Category Archives: Balinese Kamasan Painting

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

 

 

In a Class of His Own: Sculptor Pintor Sirait

20161006_103454                            Pintor Sirait at his Denpasar Studio

Art is a compelling force that interacts with, and enhances our conscious and subconscious minds. Shamans, masters of primitive art created with intention works rich in symbolic meaning that communicated via the language of the soul.

Knowledge of symbols, and how the subconscious ‘reads’ and responds to art are potent facets of Indonesian artist Pintor Sirait’s creative oeuvre. So much so that his gift of translating inspiration into wonderful 3 dimensional forms has distinguished him as one Indonesia’s most important contemporary sculptors.

Born in Germany in 1962 to a German mother and to a father of Batak, Sumatran origin, aged five Sirait arrived in West Java, and grew up in Bandung. He completed high school and a few years of college before moving abroad, studying psychology, and then sculpture in the United States.  His curiosity for deciphering the human psyche has led him upon a quest that has positioned him securely within the international art world.

DSCF5458                                           Brise at ArtJog9 June 2016

“I fell in love twice,” Sirait recalls. “First while living in the US I fell in love with the possibility of learning more about the world. I became obsessed with the library system, because in Indonesia we did not have one with such a wide range of reading material on art and culture. During my early twenties I did years of learning and absorbing. I had a fascination for Indonesian history; a hunger to know about my homeland.”

In 1984 Sirait moved to the US and between 1985-88 he studied a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts in Nevada. He accessed books about Indonesia containing knowledge that could only be found abroad. Following this he pursued psychology. “I was in the midst of doing my graduate studies on clinical psychology. I was a very serious student so my professor suggested I take some art classes to enhance my creative thinking abilities. I immediately became emotionally, physically, and spiritually captivated with the sculpture.”

20160928_114015                                               Model of Flow

Sirait abandoned his psychology studies and went straight to art school. Within a few years he was working between Indonesia, France and the US exhibiting and selling his work.  His artistic channel opened up as if the universe conspired with him to create an exciting and empowering new world. “I fell in love with the possibility of making things derived from my self-education.”

“I learned to meld my ideas into sculptures from a psychological/holistic perspective.

I combine the knowledge of psychology into my art to help understand the psyche and how the emotions work. Incorporating the psychological dimensions of how we sense, think and feel; how we engage with art.”

In recent years Sirait has been more focussed on any possibility to create public art. “Public art interacts with people allowing them to both see and feel.”

20160928_114656

The along awaited new development of the International Terminal 3 at Jakarta’s Soekarno – Hatta airport is currently entering the final stages of construction. Included within the terminal’s modern architectural design features PT. Angkasa Pura II, the airport’s management authority, will make a bold and exciting statement via Indonesian contemporary art.

In his search to find classical Indonesian beauty, translate and present it into a public artwork to enrich the modern architecture of Terminal 3, the beauty of the Balinese traditional dance “Rejang Dewa” communicated intimately to Sirait. Utilizing Japanese calligraphy he then responded with ink on paper.

“I translated the brush strokes into three different 3 dimensional shapes which became Flow – a stainless steel 1900 x 800 x 700 cm form that floats and sways, then cascades down over two levels of the airport terminal’s arrival hall. I wish Flow to remind Indonesians of how fortunate we are to have so many beautiful cultural inheritances to be proud of.”

20160928_114036                           Democracy Kills at Sirait’s Denapasar Studio

Venturing inside Sirait’s studio in South Denpasar one enters a large industrial workshop, it’s  nerve center a cozy air-conditioned office.  His fifteen staff he brought from Bandung, trained, and that have worked with him for 20 years hover around steel modules of ‘Flow’, meticulously engaged in aligning, and welding.

The environment is noisy, dirty, almost confronting. The tropical heat is extreme. Yet all the while there is an exciting interrelationship of dynamics at play. Patience and skill combine with intuition as man and machine melt and fuse components together. The sight of red-hot liquid metal is enthralling, sexy too!  It gives a sense of creativity in the translating of industrial materials into something that relates to human feeling. Alchemy is a vital essence of this process.

