Category Archives: Balinese Kamasan Painting

Investing in Balinese traditional art? Now is the right time.

IMG_8546 National Struggle                    National Struggle, 2016 – Pande I Made Dwi Artha

 

Within the sphere of Indonesian art, Balinese traditional art is a small niche market. It has recently, however, witnessed positive developments, and this progression, both in its appreciation and valuation, is leading to increasing national and international popularity.

The rapid evolution of information technology has led to greater access to knowledge about Balinese art, along with the publishing of more quality art books. Recent developments within the Bali art infrastructure, and the fact that experts believe the market is undervalued, with strong future growth potential, point to now being an excellent time to buy Balinese traditional art as an investment.

"Tapak Dara - Unity Tapak Dara - Pilar Kebangsaan" Aris Sarmanta. Image Richard HorstmanTapak Dara – Unity Tapak Dara – Pilar Kebangsaan, 2017 – Wayan Aris Sarmanta

 

The dynamics leading to Balinese art being underappreciated and undervalued has been due to its perception. Within world art Balinese art has been maligned, often referred to as ‘tourist’ and folk art – a craft without a legitimate place in Indonesian art history. Some of its finest practitioners, however, were, and are today, from the Balinese high castes therefore, it is not an art form exclusive to the common people. The leading artists nowadays are in a life long, ‘sacred’ pursuit dedicated to reaching new levels of technical skill and aesthetic mastery.

Initially collected and exhibited in anthropological museums of the Netherlands, and not in the renowned art museums of Europe, it was presented with a demeaning colonial narrative, referred to as art made by primitive people. This is situation, however, has recently undergone change. The institutions with the most important collections of Balinese art have been rebranded – renamed Museums of World Culture. From now on it will be presented free from the old narratives, given special curatorial attention to its importance, while being exhibited with the highest technological standards. This will impact positively upon its perception and appreciation internationally, and within Indonesia.

Wayan Budiarta - Drowning - 2017                                Drowning, 2017 – Wayan Budiarta

 

During the past twelve years Jakarta auctioneers Larasati have been tireless promoters of Balinese traditional art. 2018 marks the tweleth year of its Bali auctions, held twice yearly in Ubud. Larasati’s website provides sale data from past auctions, information, and access to online live bidding. Market data reveals strong growth for Ubud painter A.A Gde Anom Sukawati, if you purchased a work in 2003 for about USD 2,000 – 3,000, it can be sold at auction in 2016 at about USD 23,000. Similarly if you invested USD 2,000 – 3,0000 in 2003 on a masterpiece by Ida Bagus Putu Sena, it sold at auction in 2012 for about USD 14,000.

The major change maker on the Balinese art landscape is the TiTian Bali Art Foundation, located in Ubud. Open in 2016, and specializing in identifying, and nurturing emerging talent and introducing the best artists to the market. During 2017 TiTian presented some of the finest artists from the renowned school of Batuan painting. Wayan Budiarta, Wayan Aris Sarmanta (winner of the 2018 TiTian Prize), Pande I Made Dwi Artha and Gede Widyantara are young talents on the rise. Six paintings by two of these talents were purchased by Museums of World Culture and soon will be exhibited in the Netherlands.

Made Griyawan ' The Unlucky Monkey"                         The Unlucky Monkey, 2016 – Made Griyawan

 

Each year a new sector of world art comes under the auctioneers spotlight at Christie’s and Sotheby’s. In 2017 it was African art – the market response was increased demand, and new record prices. It is inevitable that more international collectors will turn their attention here due to the quality art at cheap prices. Could Balinese traditional art be one of the next booming markets?

Buying the right art requires some know how. Here are some tips for new collectors:

-Do your research and learn as much as possible through books and online information.

-Visit museums, galleries, auctions, artist’s studios, and exhibitions. Immerse yourself in art in order to train your eye.

-Get to know collectors and the experts. Seek out advice while learning about the industry.

-The best investment is with the emerging artists. Their works are cheaper and have a great potential for increasing in value and leading to future gains.

-Identify potential future masters by self-research and scouting, or align yourself with artist incubators.

-Invest early on masterpieces by the potential future masters.

-Think long term and hold for at least 10-15 years to wait for the market to mature for profit making.

