creative economy.

Located near the heart of the city, CCG is in Gang Rajawali, off Jalan Teuku Umar. An alternative gallery, with an inspiring and unique program embracing interactions and multidisciplinary creativity via explorations at the intersections of art, design, materiality, techniques and crafts, CCG prioritizes community engagement and learning, along with children’s workshops. Open to the public CCG is a must see in Denpasar.

Invited artist Jumaadi

                          Denpasar2018 – invited artist Jumaadi

 

Gotong Royong Seni with Mella Jaarsma 10 11 2018gotong royong seni with Mella Jaarsma 10th November at CushCush Gallery

 

Denpasar2018 Ceramic Painting Workshop 20 10 2018               Ceramics painting Workshop at CushCush Gallery 20th October

 

 

 

DenPasar2018 Exhibition continues until 5 January 2019

Monday—Friday: 9:00AM–5:00PM
Saturday: 9:00AM–12:00PM

CushCush Gallery (CCG)

Jl. Teuku Umar Gg. Rajawali No.1A Denpasar, Bali

Tel. (62) 361 484558

http://www.cushcushgallery.com

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images courtesy: Denpasar2018 & CushCush Gallery

 

 

Balinese art patronage – now & then

Balinese Kamasan Painting                                          Balinese Kamasan Painiting

 

Balinese painting has a rich and unique history dating back over 400 years. Originally the work of artisans from the East Javanese Majapahit Empire (13-16th Century), this special narrative style of painting expanded into Bali in 1343 when the Majapahit conquered Bali, introducing the Hindu culture, and institutions.

The collapse of the empire in 1515 led to the mass migration of the Majapahit aristocracy to Bali, and from the 16th – 20th centuries, the village of Kamasan, Klungkung, East Bali was the epicenter of classical Balinese painting. The art form thrived because its patrons were the highest-ranking kings of Bali. Patronage has played a defining role in Balinese art, and there are many fascinating stories about the development of the art, and the characters involved, both from the present, and the past.

Flora and fauna painting by Ketut Rudi of Lodtunduh                       Flora and fauna painting by Ketut Rudi of Lodtunduh

 

The Kamasan paintings feature two-dimensional compositions with imagery derived from the Wayang shadow puppet theater, one of the original story telling methods in the Balinese Hindu culture that may be traced back over 2000 years to India. Often depicting battles between the forces of good and bad, the narratives originate from the Hindu and Buddhist texts, and old Javanese-Balinese folktales.

The paintings decorate Balinese temples and adorn the houses of the aristocracy. They communicate about the philosophies of life, religion, ethics and morals, as well as flora and fauna and astrology, while serving to bring peace and harmony to society. Referred to as an ancient academic art, it differs from modern systems by placing more emphasis on contemplation, the role of the senses, meditation and direct application.

Art patron Colin McDonald with Lodtunduh bird artist Ketut Rudi (left)Australian collector and art patron Colin McDonald with the renown bird painter from Lodtunduh, Ubud, Ketut Rudi

 

The formation of the Dutch colonial state in the early 20th century had a massive, disruptive impact upon the Balinese social structures. Patronage was previously inherent to social belonging: the king, village, or clan commissioned a work from an artist, or a group of artists for some rice, or possibly a piece of land. Under foreign rule artists no longer worked solely for their palaces, yet had to contribute free manual labor, suffering loss of status, privileges, and the spiritual returns of working for royalty.

A revolutionary period of creativity began in Ubud in the 1930’s having a dramatic effect upon the traditional art, along with the lives of many Balinese. A new genre was born, Balinese modern traditional art, featuring the introduction of western techniques with more realistic iconography, and modern narratives to cater to a burgeoning market for souvenirs purchased by the initial wave of foreign tourists to visit Bali. Important patronage came from early western settlers, along with the Ubud royal family, who later in 1954 opened Ubud’s first museum, Puri Lukisan.

Art patron Colin McDonald with Made Budhiana Colin McDonald with Balinese contemporary artist Made Budhiana whom he has supported for over 30 years

 

A new era of private patronage began, post 1970’s, during the second wave of tourism, when successful art dealers became gallerists, and then museum founders in Ubud. Suteja Neka opened the Neka Art Museum, Agung Rai established ARMA, and Nyoman Rudana opened the Rudana Museum.

An important modern day chapter of art patronage is accredited to Australian collector Colin McDonald QC, who first visited Bali in 1983. “I was immediately arrested by the beauty of the landscape, along with the art, and was eager to return,” said McDonald, who at the time was a collector of Australian aboriginal art.

"Menyanyikan Hidup" 2012 - Made Budhiana                          “Menyanyikan Hidup” 2012 – Made Budhiana

 

Upon his first visit to the Rudana Gallery, McDonald was attracted to the natural, aesthetic, and spiritual qualities of the art. In 1984 he purchased his first Balinese paintings, one by the abstract expressionist Made Budhiana, and another by the Lodtunuh bird painter Ketut Rudi. McDonald later met and befriended the artists.

