Category Archives: Balinese Contemporary Art

The Cosmic Worlds of Visionary Balinese Artist Putu Wirantawan

Putu Wirantawan 2016

 

Rarely in Bali does the observer have the opportunity to experience art of such a unique and “other worldly” quality as created Balinese contemporary artist Putu Wirantawan. The fundamental key to Balinese traditional art is drawing, for Wirantawan, however, it serves a different function to that of his artistic forefathers.

About 15 years ago Wirantawan (b.1972 Negara, Jembrana, West Bali) became overwhelmed by what he perceived as a block in his artistic development. Yet, unbeknown to him at the time, he was in the formative stages of creative innovation. Having learned to draw and paint in his youth, actively exhibiting since 1993, and a graduate in Fine Arts from the ISI Yogyakarta 2005, (Indonesian Art Institute), Wirantawan had already become competent in the mediums of oil and acrylic paint, along with water-color to produce figurative and abstract works. Wirantawan, however, had become bored with these genres and wished to break free.

                                         Soulscape II, 2010 – Putu Wirantawan

His solution was to return to the basics of drawing. Wirantawan followed his intuitive urges and focused on spontaneous ideas that evolved into unexplainable sketches. He completed page after page in his sketch pad until eventually the idea blossomed, why not piece together some of these works into larger compositions.

Wirantawan’s process is determined by the flow of imaginative energy between his conscious and subconscious minds. The freedom and flexibility within his technique allows him to arrive at authentic compositions that he believes would be impossible to initially conceive – a powerful creative element had returned to his art along with seemingly endless possibilities to explore.

Working in pencil and ballpoint pen on paper, enhanced with a touch of color Wirantawan draws on the fundamentals of surrealism and abstract art.  “Many of my ideas come from the simplest of objects or from observations of the atmospheric, such as the elements of sunlight, fire, water and smoke,” says Wirantawan. “The elements contain a magic that ignites my imagination and I then transform the shapes I see into something new.”

             Tebaran Energi Sejati, 2008-2012, 9 panels, 2915 x 1260 cm – Putu Wirantawan

“Drawing is a flexible and spontaneous technic, it can be done wherever and whenever, and is not affected by the material drying quickly or still being wet. Drawing nurtures new spirit that enables me to feel free to explore my flowing ideas,” Wirantawan said. “Drawing is soul therapy for the mental burdens resulting from challenges in daily life.”

Often described as a visionary Balinese artist, Wirantawan’s works invite the observer into an abstract world of geometric structures that appear like futuristic cities, galactic landscapes and vast sanctums in the outer most reaches of the cosmos. While his work is truly contemporary and free of traditional Balinese aesthetics and the orthodox approach, there is a deep relationship to the Balinese Hindu philosophical universal view.

Initially, Wirantawan’s works appear almost cryptic and strange, yet they mysteriously radiate a warmth with an unexplainable fascination to the eye. The core structural content of his work is based on the principles of sacred geometry, in which arrangements of lines within harmonic proportions produce systems and symbols that resonate with the subconscious mind.

                                Gugusan Citra Batin, 1236011, 2011 – Putu Wirantawan

Wirantawan often utilizes the circle, which is nature’s perfect symbol, appearing like floating disks, planets and glowing orbs with auras radiating light. “Geometry is the essence and structure of all natural shapes on earth and in the solar system.   All cycles of life and natural phenomena follow a repetitive circular order of birth, death and then rebirth,” he said.

The geometrical symbols Wirantawan uses are governed by a mathematical ratio known as the Golden Ratio, first devised by the ancient Greek mathematicians defining an invisible order that regulates the 3 dimensional proportions of the earth plane. These harmonic proportions were used in the design of sacred buildings in ancient and renaissance architecture to produce a spiritual energy that is believed to facilitate connectivity with a higher universal intelligence.

The coloration of Wirantawan’s works contains the most basic of all visual dualities – black and its interrelationship with the color white. The impact of color psychology, the advancing nature of the white upon black creates dramatic depth of field. Some imagery simply morphs from light to dark and flows in and out of discernible surrealistic forms.

Wirantawan has won a series of awards and honors, including nomination as one of the 10 best Indonesian artists in 2000 Philip Morris Art Awards, as well as being a finalist in the International Triennial “Print and Drawing” in Bangkok, Thailand 2008 and again in 2012.

Blissful Line, Wirantawan’s 2015 solo exhibition at the Tony Raka Art Gallery in Ubud, featured hundreds of his sketches on papers covering the gallery’s walls, the focal point of attraction, however, was his extraordinary, and new venture into installation. Gugusan Energi Alam Batin (the Configuration of the Natural Energy of the Soul), 606 x 246 x 312 cm.  Within the context of contemporary Balinese art Wirantawan has developed a dynamic individual style, both beautiful and compelling, that clearly stands alone.

IMGP9421                           Gugusan Energi Alam Batin – Putu Wirantawan

IMGP9400                             Sketches by Putu Wirantawan

IMGP9397

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

Made Djirna – soul mining

Installation at Djirna's studio.                     Installation by Made Djirna at his Ubud studio, 2017

Exploring Balinese artist Made Djirna’s cavernous studio conjures up notions of a journey into a mysterious inner sanctum that is vibrant and fascinating, yet is equally as powerful and confronting.