-Works at auction often sell for prices much lower than that at galleries, or the artist’s studio.

-When buying at an auction set the price that you are not prepared to go above.

-There are still many Balinese works, often treasures, that remain forgotten, or unrecognized, which are stored away, and are yet to find their way onto the market.

-Young talent is thriving in the villages of Batuan, Keliki and Ubud and these important genres are in exciting new eras of development, driven by well-organized art collectives.

-Look out for the Larasati auction previews published online in the Jakarta Post.

bhineka-tunggal-ika-mungku-muriarti-mura                                     Painting by Mungku Muriarti Mura

 

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

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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

Buying Balinese art at auction?

Wayan Radjin "Ramayana Membebaskan Dewi Sita" Image courtesy of LarasatiWayan Radjin – “Ramayana Membebaskan Dewi Sita” Image courtesy of Larasati

 

Are you interested in Balinese art? Ever thought of buying at auction?

Whether driven by your love of art, curiosity, or an eye for investment – buying at auction can be an interesting and exciting way to grow your collection. To the novice auctions may appear intimidating, for aspiring art collectors, however, auctions can provide an excellent point of entry into the marketplace.

Larasati Auctioneers, Indonesia’s oldest international auction house is a dedicated supporter of Balinese art. Specialists in auctioning Balinese traditional art, this year (2018) marks the tweleth year of its Bali auctions, held twice a year in Ubud. Offering an array of collectible items including paintings, sketches, prints and sculptures, their auctions presents good opportunities for buyers with small to medium, and larger budgets.

"Baris" AA Anom Sukawati                                   Baris – Anak Agung Gede Anom Sukawati

 

Here are some tips for the inexperienced on how to buy art during the Larasati Bali sale:

Open for public viewing the items for auction, or lots, are on exhibition from 11am each Friday immediately prior to the auction at Larasati Art Space in Ubud. There will be an array of beautiful art from the Classical paintings to the renowned genres of Balinese modern traditional art, and some modern and contemporary works, on display. Two and a half days allows plenty of time for inspection and to learn more about the works for sale. The free auction catalogue will be your necessary companion to help in this process.

Not only does the catalogue include the details of each lot for sale with the artist’s name, title of the work, medium, size and of course the estimated price of the works market value, it also has the details of how to participate in the auction, along with the necessary pre and post sale procedures. Be sure to read all the fine print. The Larasati website provides information and sales data from past auctions, access to online live bidding, along with the digital auction catalogue. You may wish to do more research about what you intend to buy and the Internet now has more and more information available on Balinese art.

'Sita Satya' Ketut Madra, 103x103cm, Image Richard Horstman                                        Sita Satya – Ketut Madra

Art is very personal, and everyone has different tastes. The secret to buying art that you will enjoy from the first moment you see it, and everyday on the wall at home is to listen to your heart or inner voice. Buying for investment takes know-how. Taking note of your budget is essential, and a buyer’s premium is payable on top of the final sales price of each lot.

On auction day first register your intention to participate and you will receive your paddle with an identification number, which you shall raise to indicate to the auctioneer your wish to bid for a work offered for sale. Understand all the necessary responsibilities you have as a buyer – don’t hesitate to ask questions to the Larasati staff so that you are clear. Inquire if there is a condition report available on the works you are interested in, and knowing more about the works history (previous exhibitions, past sales records, provenance & certificates of authenticity).

Dewa Putu Bedil, 'Harvest Scene', 1980, acrylic on canvas 136x200cm                                  Dewa Putu Bedil – Harvest Scene

 

What can you expect during the auction?

 Auctions move at a swift pace so be attentive and its best to sit at the front of the room. The auctioneer monitors bids from telephone and Internet platforms along with live bidding from people within the room. Auctions become exciting especially when there is spirited competitive bidding quickly raising the prices.

 How does the bidding process work?

The bidding process is straight forward, simply raise your paddle to indicate that you are willing to accept the amount offered by the auctioneer, which will also be indicated on the screen next to the auctioneer in Indonesian Rupiah, American, Singaporean and Hong Kong dollars. The items price will increase by increments and auctioneer will clearly address you, acknowledging they have accepted your bid. Works at auction often sell for prices much lower than that at galleries, or the artist’s studio, yet remember to set a price according to your budget that you are not prepared to go above.

