Category Archives: The Bali Art Scene

Nyoman Gunarsa (1944 – 2017) One of Bali’s Poineering Modernist

335-maestro_lukis_nyoman_gunarsa_meninggal_dunia_dok_youtube-696x341             RIP Nyoman Gunarsa – One of Bali’s pioneering modern artist

With the recent passing of Balinese artist Nyoman Gunarsa on the 10th September 2017 an important chapter of Balinese art comes to a close. His legacy as an artist, art lecturer, art collective leader and museum owner, however, will be long lasting. Born in Klungkung, East Bali in 1944, Gunarsa was the first post war Balinese artist to rise to national prominence. His contribution to the development of Balinese art as one of the pioneering modern expressionist painters was in the exploration of form, rather than the narrative.

Gunarsa’s energetic style of applying paint to canvas with spontaneous, gestural brushstrokes was likened by some to a musical conductor, and he was affectionately known as the maestro. Raised nearby to the village of Kamasan, which during the 16th – 20th centuries was the epicenter of Balinese Classical art, Gunarsa was renowned for his dedication to the art of his forefathers. Academically trained, he quickly matured as a realism painter, yet in the 1980’s his fresh approach to depicting the characters from the Wayang Kulit shadow puppet theater broke new aesthetic grounds in Balinese art.

nyoman gunarsa, 2006 water color on paper. 115x161cm.Barong Dance,Gunarsa’s dynamic paintings emphasized the energy and movement that typified Balinese performance and ceremony.

The foundation of Balinese art is drawing. The strictly governed rules and techniques that characterize the Classical style begin with the sketching of the composition, the drawing of the fine black ink outlines of all visual information, and the coloring in of figures, forms and motifs. Originally these were collective works completed by a group of artists, as a communal offering of gratitude to the Gods. The application of color involved controlled brushstrokes, layered until the desired results are achieved – a brushwork technique akin to drawing, or penciling in the colorful hues.

Gunarsa’s signature style was an adaptation from western art, in which the individual’s innovative ideas, emotions and energy are omnipotent. Freedom and power of expressive, often minimal brushstrokes defined his visual approach. Gunarsa captured a fresh sense of dynamism in his interpretations of iconic scenarios from the Balinese Hindu legends, along with his revolutionary method of capturing traditional ceremony and performance, especially beautiful women dancing. Fusing his cultural knowledge with elements of expressionism and abstract painting immediately set his work apart from that of his contemporaries.

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Colorful, pulsating movement and vitality categorize Balinese ceremony, performance and dance. This has been a source of inspiration for artists over many generations, yet never had a painter captured the seen, and unseen elements of energy, with Gunarsa’s colorful vibrancy. Form along with the decorative elements of Balinese Classical painting took on wonderful new life, and an exciting, newfound match for the unique, real visual spectacle was born.

As an art lecturer at Yogyakarta’s ASRI (Academi Seni Rupa Indonesia) during the late 1960’s and into the 1970’s Gunarsa was a catalyst to great change. He shared his vast knowledge and enthusiasm with a new, young generation of Balinese artists, the first to venture outside of their cultural structures and restraints, to be academically trained in Central Java. These were the formative days of Balinese contemporary art. Via their fresh approach to exploration and expression using new and unusual media they transformed Balinese philosophies, rituals and symbols into an exciting new visual language.

Gunarsa(DK)

Gunarsa helped establish Indonesia’s longest running artist collective, Sanggar Dewata Indonesia, SDI (Workshop of the Gods) in 1970, inviting his Balinese students to form the new association. SDI grew to create a social collective to coordinate artistic activities, exhibitions and organize debates on art outside the institutional teaching framework. It offered its members freedom to collaborate and create without having to fear being labeled as supporters of certain political parties, during a highly politicized era of Indonesian history.

While the influential 1936 – 1945 Pita Maha artists collective redefined Balinese traditional art with modern aesthetics for the burgeoning tourist market, SDI set about redefining from the artist’s perspective based on the search for new ideas, self-expression, and national identity. This new art movement laid the foundations for the future, while inspiring many young artist to study in Yogyakarta, and Balinese contemporary art evolved to reveal its own distinct ‘voice’ in world art, while spawning generations of talented artists.

Sketch in black ink- Gunarsa

During the 1980’s – 1990’s Gunarsa and others such as Wianta, Sika, Djirna and Erawan enjoyed national and international success. Gunarsa opened the Museum of Contemporary Indonesian Painting in Yogyakarta in 1989. His next milestone was in 1994 when the Nyoman Gunarsa Museum of Classical Painting opened next to his residence in Klungkung. In the 3-storey venue he combined his own works with Classical paintings from the 17th – 19th centuries. Dedicated to the preservation of this unique art form Gunarsa acquired scarce works, including ones painted on rare ulantaga bark paper.