A collector of all manner of cultural artifacts, naturally formed shapes and unusual objects, which he then converts into intriguing installations, typically, Djirna’s lively yet simplified and raw figures reflect the primitive tribal arts. He constructs enormous “shrines and altars” from old timber, crude sculptures and rocks, complete with fire, coloured light,  and abstract painted deities that are infused with a sense of ritual and resonate with spiritual energy.

Installation by Made Djirna, mixed media, various dimensions. 2012.Image Richard Horstman.JPGInstallation by Made Djirna exhibited in “Ubud 1963, (Re) Reading The Growth of Made Djirna”, at the National Gallery in Jakarta. 24th November – 5th December 2012.

Within the National Gallery of Indonesia, Djirna recreates the unique essence of his studio by placing his installations within small rooms and in confined corners. He allows the audience an insight into the creative world of one Indonesia’s finest contemporary artists.

“My concern is to express reflections that go far deeper than what we can know with our panca indra (eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin). All of my work is a process that goes hand in hand with the demands of my soul. It is essentially a spiritual process taking visible pictorial shape,” Djirna.

'Benang Merah Bali - Basel" (The Red Thread From Bali to Basel) Made Djirna. 1993, mixed media on canvas, 145 x 245cm..JPG     Benang Merah Bali (the red thread from Bali to Basel) – Made Djirna, 1993

A versatile artist who loves to experiment with new materials, techniques and styles, from 2010 onwards Djirna reinterpreted his method of producing his paintings and the new works were highlighted in his exhibition Ubud 1963, (Re) Reading The Growth of Made Djirna, at the National Gallery of Indonesia, in Jakarta. The exhibition ran from 24 November through to 5 December 2012.

In this, Djirna’s eighth solo, retrospective exhibition, observers may take a brief sojourn through his creative development and witness the metamorphosis he has undergone. Mengenang Piramid (To Reminisce About the Pyramid),1994 and Kabut Hitam (Black Fog) 1994, are memoirs of his childhood experience of 1963. Both paintings are rendered in darkened acrylic hues with traces of red and white. These bleak abstract works convey anxiety and distress, evident in the facial expression in Piramid and the tension created by vigorously scored details into the body of the work. Kabut suggests architectural objects overcome by thick black clouds and bright red denotes volcanic flows and the horror of such a scenario.

"Wajah Wajah Mengambang" (Floating Faces) Made Djirna, 2008, oil on canvas, 295 x 380cm.      Wajah Wajah Mengambang (Floating Faces) – Made Djirna, 2008

Within his curatorial essay, senior Indonesian curator Jim Supangkat began by describing the extraordinary events of 1963 that had a catastrophic impact on Bali, as well as shaping the formative years of a young Djirna who was living just north of Ubud. Mount Agung in East Bali, the islands spiritual pinnacle, began its process of tremors in January, volcanic eruptions started in March and again in May and tremors then continued until its final blast in January 1964. This was an unprecedented year with extensive infrastructure damage, crop failures, wide-spread famines and many deaths, while also putting an immediate halt to tourism in Bali.

Born in Kedewatan, Ubud in 1957 Djirna was just 6 years old at the time of this event. He later went on to graduate from the Faculty of Fine Art and Design at the ISI (Indonesian Institute of Art) Yogyakarta in 1985 and spent 10 years living in the cultural capital of Java. He actively exhibits his works locally and internationally and is a member of the respected SDI, Sanggar Dewata Indonesia association of modern artists.

"Gajah Genit" (flirty Elephant) Made Djirna. 2012, mixed media on canvas, 260x400cm..JPG          “Gajah Genit” (Flirty Elephant), 260 x 400 cm, 2012 – Made Djirna

Among Djirna’s captivating new works exhibited in the National Gallery, Gajah Genit (Flirty Elephant), 260 x 400 cm, serves as a metaphor of a power crisis in the face of change. Djirna communicates the damages inflicted by power and domination via deforestation. Posing in jest, the “flirty elephant” stands confidently in defiance. Yet also he depicts a ruler’s demise by placing the image of a vulture on the elephant’s head.  He also symbolizes the dawn of a new era by depicting a dove on a stump of a tree. This intelligent work in rich blues, reds and greens is infused with humor that helps to resolve the seriousness of the alarming reality we face.

Upon his mixed media canvases of huge proportions (up to 350 x 400 cm) Djirna first applies a thick base of texture into which he scores his vast narratives, then adds color in rich metallic paint and finally contains all the characters within black lines. In a style reminiscent of the traditional Balinese paintings with the narrative covering the complete expanse of canvas, Djirna’s works take on modern narratives and issues that for the artist are very close to home.

Metamorfosis-2012      Metamorfosis (Metamorphosis), 260 x 400 cm, 2012 – Made Djirna

His recent use of metallic paints adds a wonderful luminous dimension, particularly when highlighted by artificial lighting. They are aesthetically spectacular not only because of the dynamic coloration, yet the scale of the works simply overwhelms. Some have taken Djirna more than 4 months to complete.

In Metamorfosis (Metamorphosis), 2012, 260 x 400 cm, two lovers embrace in the forest surrounded by hundreds of brightly colored butterflies, on the trunks of the trees are numerous large caterpillars. What may appear to be a simplistic narrative denoting change reveals the reality that life is full of paradoxes. Butterflies are natures symbol of grace, yet they become caterpillars which are destructive and are seen as pests. This is a creation of wonder and beauty, and it is here that Djirna’s brilliance shines through.