Gusti Nyoamn Lempad, 'The Rickety Bridge' 1940, black ink and pigment on paper.                                Gusti Nyoman Lempad – The Rickety Bridge

 

Hopefully you will succeed in placing the bid accepted as the final sales price that will be confirmed by the fall of the auctioneer’s hammer. Congratulations, your diligence has paid off and you have just won the lot. Finally, complete the payment details and organize the delivery of your new art work.

 This exciting experience will fuel your curiosity about buying art. Do your research and learn as much as possible through books and online, visit museums, galleries, artist’s studios, exhibitions, and more auctions. To train your eye immerse yourself in Balinese art – and enjoy.

For the online catalogues and more information about the next Larasati Bali auction early in 2019 please visit: www.larasati.com  

'Mothers Love' Ida Bagus Tilem, wood, 62x13x17cm. Image Richard Horstman                                  Mother’s Love – Ida Bagus Tilem

 

Auctions held at: Larasati Bali Art Space at Tebesaya Gallery,

Jalan Jatayu, Banjar Tebesaya, Peliatan,

Ubud, Bali.

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images Courtesy: Larasati Auctioneer’s & Richard Horstman

Recognizing extraordinary Balinese artistic talent: the 2018 TiTian Prize

2018-003-D-SUWIDIARTA I KETUT-END AND THE BEGINNING-120 X 100 CM                                       Beginning and End – Ketut Suwidiarta

 

The Bali art infrastructure is undergoing important transformation. This renewal is a timely, yet long and unique process. The intended outcome, however, will be a sustainable art eco system on the island with the benefactors being new buyers, seasoned collectors, art lovers, the curious, and of course the artists and the industry as well.

The infrastructure currently comprises of galleries, museums, art spaces, artist studios, cultural centers, the traditional, and digital media, along with the art schools, institutions and foundations. Art awards and competitions are an essential, supportive part of any art infrastructure. They are renowned for discovering and showcasing noteworthy emerging artists and launching their careers. The exposure to gallerists, curators, collectors, the media and local and international audiences provides excellent networking opportunities, and makes the task of being “discovered” much easier.

2018-034-D-ADI WIRAWAN-MERINDUKAN BALIKU YANG DULU-120 X 120 CM                           Merindukan Baliku Yang Dulu – Adi Wirawan

 

The nine finalists and winner of the second annual TiTian Prize were announced in Ubud, 29 January 2018, during the second anniversary celebrations of Yayasan TiTian Bali (YTB). A new and visionary art foundation, inaugurated on the 80th anniversary of the founding of the famous Ubud based artist collective the Pitamaha, YTB is setting out to change the art landscape in Bali. TiTian, meaning bridge or “Stepping Stone” in the Balinese language, with its annual program of exhibitions, awards, workshops and book releases, is an experimental playground and launch pad. In essence it serves as artist incubation.

“Bali has a vast cultural heritage that is at risk due to the disruptions caused by modern technological, social and cultural changes sweeping the world,” says the YTB Chairman of the Board of Advisors Soemantri Widagdo. “YTB will assist Balinese visual artists not only to navigate and survive this massive change, but to become successful art-entrepreneurs to benefit from and to be the drivers of the new opportunities of the 21st century creative economies in Bali and Indonesia.”

2018-033-D-ARI WINATA I NYOMAN-MENAGKAP RAJA BABI-150 X 200 CM                                Menagkap Raja Babi – Nyoman Ari Winata

 

The TiTian Prize is awarded to the most promising artist who demonstrates talent and courage in breaking new ground in Balinese art. This year’s finalists are Gede Suryawan, Ari Winata, Ketut Suwidiarta, Kadek Yuliantono, Made Suartama, Ida Bagus Suryantara, Made Wahyu Senayadi and Wayan Eka Mahardika Suamba. The TiTian Prize winner is the exciting young painter from Batuan, Wayan Aris Sarmanta.