Artifacts, stone and woodcarvings, traditional furniture, masks, sculptures and a collection of sacred ceremonial kris add to the historical significance of his museum. In August 2017 the Indonesian President Joko Widodo attended an official reception at the museum in Gunarsa’s honor. As an international, multi award winning artist Gunarsa held solo exhibitions in more than ten foreign countries.

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A landmark celebration of Balinese art was held from July – October 2012 at Gunarsa’s museum, The First International Festival of Classical Balinese Painting. The festival included works from collections of seven other countries, along with the participation of some of the world’s leading foreign authorities on Balinese Classical art. “Classical Balinese paintings have been admired world wide since the European society first became acquainted with the East in the 15th century,” said Gunarsa. “And since then other countries have searched out these masterpieces to enrich their cultural references because of the extraordinary implied messages, philosophies, and counsels about the life of the Balinese.”

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Words: Richard Horstman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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the SELFIE PROJECT – Kenyut’s artisitic exploration into popular culture

Participant in "I Love Me - the Selfie Project"                              A participant in the Selfie Project

We are living in the era of pop culture selfie mania. Technology and smartphones have democratized visual self expression, with social media and imaging apps allowing us to constantly ‘curate’ our digital presence, enhancing our obsession with our perfect self.

The Century of The Self, the landmark 2002 documentary series by British filmmaker Adam Curtis focuses upon the work of Austrian psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), his daughter Anna, and his American nephew Edward Bernays. Freud was responsible for changing our perception of the mind and its workings.

A devotee of his uncle’s work, Bernays was the first to use psychological techniques in a new field of marketing he labelled Public Relations. He went on to establish a hugely influential PR consultancy in New York City in the 1920’s that was to have an unprecedented impact on western civilization.

Children participate in "I Love Me - the Selfie Project" Image Richard HorstmanChildren participate in the Selfie Project during a workshop on contemporary art by Kenyut at Tepi Sawah Festival, Ubud.

“This series is about how those in power have used Freud’s theories to try and control the dangerous crowd in an age of mass democracy,” Curtis says in his introduction to Episode One. “Bernays showed corporations how they can make people want things they didn’t need by linking mass-produced goods to their inner desires. By satisfying one’s inner selfish desires people became happy and docile. This was the start of the all consuming self, which has come to dominate the world today.”

In recent years the selfie has entered the sphere of social themes for Indonesian contemporary artists. During Jogja Art Weeks (JAW), a month-long plethora of art activities held through the months of May – June, 2017 in Yogyakarta, there were two presentations based on this theme. In Selfie Frame, collective showings by Indonesian and Polish artists, decorated frames were arranged throughout an exhibition space and visitors were invited to pose within them, and then post their selfies onto social media.

Popular young artist Oky Rey Montha, (b.1986, Yogyakarta), exhibited In Frame We Trust, 2017, at ArtJog10. He prompted the audience to engage with his installation by sitting on a toilet and taking a selfie in front of his paintings that parodied the selfie as a ridiculous act. The artists contributed nothing fresh to the critical discourse about this phenomenon, prioritizing fun experiences while appearing to utilize the opportunity simply as an attempt to “cash in”.

I Love Me - the Selfir Project by Djunaidi Kenyut                       I Love Me – the Selfie Project at Laramona, Ubud

East Javanese, Bali based artist Djunaidi Kenyut, however, takes a vastly different approach with his art project, I love Me – the Selfie Project. In his ongoing venture in community engagement beginning early this year, Kenyut randomly seeks out people and asks them to be participants by drawing their image onto a small piece of mirror with a marker pen. The image he later engraves permanently onto the glass.

“People without artistic experience often feel intimidated when I ask them to partake,” Kenyut said. “So I introduce this exercise to them in a fun, non-confrontational way with the theme drawing is easy.” The artist’s goal is to amass 2000 of these individual images and exhibit them in Surabaya, along with presenting a workshop to children at the school he attended in the city, during his childhood.

From 29 April for one month, Kenyut exhibited over 200 of these self-portraits in I Love Me – the Selfie Project, at Laramona, Ubud. Featuring an array of fascinating, often humorous manually recorded images, the exhibition opening was a unique gathering where the project participant’s creations were the focus of interest.

Participant of "I Love Me - the Selfie Project" Image Kenyut                            A participant in the Selfie Project

Kenyut continued his engagement with the public at Tepi Sawah Festival, in Pejeng, Ubud 3-4 June, a new grass-roots community celebration of music, performance and creativity, highlighted by children’s educational programs on topics including environmental awareness and sustainability. He presented a workshop to children introducing the concept of contemporary art making and involving them in the Selfie Project. The group of twenty boys and girls delighted in the opportunity to participate in a communal work by drawing their reflections upon a large mirror.