DSCF4366Installation by Made Djirna in the exhibition, “The Logic of Ritual” at Sangkring Art Gallery, Yogyakarta, 2013.

During his July, 2013 exhibition at Sangkring Art Space in Yogyakarta Djirna was prepared to bring his religion under close scrutiny. His paintings and installations in The Logic of Ritual were protests against numerous ritual practices, whose meaning, according to the artist, is now driven by modern and commercial practices.

Djirna criticises the consumption of money (his works utilise a countless number of Chinese coins used in Balinese rituals) in direct relation to the demands of Balinese Hindu religious rituals that are becoming increasingly glamorous, luxurious and festive. Such demands, while indeed granting communion between the devotee, the spirit world and Gods, may be perceived as rigid mechanisms, ultimately keeping the ‘little people’ poor.

He dedicated his exhibition to the plight of the impoverished of Bali, who suffer in silence while paying excessively for offerings and rituals that demand perfection both in the materials and presentation.

Djirna -the magic of ritual .jpg               The Logic of Ritual – Made Djirna, 2013

Djirna was invited to participate in the landmark 2016 Singapore Biennale – An Everywhere of Mirrorings at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM). His installation – Melampaui Batas (Beyond Boundaries) 2016, seeked to transcend the boundaries between the interior and the exterior, the microcosm and the macrocosm, along with the spiritual and the physical planes.

A fusion of different elements, it featured found objects, 1000 terracotta figurines representing humanity (the fragility of clay signifying the precarious nature of life), an antique traditional ironwood boat from Sulawesi –symbolic of journeying between Nusantara and the larger world and the worlds of the living and dead (in Balinese belief the boat carries the soul to its ancestral abode after death). Positioned in the corners of the room, large trees constructed from driftwood – its trunks and branches, some with crude primitive figure scribed into the wood, suggest fragments of other lives, cultures and civilizations.

Made Djirna "Melampaui Batas" 2016 Singpore Biennale .jpgMelampaui Batas (Beyond Boundaries) 2016 – Made Djirna, Singapore Biennale – An Everywhere of Mirrorings at the Singapore Art Museum.

The artist’s earlier works are categorized by naïve figurative and abstract expressions often rendering thick chunks of paint to create ambiguous forms with faces that reveal the darker emotions of the human experience. His strong earthy figures are a reminder of the past when life was simpler and with a greater connection to the environment.

What has remained consistent throughout Djirna’s career is his sense of unity within the collective experience and importance of the personal process while learning to endure the dualities of life.

“Through the personal development that is achieved by the inward journey of self-discovery, compassion, understanding and healing, we gain wisdom and strength. These are the tools which will support us during the journey of life.” Made Djirna’s expressions are intimate, honest and expose the heartfelt emotions of the human experience. They convey a profound sense of authenticity.

Djirna is currently working on a large installation for the Jakarta Biennale in November 2017.

Rimba-2011                        Rimba, 2011 – Made Djirna

Mixed Media on board, 210x70cm, 2007.                Installation by Made Djirna at his Ubud studio, 2007

DSCF4389.JPG                  Painting from The Logic of Ritual – Made Djirna, 2013

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

Menjumput Masa Lalu – picking up the past

20170522_131213                         Generasi J.K #1,2,3 2016 – Nyoman Suarnata

Ubud’s Sika Gallery presents Menjumput Masa Lalu (picking up the past), a group exhibition of contemporary artworks by the # PK collective. On show from 21 May are installations, drawings, paintings, videoart, object art, scpultures, and graphics by five young Balinese artists I Gede Jaya Putra, Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya (NPAAW), I Nyoman Suarnata, I Made Putra Indrawan, and I Putu Nova Ruspika Yanto, along with written text by female arts and language freelancer Savitri Sastrawan.

All the participants were students at the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) in Denpasar, studying between 2006 – 2009. Their works explore themes from the serious, to light- hearted and include environmental issues, the conflict between tradition and modernity, identity, the erosion of Indonesian democracy, and even thought-provoking themes that incite humour.

20170522_131349                              Home, 2017 – Putu Nova Ruspika Yanto

Full Space 2016, by Nyoman Suarnata (b.1987, Mengwi, Badung) is a progressive representation of iconic local subject matter that is too often translated into conventional painted forms. His installation of two-dimensional canvases taking on 3 dimensional hexagonal forms adds fresh life to the subject matter. Suarnata’s images related to the cultural pasttime of tajen (cock-fighting) are rendered in 3 colours systems evoking different eras; black & white (conjuring up pre modern Bali), monochrome, and dynamic realism (suggesting modernity).

"Black and White" Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya                   Black & White, 2017 – Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya

Text by Sastrawan (b.1990 Denpasar) is a response to the collective’s artworks revealing her thoughts related to struggle; not only of Indonesia’s on-going journey of democracy, yet also the everyday challenges that confront young artists. Her writings are set within the form of an installation, centrally positioned is a humourous, yet disturbing illustration. The Garuda Pancasila, the mythical eagle featured on Indonesia’s national emblem, with the motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (unity in diverstiy), is hospitalized and receiving care. Corruption, violence, injustice and inquality, seemingly sanctioned by the country’s ruling elite, are current and real threats to democracy.

Tentang aku jendela rumah dan angin, (about my window house and the wind) by Made Putra Indrawan (b. 1987, Denpasar) is a light-hearted and quirky installation. He presents a small box through which an nondescript, whimsical creature peers out through a window, the medium is timber. From a tiny electronic device inside the sound of strong winds emanate, while the words – tentang aku jendela rumah dan angin are emblazoned across the wall. The audience is prompted to imagine the artist as this curious creature.