“I was especially attracted to gentle, insightful and spiritual temperaments of the two artists,” McDonald said. “After I visited Budhiana’s home and witnessed the depth and power of his work, I starting buying directly from him.”

"Good Friday" Wayan Wirawan“Good Friday” 2018 painted by Wayan Wirawan on Good Friday at Colin McDonald’s residence at Lodtunduh, Ubud

 

The process of becoming an art connoisseur is driven by a thirst for knowledge, and meeting and learning from other collectors and experts. McDonald frequented the Rudana Gallery, and later the Neka Museum, and there he met important Indonesian collectors who were willing to share about their passion.

McDonald started collecting contemporary art and he loved to immerse himself in the local art community. Today he owns more than 400 pieces, sketches, drawings paintings, installations and sculptures. In 2011 he went on to establish, in conjunction the Northern Center for Contemporary Art in Darwin, the “Artist’s Camp” for Indonesian and Balinese artists to visit the Northern Territory of Australia to interpret the landscape and the indigenous culture.

"Easter Sunday" Wayan Wirawan            “Easter Sunday” 2018 by Wayan Wirawan for Colin McDonald

 

“Art is a celebration of life, and a great companion. It speaks of cultural and religious tolerance, and the importance of ceremony,” McDonald said, who found art a perfect refuge from a stressful law career. “The Balinese artists have an extraordinary sensitivity to seeing the world and the universe with an intelligence and receptivity to both the seen and unseen worlds. The western world, however, often neglects this, and this reflects the spiritual gaps within western contemporary culture, along with their struggles.”

 

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Courtesy of Colin McDonald & Richard Horstman

Bali’s GWK Statue completed after almost three decades

Image courtesy PT. Siluet Nyoman Nuarta

The epic tale of the Garuda Wisnu statue at the Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park in Jimbaran, South Bali will soon reach its finale. In a monumental saga that stretches back to its conceptualisation in 1989, including the on and off progress of its construction, the sculptures creator, Balinese artist Nyoman Nuarta, has confirmed the project will be completed in early August.

“By the 4th of August this extraordinary combination of art, technology and science will be complete,” Nuarta recently announced. “This nation will have a new cultural icon, that, despite taking more than 28 years, and without help from the Indonesian governement, showes that private sector can contribute greatly to the nation and state. It is a special gift to celebrate the nation’s Independence Day on the 17 August, 2018,” added Indonesia’s most celebrated sculptor.

GWK Image courtesy PT. Siluet Nyoman Nuarta

Originally scheduled for completion in March 2019, in mid 2017 Nuarta was given a new deadline by the Indonesian government. The statue, which is the second tallest in the world, must be finished before October 2018 when IMF and World Bank delegates converge on Bali for their annual meetings to be held 8 -14 October. As a part of their itinerary a dinner will be held for the delegates at the GWK Festival Park, a vast field surrounded by limestone cliffs, within the sprawling 60-hectare cultural park.

In April a special ceremony officiated by the Governor of Bali, Mangku Pastika celebrated the installation of the statue’s 529th module, the Mahkota Dewa Wisnu – the 3.5-ton crown of Wisnu that is covered with gold-platted mosaics. A total of 754 modules of the statues outer skin, made of copper and brass sheeting, each weighing on average 800 kilograms, complete the installation.

Photo courtey PT. Siluet Nyoman Nuarta

The project has occupied as many as 120 experienced wielders working on site to re-assemble the modules before they are lifted up by two cranes and bolted onto the outer steel frame of the statue by workers who specialize in high altitude construction. “During the initial stages of the statues design there was no available technique to enlarge the difficult and complicated three-dimensional forms, nor was there any computer software that could do this,” Nuarta said. “Therefore, I had to find the solution to the problem. Finally, in 1991 we found a theory, and along with the birth of Autocad software we could move forward.”

Rigorous scientific integrity testing has been undertaken on all the construction materials and the statue itself, even taking earthquake resistance into account with the pedestal being able to withstand up to 8 on the Richter scale. Wind tunnel tests have indicated the statue, the largest in Indonesia, could withstand winds speeds of up to 259 nautical miles per hour.

side elevation GWK statue - image courtesy PT. Siluet Nyoman Nuarta

Standing 121 meters at the top of the Ungasan ridge, 271 meters above sea level and with a wingspan of 64 meters, the skin surface area of the statue reaches two and a half hectares or 25,000 m2, during the evening the statue will be a unique feature of the cultural park with its special lighting arrangement that was built-in Singapore. The statue will sit on a pedestal, or building base, which will function as a restaurant serving up to 500 people. There will also be a museum and a viewing gallery that will allow panoramic vistas of the rest of South Bali.

“The target is to attract 6,000 tourists per day,” Nuarta said, then continued. “Hopefully, Garuda Wisnu Kencana will serve as a reminder to Indonesians and the international audience, throughout this divisive period about our cultural roots as a tolerant and multicultural nation.”