During his one-on-one interactions, Kenyut learns about the character of the participants. “For some, the task of drawing their reflection is easy, while for others it’s difficult because they are afraid of their self-appearance,” he said. “In the mirror, they tend to see one of two things, and then chose to either imitate their true reflection or create an ideal image of the self. Some people focus on the creative process, while others focus on the results.”

“When people become hesitant I encourage them, and if they are not happy with the result it can be erased, and they can try again,” he said. During this process, Kenyut carefully prompts them to look into the mirror and engage with their reflection, to look beyond the physical, and to love and accept who they are. This helps to stimulate their creative process. “Simulating one’s self-image evokes a sense of self- confidence,” Kenyut said.

Kenyut during his presentation to children of "I Love Me - the Selfie Project" at Tepi Sawah Festival. Image Richard HorstmanKenyut demonstrates the selfie technique to children at Rumah Apik, during the Tepi Sawah Festival.

“I believe selfies to be narcissistic behavior – a desire to love one’s self excessively. The addiction we witness on social media is an empty expression constantly being repeated, reflecting people’s unbalanced psychological state. The selfie addicts look happy, but on the inside, they are not,” Kenyut said.

What effect is this addiction having upon our society? Has the selfie reduced life to a popularity contest, driven by the external myth of beauty and the need to compare ourselves with others, governed by likes, Instagram followers and Facebook friends? The ancient Egyptians understood the relevance of distinguishing and connecting with the self. Within the inner sanctum of the Luxor Temple on the east bank of the Nile River, a proverb states, “Man, know thyself, and you are going to know the gods”.

I Love Me – the Selfie Project encourages people to reflect upon their inner worlds. This, Kenyut believes, is the key to the most powerful door of all. Contemporary artists increasingly play essential roles within the positive development of modern society. They challenge our understanding of ourselves and help others to see things differently and to learn about the world. Importantly, they shine light on issues that need to be individually and collectively addressed for the sake of a sustainable, more peaceful and loving world.

The Exhibition "I Love Me - the Selfie Project" at Laramona, Ubud. Image Merio Falindra            the Selfie Project at Laramona, Ubud – Image Merio Falindra

https://www.facebook.com/djunaidi.kenyut

Words & Images: Richard Horstman & Merio Falindra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Keliki Kawan Miniature Painting Exhibition: Werdi Jan Kerti Artist’s Assoc.

I Putu Adi - "Sejarah Perdaban Cina in Bali"                              Sejarah Perdaban Cina di Bali – I Putu Adi

More 60 images of the reknown Balinese modern traditional style of the Keliki School of Miniature Painting went on display, 18 April at Ubud’s Museum Puri Lukisan. The Keliki Kawan Exhibition 2017, by the Werdi Jana Kerti Artist’s Association, continues until 3 June at Ubud’s centrally located, historical museum.

Last in line in the chronology of genres of modern traditional painting, coming after the mid 1960’s Young Artist’s Style, the Keliki paintings depict on paper the plethora of Balinese imagery in the tiniest of frameworks. The art of creating miniature images, however, has a long history, having been passed down over generations and dating back as far as the 9th century.

I Made Jongko - "Panen" 2016                                              Panen –  Made Jongko

Derived from the decorated manuscripts, processed on dried leaves and known as the lontars, the information is contained on pages measuring 30cm wide by 5cm high. Still in use today, the books reveal knowledge as diverse as holy scriptures, prominent rituals, family lineages, laws, medicine, arts, architecture, calendars, literature, and even the rules for cock-fighting. A sharp writing instrument is used to score the small text and drawings.

The Keliki School of Miniature Painting began in the early 1970’s in the Keliki Kawan village, 20 minutes north of Ubud. The village nowadays is home to more than 300 artists, in a tradition where the master pupil relationship, often father and son/s, plays an essential role. Two artists, I Ketut Sana (b.1952) and I Made Astawa (b.1953) are responsible for the development of this style that over time evolved to encompass a community of artists, and helping to supplement the incomes of poor farmers through the sale of works.

Gusti Putu Sudana "Pulau Bali" 2016                                   Pulau Bali – Gusti Putu Sudana

Both Sana and Astawa were students of the grandson of Bali’s most important modern artist and architect, Gusti Nyoman Lempad (c1865-1978), while also learning from masters of another respected genre, the Batuan School. Inspired by Lempad’s line techniques and the crowded Batuan ‘signature’ style, they reduced their compositions down in size, and the Keliki miniature style was born.