Savitri Sastrawan               Let’s Pick Up the Past With PK! 2017 – Savitri Sastrawan

Diary Book # 1 & 2, by Putu Nova Ruspika Yanto introduces alternative asethetics and techniques to the exhibition, aiding in its overall strength. His woodcut images are presented within the format of two diaries. While one book depicts images of his young son and wife, the other narrative is his observations of dramatic and disheartening change. The artist’s home environment was once cool, green and clean has, within the space of a few decades, become barren, void of trees. It’s now hot and dry, and polluted.

The work of two promising Balinese talents, Gede Jaya Putra and NPAAW are showcased in Menjumput Masa Lalu, both are worthy of close observation as they mature. Jaya Putra (b.1988, Kerobokan) attracted much attention with Transformation, his first solo exhibition in 2013, revealing remarkable depth in the exploration of his social themes, equally supported by his imaginative works.

"Generasi Sintetis" Gede Jaya Putra                Generasi Sintetis 2017, (Synthetic Generation) – Gede Jaya Putra

Generasi Sintetis 2017, (Synthetic Generation) emphasizes his ongoing theme of the process of change that is confronting today’s yonger generation, specifically the change from the natural, to the synthetic world. The large installation comprises of three elements, and includes more than 20 pencil sketches of the foliage of different trees positioned upon sections of tree trunks functioning as pedestals. Two screens reveal videos, one of colourful flowers and foliage, the other, shot in black & white, focusses upon the physical structure of branches, and its myriad of abstract forms. The contrast between what is real and that which is illusory is powerful, highlighting the demise of the natural environment, which is increasingly threatened by modern development.

The focal piece of Generasi Sintetis is a hybrid character, part human, part machine, the icon central to Jaya Putra’s transformation theme, his representation of the younger generation of Balinese. A black, life sized, two dimensional figure holding a glass jar containing a synthetic eco system.

20170522_131104Tentang aku jendela rumah dan angin, (about my window house and the wind) 2017 – Made Putra Indrawan

The medium of video art IS the most challenging format for an artist to master, and to successfully communicate his ideas. The most effective works are generally short, no longer than two minutes, with simple messages that are easy to read. The audiences’ attention must be captured from the beginning of the video and maintained until the very end. The moment boredom sets in our attention wanders, yearning for fresh stimulus, and the artist loses his audience.

Jaya Putra has been experimenting with this format for the past five years. Merasakan Ibu Pertiwi (feel mother earth), 2017, his 2-minute performance video, features the artist walking bare-footed through the crowded city streets of Japan, “feeling” the earth. We become observers of contrasting imagery, Jaya Putra’s feet making direct connection, as opposed to the multitude wearing shoes. Jaya Putra attaches the video screen to the gallery ceiling so we must look up to observe what in reality is always witnessed when looking down. Jaya Putra’s work is uncomplicated and thought-provoking, while communicating a facet of Balinese cultural worldview.

"Full Space #1 #2 & #3" Nyoman Suarnata                            Full Space #1,2,&3, 2016 – Nyoman Suarnata

NPAAW (b. 1990 Pejeng, Gianyar) is currently based in Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia’s largest, most diverse and dynamic art community. In Menjumput Masa Lalu he presents three round paintings and one installtion, rendered in black and white tones and representing duality. Two meters in diameter, Black & White is an interguing composition, a part of his ongoing theme featuring animals in metaphorical scenarios representing the never-ending cycle of life, and the constant process of change. His composition features two horses with elongated bodies, one black, the other white, travelling in clockwise motion. The foreground features the Beatles walking in counter-clockwise direction, reminiscent of their famous album cover Abbey Road.

Zebranizasi is a fascinating installation, again emphasizing duality, and that according to Balinese Hindu philosophies, all life and universal order is subject to equal and opposing forces. The installation features 6 individual works, three iconic Balinese cultural creatures, another two the lucky charm of the Japanese, maneki-neko, the waving cat. The final piece reveals a dramatic, yet impossible scenario upon a chess board. The horse or Knight is painted as a zebra, balancing both the positive and negative forces, and has the black and white kings in a check mate position.

"Zebraniasi" Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya                    Zebranizasi, 2017 – Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya

The contributions by the Sika Gallery in the support and development of Balinese contemporary art is unsurpassed. The vision of painter, sculptor, writer, critic and provocatur Wayan Sika (b.1949, Silakarang, Gianyar), in 1996 he opened Bali’s first non-commercial artist’s driven space to provide a platform for the avant-garde that was quickly evolving on the island. Continuing in the tradition of exhibiting young and immerging local artist’s the Sika Gallery presents Menjumput Masa Lalu, continuing through until 3 June 2017.

Detail of Installation "Generasi Sintetis" Gede Jaya Putra      Detail of Generasi Sintetis 2017, (Synthetic Generation) – Gede Jaya Putra

20170522_131328                       Diary Book # 1, 2017Putu Nova Ruspika Yanto

Menjumput Masa Lalu (picking up the past)

21 May – 3 June

Sika Gallery

Jalan Raya Campuhan

Ubud, Bali

Open daily 9am – 5pm

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

 

Bali Artists’ Camp 2016 Exhibition

Made Budhiana "Badak Taman Ujung Karangasem"                Badak Taman Ujung Karangasem – Made Budhiana

Impressions of some of Bali’s most important archeological sites, the 11th century Gunung Kawi temple in Tampaksiring, and the stone reliefs at Yeh Pulu in Bedulu, along with dramatic landscapes depictions from remote East Bali, went on display at the Bali Artists’ Camp 2016 Exhibition.