Some of the award-winning artist’s themes explore his Batak heritage, Indonesian culture and beauty, along with the paradoxes of the modern world, such as violence and obsession.

20160928_114505                  Detail of Democracy Kills (History is Closer ….Than You Think!)

“I grew up in Indonesia learning to work within its cultural boundaries. Through art you can open things up and talk about subjects artistically, yet with sensitivity and politeness. Art does not have to offend; sometimes it needs to though. Yet only in the right context – through the most creative, non-threatening and non-judgemental art.  I learned this from psychology.”

Dividing his time between his workshop and his home beside the ocean at Canggu, each morning Sirait rises early walks the beach, and then returns home for his ritual meditation. His second storey home studio allows him to gaze tranquilly westward, out across the sea.

His words of advice to aspiring young artists: “Its good to look around you, yet what’s most important is to look inside.”

20160928_120849

Sirait’s works can be found in the US, Europe, China, Southeast Asia, Australia and throughout Indonesia, while he has extensively exhibited for the past twenty years. A ‘product’ of three continents, he believes it is important to live within and outside of a culture in order to think freely as an artist.

“What one can find within oneself is fantastic.  What may be expressed through art can be felt more by other people because it has authentic elements derived from inner experience. What I am interested in as an artist is how I may touch people’s hearts through my work.”

http://www.pintorsirait.com

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

Balinese Kamasan Paintings

Kamasan 1605 wayan Dogol, The charming of Mandara Giri, natural pigment on paper.“The Charming of Mandara Giri” 1605 Natural pigments on paper. Image courtesy of Museum Puri Lukisan

Imagine you are a master Balinese painter, and your King has recently commissioned you to create a work. As you sit down in front of a large cloth stretched upon a wooden frame with a pencil in hand, for a moment you contemplate the composition before beginning to sketch. The year is 1723. What would go through your mind?

Possibly you hear the clash and bangs of metallic instruments of a Balinese ensemble. You visualize the cloth in front as a giant screen, with an audience seated on the opposite side. And you imagine yourself as a dalang – a master puppeteer – manipulating puppets while bringing to life a mighty Hindu religious epic during a wayang kulit shadow theater play.

The roots of the wayang puppet theater, one of the original story telling methods in the Balinese culture may be traced back over 2000 years to the Indian traders who settled in Nusa Antara (Indonesia prior to being known as the Dutch East Indies) bringing with them their culture and Hindu religion. The wayang or classical style of Balinese painting is derived from the imagery that appears in this medium.

Kamasan Painting Image R. Horstman                                                     “The Death of Abismanyu”

The paintings were made on processed bark paper, cotton cloth and wood and were used to decorate temples, pavilions, and the houses of the aristocracy, especially during temple ceremonies and festivals. Originally the work of artisans from the East Javanese Majapahit Empire (13-16th Century), this style of painting expanded into Bali late in the 13th century and from the 16th – 20th centuries, the village of Kamasan, Klungkung, was the center of classical Balinese art, and hence the Kamasan paintings.

The original works were a communal creation, the master artist shaped the composition, sketching in the details and outlines and apprentices added the colors. These works where never signed by an individual and considered as a collective expression of values and gratitude from the village to the Divine. Colors were created from natural materials mixed with water, i.e iron oxide stone for brown, calcium from pig bones for white, ocher oxide clay for yellow, indigo leaves for blue, carbon soot or ink for black. Enamel paint introduce by the Chinese a few hundred years ago were used on wooden panels of pavilions and shrines, or even upon glass.

The highly detailed, sacred narrative Kamasan paintings play an essential role within the Balinese culture functioning as a bridge communicating between two worlds, the material world humans inhabit and the immaterial world of the divine and demonic forces. The artist functions as a medium translating the esoteric and invisible into a comprehendible visual language and bringing greater understandings to the mysteries of life according to scriptures and philosophies. According to Dr Adrian Vickers, Professor of SE Asian Studies at Sydney University, “The key to Kamasan painting’s sense of beauty is the beautiful flow of line and the pure flat figuration.”