Image Courtesy of PT. Siluet Nyoman Nuarta

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images courtesy: PT. Siluet Nyoman Nuarta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balinese contemporary artist Budi Agung Kuswara: putting arts real values into perspective

21231555_207954026407213_6957891409753761884_nArtist Budi Agung Kuswara (lower, left of center) with staff, friends and patients of Rumah Berdaya

 

Art plays distinctive and irreplaceable roles within the development of a healthy society. Art offers us opportunities to be inspired, become more educated and aware, as well as to observe the thoughts and feelings of our fellow-man. The best contemporary art is essential to our well-being, having something important to say about the era we live in. Due to the onslaught of globalization, however, the financial values of art are becoming increasingly prized, over the real, functional values of art.

Balinese artist Budi Agung Kuswara represents the vanguard of emerging contemporary artists in Bali today who are reshaping the genre. What is significant about this artist, however, is his passion for how art can transform and bring greater meaning to individual lives, while building resilient communities.

26903979_1656075377748886_2074571056155799779_nVisitors at the gallery of Rumah Berdaya looking at art work by “Skizofriends Art Movement”

 

‘Kabul’, as he prefers to be known, was born in Sanur in 1982. From the age of twelve he worked beachside selling souvenirs to tourists, and he learned to surf the pristine waves that race along the coast’s outer reefs. Surfing inspired his deep connection with the forces of nature that influence his physical and non-physical worlds. His father was born in Klungkung, East Bali, the Classical art epicentre of the island. He was raised into the custom of Kamasan painting, the living tradition of story telling art used to decorate the island’s temples and the houses of the aristocracy, and serving to convey peace and harmony within Balinese society.

As a child painting was a readily accessible mode of expression, nurturing and playful, a medium through which Kabul could later explore his feelings, and ideas about identity and life. “My perspective was different to the traditional cultural identity and I came to understand that I didn’t fit in with the mainstream,” Kabul said. “So I learned to follow my own path.”

Anonymous-Ancestors    Anonymous Ancestors – art work by Budi Agung Kuswara for 2018 UWRF

 

The path of an outsider is one of duality – of freedom, yet of isolation as well. Kabul’s solitary experiences eventually led to feelings of lack of confidence; at times he felt depressed. His love of art became an increasingly vital activity – a guiding creative force. Motivated by the desire to share and inspire positive change Kabul wished to capitalize upon what had manifested during his personal struggles while he was a youth – his knowledge of art as a practical tool for self-transformation.

“I am inspired by the intervention of art into the public sphere and how it can become increasingly meaningful by responding to problems and needs of society,” Kabul said. “Through my own psychosomatic experiences I understand art is a potent medium for healing and self-empowerment.”

IMG_4668Art making at Rumah Berdaya – Budi Agung Kuswara with “Skizofriends Art Movement”

 

Kabul became aware of a community rehabilitation initiative established in 2015 by Rai Putra Wiguna, a psychiatrist at the Denpasar Regional Hospital, along with some of his patients. In response Kabul went on to create the Skizofriends Art Movement” in 2016, a group that focuses on both art therapy, and life-skills training programs for local men and women with schizophrenia. “I am committed to eliminating the stigma attached to people suffering from mental illness, while promoting their inclusion in society,” he said.

Following on from the success of Kabul and his colleague’s lobbying of the Denpasar Government Skizofriends Art Movement” in 2017 became a part of the Denpasar City Health Department Care Program, and is still ongoing. “By introducing a simple, sustainable model of how an organized art program can beneficially function for people, we immediately gained the government’s support,” Kabul said. The group was then offered an abandoned building in Jalan Hayam Waruk (next door to the Bali Bakery in Renon) that became “Rumah Berdaya”.

35151724_10216609420728479_6691008827497644032_o           “Skizofriends Art Movement” with artworks at Rumah Berdaya

 

Meaning house of empowerment, “Rumah Berdaya” began as a meeting place for people with schizophrenia, so they could learn new skills, interact and express themselves. Its focus is to create opportunities for the patients to constructively engage with the public, while helping them to regain their status as useful and productive members of society.

From 2002 Kabul spent thirteen years living in Yogyakarta, studying fine art at the prestigious Indonesian Art Institute (ISI), here his work became more politically and socially driven. Charmed by Orientalism and how exotic images led to supposed attitudes and ideas of Bali by westerners, in 2013 Kabul started using an old printing technique to experiment with, and explore his ideas about cultural identity, while creating new inroads in Balinese contemporary art.

Golden-Farmer                            Golden Farmer – Budi Agung Kuswara

 

With his life partner, Singaporean artist Mintio, they are the creative force behind Ketemu Project, in Batubulan. A visual art collective and social enterprise hybrid with a focus on social and international engagement, Ketemu burst onto the scene in 2015 during a critical period in the development of contemporary art infrastructure in Bali, injecting important fresh energy into the Bali art world.

Look out for Kabul’s art “Anonymous Ancestors”, on exhibition, and featured on all promotional media, in the upcoming 2018 UWRF, 24-28 October.

http://www.budiagungkuswara.com

 

Words: Richard Hostman

Images coutesy: Budi Agung Kuswara & Skizofriends Art Movement