Open from 8 April – May 22 at the Made Budhiana Gallery, Ubud, and featuring more than 30 paintings, sketches, and installations by local and foreign artists, the exhibition marks the fifth year of engagement between the Northern Territory of Australia and Bali, and Eastern Indonesia.

Gede Gunada "Yeh Pulu"                                       Yeh Pulu – Gede Gunada

An art and cultural engagement that began in 2012, the Bali Artists’ Camp’s vision evolves around engagement with the landscape, nature, and the rich Balinese culture. The event brings together artists from Bali and Indonesia, with their counter parts from Australia, and other foreign countries, to visit inspiring sites throughout Bali, to work on location in a visual art and cross-cultural exchange exercise.

The fruits of the 2016 Bali Artists’ Camp, themed engagement with monumental Bali, produced on separate occasions in May, June, July and September 2016 (collectively a period of seven weeks), will be displayed until 22 May. The vibrant collection includes works by renown Balinese artists Made Budhiana, along with Made Sudibia and Gede Gunada from Bali, and paintings by Freddy Sitorus, born in South Sulawesi, and East Javanese painter Nanik Suryani.

Nanik Suryani "Gunung Kawi"                                       Gunung Kawi – Nanik Suryani

The foreign artist’s contributions reflect different artistic approaches and backgrounds, Japanese artist Rie Mandala’s offerings are delicate works in ink on paper. Well-known Australian artist Michael Downs’ compositions have both surreal and abstract sensibilities, fellow countryman Ivor Cole prefers to works in oil, in his realism paintings, while Australian Mary Lou Pavlovic’s presentations are forged from an array of media, including timber and plastic, with the addition of paint and other decorative media.

Ivor Cole said of his experience, “the cultural divide between the artists is quickly wiped away. There is no separation, we are here to absorb and translate the best we can through the visual image, the emotional, spiritual state of this place and this time.”

Ivor Cole                                        Puri Prima – Ivor Cole

“The Northern Territory – Indonesia relationship has a long history of trade and cultural exchange,” said Michael Gunner, the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, who is one of the co sponsors of the event.

“For hundreds of years trade and cultural exchange flourished between the Macassans (people from present day Sulawesi and related islands) and aboriginals of the Northern Territory. Since the birth of the Republic of Indonesia, and the attainment of Self- Government for the Northern Territory in 1978, there has been an increased focus on acknowledging and strengthening our economic, cultural and social ties within the region,” Gunner adds.

Made Sudibia - "Perwujdudan Dewi Kesuburan"                                 Perwududan Dewi – Made Sudibia

“I had the honor of traveling through the lush tropical landscape with the local artists visiting spectacular temples and monuments,” Mary Lou Pavlovic said. “And I was struck by how close to nature the Balinese and Indonesian artists were, everywhere we went they knew all the fruit and medicinal herbs. I realized although I long to feel this affinity with nature, I am not from a culture that exists in the same way with nature.”

The Bali Artists’ Camp compliments the Artists’ Camp art engagement project run in alternative years by the Northern Center For Contemporary Art (NCCA) in Darwin.      “The Artists’ Camp involves Balinese and Indonesian artists traveling to the Top End of the Northern Territory and interpreting its rugged and diverse landscape, together with an artistic and cultural interaction with Aboriginal artists,” said the founder of the Made Budhiana Gallery, Australian Colin MacDonald.

Michael Downs "Gambelan Landscape"                           Gambelan Landscape – Michael Downs

“The camp started as a concept with the original Director of Museums and Art Galleries in the Northern Territory (MAGNT), Dr Colin Jack Hinton back in 1978.” MacDonald, the former Director and Chairman of the Board of MAGNT, developed the concept further when he took Balinese artist Made Budhiana to the NT to participate in the first international Artists’ Camp, along with Australian and Malaysian artists in 1990.

The vision of the ten-year program of the Artists’ Camp is that the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory, the Australian Prime Minister and the Indonesian President will open a touring exhibition at the Australian National Gallery that will include the first retrospective of the Australian-Indonesian artists’ engagement.

Study for a Monument of Flowers             Study for a Monument of Flowers – May Lou Pavlovic

 

The Bali Governor, Made Pastika, who is also a supporter of the event, will visit the exhibition in early May to meet the artists, and to be presented works by the artists.

This project has had the on-going and enthusiastic support from the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Department, the Australia Indonesia Institute and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, especially successive Australian Consul Generals.

20170414_085327                                    Batur – Gede Gunada

Made Budhiana Gallery

Villa Pandan Harum

Jl. Anak Agung Gede Rai

Banjar Abian Semal

Gang Pandan Harum

Lotonduh, Ubud

Tel: 0361 981624

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

TiTian Bali Foundation Gives Recognition & Heritage Awards to Balinese Artists

chairman-of-the-indonesian-agency-for-creative-economy-triawan-munaf-with-the-nine-finalists-of-the-2017-titian-art-prize-copyThe Nine Finalists of the TiTian Prize, (from left) Gede Suryawan, Wayan Aris Sarmanta, Wayan Malik, Mangku Muriati Mura, Ida Bagus Suryantara, Gede Sugiada, Made Sutama, Nyoman Arisana and Made Supena pictured with Triawan Munaf, Chairman of the Agency for Creative Economy Indonesia (center).