“Keluarga Bumi”, 2017 (Earth Family), by Sarmanta, is a wonderfully imaginative, glowing ‘family portrait’ featuring the father, mother and child set within and a fertile, idyllic earth playground. Elements of Balinese traditional painting merge with modern and contemporary art genes. Striking color contrasts are balanced with a superbly poised composition, highlighting the strong narrative taken from the Balinese Hindu philosophies. Light hearted elements add to the painting’s story making it a delight to observe.

2018-016-D-ARIS SARMANTA I WAYAN-KELUARGA BUMI-100 X 80 CM   The Winner of the 2018TiTian Prize “Keluarga Bumi” by Wayan Aris Sarmanta 

 

“My painting visualizes the earth family along with the abundance of nature in a harmonic, caring, and self-sustaining relationship,” says Sarmanta, who was born in Batuan in 1995. And continues, “I experienced great pleasure, along with disbelief, upon being announced this year’s winner.”

Photographs do not do “Keluarga Bumi” justice, and the painting needs to be seen to fully appreciate the fresh new approach that is currently revolutionizaring the most loved and critically acclaimed genre of Balinese art – Batuan painting. Inspirational and humourous, Sarmanta’s work is pulsating, and full of life.

The YTB presentation also includes the third annual “Anugrah Pusaka Seni” (Art Heritage) Award to artists and a patron who have made extraordinary contributions to the Balinese Arts. The winners are A.A. Gde Meregeg (1907-2001), A.A. Gde Sobrat (1912-1992), Gusti Made Deblog (1906-1986), Dewa Nyoman Mura (1877-1950), Dewa Putu Kebes (1874-1962), and Gusti Putu Sodang (unknown – 1937). The Patron Award (Life Achievement) went to Prof. Drs. A.A Rai Kalam (1940-2017) who played a definitive role in the formation of the School of Art at ISI Denpasar.

2018-012-D-SURYANTARA IDA BAGUS-PALEMAHAN-125 X 120 CM                                   Palemahan – Ida Bagus Suryantara

 

For the first time this year YTB presented children’s prizes for age groups up to 12 years, and between 13 to 17 years of age. “The Titian Prize for children is to encourage the young generation of Balinese children to learn and continue the Balinese painting tradition,” says Widagdo. “The prizes are given in recognition, appreciation and encouragement, and consist of a certificate and art materials. In the future we plan to include a program of mentoring along with museum and studio visits.”

The 2018 TiTian Prize winner will travel to Europe to attend a Bali art exhibition in late fall this year in Leiden, the Netherlands. The exhibition will feature paintings by Sarmanta and Wayan Budiarta, also from Batuan, that have recently been acquired by the National Museum of World Cultures. The winner as well will tour major museums, art galleries and exhibitions in the Netherlands.

Sarmanta’s painting“Keluarga Bumi” is on display until the end of 2018 at TiTian Art Space, located at the end of Jalan Bisma, Ubud. Open to the public daily from 9am – 5pm, except Mondays.

2018-018-D-EKA MAHARDIKA SUAMBA-JIN KURAKURA-35 X 46 CM                            Jin Kurakura – Wayan Eka Mahadika Suamba

 

2018-006-D-YULIANTO I KADEK-RENAISSANCE IN BALI-90 X 70 CM                                   Renaissance in Bali – Kadek Yulianto

 

2018-001-D-SURYAWAN EKA PUTRA-DIALOGUE IN BLUE SEASON- 51 X 71 CM                           Dialogue in Blue Season – Gede Suryawan

 

2018-009-D- SUARTAMA I MADE- BATU TENGAH-80 X 80 CM.JPG                                      Batu Tengah – Made Suartama

 

TiTian Prize Childrens Art A- KETUT SANDRA GAUTAMA-NELAYAN-24 X 36 CM                TiTian Prize Children’s Art – Ketut Sandra Gautama

 

TiTian Childrens Prize - KADEK DWIKA DHARMA PUTRA-KEBERSAMAAN-22 X 32 CM .JPG                   TiTian Prize Children’s Art – Kadek Dwika Dharma Putra

 

2018-034-A- KADEK RIPA RYAN SUPUTRA-ANAK PANTAI-25,5 X 30 CM.JPG                       TiTian Prize Children’s Art – Kadek Ripa Ryan Suputra

www.titianartspace.com

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images Coutesy: TiTian Art Space

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.”

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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