"The Turning of Mount Mandara" .Mangku Mura 1973, natural pigments on cloth, Photo -David IronsA Modern Kamasan Painting  “The Turning of Mount Mandara” Mangku Mura 1973       Image courtesy of David Irons.

For foreign audiences the paintings, however, present difficulties in their understanding. Without a concept of the landscape in Balinese paintings it’s about an arrangement of items on a flat surface akin to the shadow puppets against the screen in shadow theater. Unlike Western modern art where paintings generally have one focal point there is no central focal point to read the Kamasan narratives. Most of the paintings have multiple stories that may be read in all areas around the composition.

Looking at painting it is full with visual information to the extent that nothing stands out. Tight, generalized, often repetitive patterning, often of decorative motifs, and combinations of graphic patterns are distributed all across the surface leaving little or no blank areas. Ornamental elements, rocks, flowers motifs and painted borders indicate Indian and Chinese influence from Chinese porcelain and Indian textiles.

“Adherence to established rules about the relative size of parts of figures related to measurements in the human body – in the Balinese perspective each measurement is seen as a human manifestation of elements that exist in the wider cosmos. Correctness of proportions is part of being in tune with the workings of divine forces in the world. Colors are also codified.” says Adrian Vickers in his book Balinese Art Paintings & Drawings of Bali 1800-2010. “Form evokes spirituality.”

DSCF4755                      “Kumbakarna Attacked by Monkeys” Date Unkown. ARMA

The two dimensional Kamasan compositions generally depict three levels, the upper level is the realm of the Gods and the benevolent deities, the middle level occupied by kings and the aristocracy, and the lower third belongs to humans and demonic manifestations. Details in facial features, costumes, body size and skin color indicate specific rank, figure or character type. Darker skin and big bodies are typical of ogres, light skin and finely portioned bodies are Gods and kings. Rules control the depiction of forms; there are 3 or 4 types of eyes, 5 or 6 different postures and headdresses. The position of the hands indicates questions and answers, command and obedience.

The narratives are from the Hindu and Buddhist sacred texts – the Ramayana, Mahabarata, Sutasoma, Tantri, also from Panji – Javanese-Balinese folktales and romances. Astrological, earthquake and birth charts are also depicted. Major mythological themes are rendered in great symmetry, while these paintings contain high moral standards and function to express honorable human virtues to society with the intent to encourage peace and harmony. A beautiful painting communicates balance, aesthetically and metaphorically, and is equated to the artist achieving union with the divine.

Traditional Kamasan painting is not static and keeps evolving as subtle changes have occurred over time as each artist has their own style, composition and use of colour. It is common that new works regularly replace old and damaged works and hence Kamasan painting is an authentic living Balinese tradition.

DSCF4643                                 “Bharata Yudha”  1969  –  Tjokorda Oka Gambira

Where to See Kamasan Paintings in Bali:

Museum Puri Lukisan, Jalan Raya Ubud, Bali

Tele: +62 361 971159

Open Daily 9am – 5 pm.

ARMA Museum, Jalan Raya Pengosekan, Ubud, Bali

Tele: +62 361 975742

Open Daily 9am – 5 pm.

Neka Museum, Jalan Raya Sanggingan, Campuhan, Ubud, Bali

Tele: +62 361 975074

Open Daily 9am – 5 pm

Nyoman Gunarsa Museum of Classical & Modern Art

Jl. Pertigaan Banda No. 1, Takmung, Banjarangkan, Klungkung, Bali.

Tele: +62 366 22256

Open Daily 10 am – 5 pm.

Palalintangan Astrological Chart - Natural Pigments on Cloth                                                      Palalintangan – Astrological Chart

"The Gods of Eight Attacking Garuda," Pan Seken 2                           “The Gods of Eight Attacking Garuda”  – Pan Seken