 

During the first anniversary celebrations of Yayasan TiTian Bali, in Ubud, Sunday 29 January, the Chairman of Agency for Creative Economy Indonesia, Triawan Munaf presented an array of art awards, culminating with the nine finalists, and the winner of the TiTian Prize 2017.

winner-of-the-2017-titian-prize-fight-lust-nyoman-arisana-copy                 Fight LustNyoman Arisana, Winner of the TiTian Prize 2017

Yayasan TiTian Bali (YTB) was established in the belief that Balinese art would flourish as it is integrated into a truly creative economy. “The founders of TiTian believe in continuing the importance of Bali’s history and culture, but we share a concern that the long association of the island’s creative life with tourism, cottage industry, and souvenirs, combine to create static and clichéd perceptions of cultural heritage,” said YTB Director Soemantri Widagdo.

alam-agung-great-whale-ida-bagus-suryantara                              Alam Agung Ida Bagus Suryantara

“We aim to work with Balinese artists, designers, and performers to ensure the long-term cultural, economic, and creative success of Balinese arts, with the highest levels of entrepreneurship in its creation and marketing,” he said. “Our mission is to discover, nurture and develop new talents, helping them achieve their full potential.”

“We are excited to be associated with Yayasan TiTian Bali, it as if TiTian is our arm in Bali,” said Triawan Munaf, Chairman of the Agency for Creative Economy Indonesia. “The mission of the Foundation is inline with our concerns.”

hidup-di-alam-gede-suryawan                             Hidup di Alam Gede Suryawan

“What we are doing now with the agency is developing the eco-systems within each of the 16 sub sectors of the creative economy, including the visual arts,” Munaf said. “We aim to create policies, involving multi ministries, that can make some breakthroughs for our creatives, giving them freedoms and mechanisms of how to enter markets, access finance, and how to register the intellectual property of their creations.”

emotion-ii-installation-made-supena                               Emotion II, Installation – Made Supena

The TiTian Prize 2017, open to all Balinese visual artists in the genres of painting, sculpture, installation and photography, received 82 entries from all regencies in Bali, plus entries from Lombok and Yogyakarta, 9 works were submitted by women. The finalists ranged in age from 21 – 53, reflecting the talent of both emerging and established artists. Genres varied from the traditional Kamasan, Batuan and Keliki styles, works influenced by modern and contemporary painting, and one wood carving installation.

lot-364-sutama-i-made                                    World of DreamsMade Sutama

Fight Lust, the winning painting by twenty-seven year old Gianyar painter Nyoman Arisana, an eye-catching composition of contrasts and tension featured a complex laying of visual elements, in both mono chrome and color, from the Balinese tradition, along with modern and contemporary art.

bhineka-tunggal-ika-mungku-muriarti-mura                         Bhineka Tunggal Ika – Mangku Muriati Mura

The work sets demonic creatures at war with one another, symbolizing, according the artist our human behavior. “Lust greatly influences human life and survival, greed, jealousy and envy are common, yet our desire to do good may also be perceived as lust,” Arisana said.

kasih-ibu-mothers-love-wayan-malik                                 Kasih IbuWayan Malik

The presentations at Titian Art Space Bali included the second annual Anugrah Pusaka Seni (Art Heritage) Award to ten artists and a patron who have made extraordinary contributions to the Balinese Arts. Some of the honored were Nyoman Ngendon (1906-1946), Ida Bagus Togog (1913-1989) and Ida Bagus Njana (1912-1985).

female-male-gede-sugiada                             Female & MaleGede Sugiada

The Patron Award (Life Achievement) went to Ni Made Kadjeng, founder of the Secondary School for the Arts of Batubulan. The event included the launch of the Indonesian language edition of Ida Bagus Made: The Art of Devotion, a book that focuses on paintings from the estate of the esteemed Balinese artist Ida Bagus Made Poleng (1915-1999).

nature-tease-wayan-aris-sarmanta                                Nature TeaseWayan Aris Sarmanta

“We are already working with Bali’s village artists’ associations, schools, individual artists, and other arts organizations for all our activities. Our approach is inclusive rather than exclusive,” Widagdo said.  “The long-term goal is to build the Bali Museum of Contemporary Art (Bali MOCA), exhibiting old and new work of the finest quality, supported by programs to inspire new directions and achievements in Balinese visual arts.”

Nine Finalists of the First TiTian Prize

Exhibition open 29 January – 26 February 2017

TiTian Bali Art Space, Jalan Bisma 88, Ubud, Bali.

http://www.titianartspace.com

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

Walking a Unique Path – Wayan Sika

sika-profile

Wayan Sika smiles as he contemplates his new-found freedom. “On Friday 1st October 2010, after a 34 year association lecturing part-time at ISI (Institute of Fine Arts) Denpasar, I have decided to retire.” Like many others Sika dedicates himself to his family and community; however, the breadth of his accomplishments defines him as truly unique within the realms of Balinese art.

“My father was a renowned wood-carver, many students came to his studio to study under him. For me this was a wonderful learning environment, and I too became a good wood sculptor.”

Born in the village of Silakarng, Gianyar, in 1949, formal art education began in SSRI (School of Fine Art Indonesia) in Denpasar, followed by 4 years studying painting at the Academy ASRI of Indonesian Fine Art in Yogyakarta. “I had become a competent sculptor and then I developed a strong desire to paint, I also wished to broaden my creative skills.”

mandala-2009-200-x-200-cm                                                  Mandala 2009

In 1970 along with Nyoman Gunarsa, Made Wianta and other students at the ASRI, Sika founded the Sanggar Dewata Indonesia (SDI) artists collective. These artists were young and dynamic, they loved to experiment with new techniques and aesthetic concepts. This was the prerequisite for artists who were invited to join this avant-garde collective.

After finishing his studies in Yogyakarta, Sika returned to Bali. Married at age 24 to lady from Yogyakarta with royal ancestry, he began a family and focused his energies on a furniture production business. “I specialized in creating individual, fine art pieces of furniture for the discerning buyer, featuring wood carving in the Renaissance Rococo style.”

“The business quickly grew and I employed more than 100 wood carvers. Indonesian government ministers from the Suharto era acquired this furniture for their homes and offices. All the while during this period I found time for my passion, I continued to paint.”

kasi-cinta-give-love-2008-150-x-200-cm                                               Kasih Cinta 2008

In 1982-83, Sika was summoned by the government to go to New Zealand and produce furniture for the Indonesian Embassy. Then in 1986 he traveled to Switzerland where he worked creating expressive carvings and bronze statues until 1987. He received an order in 1989 from a Museum in Basel to make a Barong (the Balinese sacred ceremonial artifact that represents universal benevolence) for their collection.

It was during this period when the head of the Christof Merian Foundation saw his paintings and invited him to join their program of International Exchange Artists. Sika’s premiere solo exhibition in Basel in 1989 was sold out. This then provided the personal belief required, and then he devoted more energy into his painting. “This was an exciting period, there was a momentum and my painting was improving, however, I had to return to Bali, my family required my attention, and so did my furniture business.”

“It was difficult for the SDI artists to find a location to exhibit their work in Bali and for this reason I founded the Sika Contemporary Art Gallery in Campuhan, Ubud as an exhibition venue. The gallery opened in 1996, at the time of the 25th anniversary of the formation of the SDI artists’ foundation.”

krishna-narayana-2009-300-x-200                                                     Krishna Narayana 2009

This non sales orientated gallery specializes in providing space to support regular exhibitions by talented young artists from Indonesia and around the world. The gallery has become a prestigious site with a reputation for showing work with a high level of creativity and innovation.

Sika was asked by the Christof Merian Foundation to select Indonesian artists to travel to Switzerland, to be sponsored by the foundation for 3 months. This allowed the artists to exhibit in the cultural museum in Basel and be exposed to galleries from London, Holland and Germany. Under Sika’s recommendation Nyoman Erawan, Made Budhiana, Made Djirna, Edi Hara, Made Wianta, Ketut Pandi Taman and Putu Sutawijaya all had the opportunity for international exposure. Today they are considered to be some of Indonesia’s finest contemporary art talents.

In 2001 Sika chose to step aside from the foundation and reassess his personal focus. “I had received a calling to dedicate myself to my spiritual journey. As an artist this was to have a profound affect and my work became more symbolic rather than being focused on harmony and composition.”

dewi-rati-2009-150-x-200-cm                                                          Dewi Rati 2009

He continued to organize group and community exhibitions as well as curating exhibitions and writing in books, catalogs, magazines and newspapers. His actions were also relevant in the development of new schools and kinder gardens in Bali. Sika had a series of health problems that saw him comatose on 3 occasions, once in 2003, again in 2006 and finally in 2009, when he hovered close to death for many days.

On this occasion he received visions which inspired a new series of paintings.

The Truth, Compassion and Tolerance Art Exhibition, open  16-24 October 2010 at the Sika Contemporary Fine Art Gallery, depicted the calamity of mankind, reflecting the conflict between good and evil, namely the systematic persecution of the Falun Dafa spiritual movement disciples by the Chinese Communist Regime. The powerful realism paintings featured by international artists re enforced on one hand, the state of beauty of the Falun Dafa movement and on the other, the horror it is confronted with in China. Since 2004 this exhibition has been shown in more than 40 countries and 200 cities.

During the past 45 years Sika has been given many paintings by international and Indonesian artists that he has met and helped during his lifetime. His personal art collection is now of a museum standard and quantity.

consent-2009-300-x-200cm                                                            Consent 2009

Sika nowadays paints purely on the prompting of his intuition. Paintings produced during the last 10 years have been mixed media works on large 2 x 2 meter canvases, symbolic images are purely of a spiritual nature. These works include written text on cloth conjuring up the movement and essence of Tibetan pray flags, figures in the style of Hindu deities, large lotus flowers and his channeled mantra’s written in Sanskrit text.The predominant colors are gold and white, while he delicately layers films of coloration giving the works an ethereal sense. The Balinese live in an intermediate world between that which is human and the realm of the Gods. Sika’s creativity originates from a divine source above.

His wish now is retire from the Sika Contemporary Fine Art Gallery and to focus solely on his spiritual development, while taking care of his family and grand children. His dream is to manifest an art foundation to oversee the management and future of his Gallery and its commitment to avant-garde artists.

Wayan Sika has established himself as one of the influential Balinese artists of his generation, and historically one of the most significant Indonesian contemporary fine art identities.

The Sika Contemporary Fine Art Gallery is located on Jalan Raya Campuhan, just up and across the road from Bintang Supermarket.

Phone/Fax: +62 361 975084

Email: info@sikagallery.com

Website: www.sikagallery.com

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

Nuarta & GWK’s Mission for World Peace

gwk-nuarta-visnu-statue-image-richard-horstman             Vishnu Under Construction at Nuarta’s Bandung Studio

 

During the past few years an unusual eyesore has slowly grown upon Bali’s Pecatu Bukit peninsula landscape, a massive concrete and steel foundation that now projects up over 80 meters into the sky.

Straddled by an enormous crane, the unlikely structure will be the pedestal for an icon of unprecedented proportions, that according to its creator, Balinese sculptor Nyoman Nuarta, represents the cultural identity and character of the Balinese and Indonesian people, while embodying Indonesia’s longing to contribute something of significance to the global community.

Yet this landmark project by the award-winning sculptor, responsible for numerous monumental public artworks throughout Indonesia and abroad, including the “Arjuna Wijaya” statue in Jakarta’s main avenue, has evolved beyond any expectations to be the most challenging of his illustrious career.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0012.JPGThe Enormous Pedestal for Nuarta’s Garuda Wisnu Statue at GWK Cultural Park, Jimbaran

 

“Along with big dreams, will come big challenges,” Nuarta said, about upon his visionary artistic project; the GWK Cultural Park, and the trials he has encountered during the process of realisation over the last 25 years. “Despite the years of delays this project has taught me to be patient and to never give up on my dreams.”

“The GWK idea first came to mind in the late 1980’s,” recalls Nuarta, who was born in Tabanan in 1951 and left Bali upon graduating from high school for West Java to study sculpture at Bandung’s ITB. “Its development has had to sustain the paralyzing effects of a political regime change, a nationwide financial crisis, conflicts within the project’s management structures, and more.”

“Cultural heritage alone will not sustain the Bali tourism industry. We need a place where our heritage can be both protected and also be developed,” said Nuarta, aware of the distinctive creative potential of Bali and the future possibilities of contributing something completely different to the sphere of global art.

construction-of-gwk-statue-at-nuartas-studio-bandung-image-pt-siluet-nuarta                             Nuarta’s Team at work in Bandung

“Bali is always welcoming to new cultures and artistic expressions from around the world. I envision GWK Cultural Park to be a place where Balinese thinkers and artists could showcase their works and have creative dialogue with their counterparts from across the globe.”

“The concept also includes the GWK World Cultural Forum, with its goal to introduce different cultures of the world through our mission to educate people to become more understanding towards other cultures,” Nuarta said. “In the end our objective is world peace.”

Set upon a 60-hectare limestone escarpment the GWK Cultural Park, owned by the public company PT. Alam Sutra with an 18% shared controlled by the PT. Bali Tourism Development corporation, first began construction in 1996. It’s concept was devised by the GWK Foundation that was headed by two ministers of the then Suharto government, Nuarta and a few individuals and businessmen close to President Suharto. Nuarta was then commissioned by Suharto to build a giant statue at GWK of the Hindu God Wisnu perched upon the back of his sacred cosmic vehicle, the mythical Garuda bird.

gwk-sculpture-installation-image-pt-siluet-nuarta                Nuarta’s Team at Work at GWK Cultural Park, Jimbaran

The 75-meter-high Garuda Wisnu statue, with a wingspan of 64 meters is made of copper and brass sheeting, stainless steel framework and skeleton, and is being constructed by PT Siluet Nyoman Nuarta, with its 200 personnel from various academic and cultural backgrounds, in Nuarta’s Bandung workshop. The sculptures outer skins, measuring 22,000 square meters, and the stainless steel framework are to be cut into 700 components and then transported overland by 400 individual truck journeys to Bali.

On location the statue will be forged together then mounted on the pedestal, the total height of the finished monument will be 126 meters, 30 meters taller than America’s Statue of Liberty, while its volume will be 11 times greater.

“I use the image of Garuda and Wisnu as a symbol of courage and loyalty. Wisnu is responsible for cosmic balance and harmony of all life.” The statue, Nuarta said, “Symbolizes a universal calling to all global citizens to play their part in nurturing and protecting the Earth.”

the-groundbreaking-ceremony-at-gwk-23rd-augustThe Ground Breaking Ceremony at GWK Cultural Park, Initiating the Start of Construction

Nuarta’s prominence as a sculptor began shortly before graduating from ITB, after winning the Indonesia’s Proclamator’s Monument competition in 1979. He was then appointed by the committee to build a statue of the nation’s founding father Soekarno. In 1977 he had joined  the revolutionary “Gerakan Seni Rupa Baru Indonesia” (the Indonesian New Art Movement) regularly participating in their collective’s exhibitions.

Having grown up close to nature Nuarta learned the importance of guarding the harmonious relationship between man and the creator, humanity with nature, and the relationships among mankind themselves. His artworks often reflect this important Balinese Hindu philosophy of Tri Hita Karana.

After a 16 year delay in August 2013 another chapter in the GWK statue’s construction began, then early in 2015 the pedestal’s erection ground to a halt. This year, however it has witnessed steady development, with the statue expected to be completed by 2018. When completed GWK Cultural Park will include a museum built within the pedestal, a cultural park and integrated tourism facilities.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Garuda Wisnu Statue Under Construction at Nuarta’s Bandung Studio

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: PT Siluet Nyoman Nuarta