In 2011 the Werdi Jana Kerti Artists Association of the Keliki Kawan village was formed in an effort to maintain and preserve the genre. Since 2013 they have exhibited annually at Museum Puri Lukisan, the exhibition being a highlight on the Ubud art calendar. The collective currently has 75 members, of which 58 participate in the current show, aged from 14-70 years, including 11 women, while 23 of the artists are under 30 years.

Gusti Putu Lasyantika "Panen" 2016 12x12cm                                    Panen – Gusti Putu Lasyantika

Panen, 2016, by Gusti Putu Lasyantika is a fine example of the miniature style. His painting fuses two compositions into one. The outer image, set on a black background, is of colorful native birds peering in on the inner scenario, while contrasting with, and framing it. The inner focal landscape, constructed in receding layers to emphasize depth of field, shows farmers harvesting rice fields. In the distance Bali’s iconic volcanic landscape is visible with the sun’s soft golden rays illuminating the afternoon sky. What’s remarkable about Lasyantika’s painting, which involved hours of painstaking attention to detail, is that all of this imagery is captured within the reduced dimensions of only 12 x 12 centimeters!

During the past decade the onslaught of modernization that has become incompatible with traditional norms, has become a popular theme among traditional painters. Deforestation and relentless urban development are depicted in Illegal Logging, 2016 by Putu Kusuma. In the foreground heavy machinery and men with chain saws destroy the landscape. In the background the city’s high-rise skyline encroaches. The focal point is the sacred Balinese tree as the foundation of the natural eco system – the tree of life.

I Gusti Putu Sudarma "Bandara Harapan" 2017 38x27cm                            Bandara Harapan – Gusti Putu Sudarma

Gusti Putu Sudarma’s Bandara Harapan, 2016, 38 x 27 cm, acrylic on paper, is also aligned with the fore mentioned theme, yet his imagery is mostly unconventional. In a scene reminiscent of Dutchman Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450 -1516), in his style that was the forerunner to the 1920’s surrealism movement, the artist depicts a composition of two opposing worlds.

The foreground is filled with colorful circus characters, both real and imagined, with an array of unusual objects, some small, while others are monumental. Various other abstract structures and forms, along with figures appearing as observers, make up the relevant visual information. A few, seemingly insignificant, traditional parasols are the only recognizable Balinese icons.

I Putu Adi -Dewi Drupadi Dilecechi Oleh Kurawa" 2015                           Dewi Drupadi Dilecechi Oleh Kurawa – Putu Adi

Rendered faintly in the distance is the Bali of yesteryear, in a lush mountainous landscape dotted with Hindu temples. In top the right side a sits a small figure raised upon a pillar in meditation, while in the top left corner two brown figures appear, one holds a flag in an apparent gesture of surrender, the other in apparent raptures of grief.

This is a fascinating and clever composition worthy of focused attention. Do Sudarma’s metaphoric symbols represent his idea of a dystopian Bali?

I Putu Kusuma - "Illegal Logging" 2016                              Illegal Logging – Putu Kusuma

 

Keliki Kawan Exhibition 2017

Open daily 9am – 5pm

Museum Puri Lukisan, Ubud

Jalan Raya, Ubud, Bali

www.museumpurilukisan.com

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

 

WHAT’S NEXT – A Group Art Exhibition

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In recent years the visibility of street art in Bali has grown phenomenally. The dynamic crossover of genres, fusing graffiti with murals, social realism, and ever-evolving sensibilities has become a popular urban youth expression. Outside of conventional modes found in gallery and museums, street art is alive in public spaces, transforming bland street walls.

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From the beach side areas of Canggu and Kuta, to Kerobokan, Denpasar and across the city to Gianyar, colorful style, with plenty of visual WOW is adorning the urban landscape. Its techniques range from murals, to stencil and sticker art, even installations, it’s often saturated with social political issues, dissent, or emotions and ideas about identity and life. This democratic form is being exposed where the public can enjoy its aesthetic qualities, and/or ponder the messages presented.

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Some considered it a nuisance, urban visual pollution, whether perceived as vandalism or public art, it has caught the interest of the international art world, and is even seen as a manner of beautification and urban regeneration. Recently, however street has been making its transition onto the walls of Bali’s art spaces and contemporary galleries.

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Open Friday 17th March at Sika Contemporary Gallery in Ubud, WHAT’S NEXT – A Group Art Exhibition presents a mix of street culture art that is characteristic of this burgeoning movement that’s becoming a highlight of the Indonesian contemporary urban cultural scene.

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Organized by Yogyakarta born, Ubud based multi talented Kemal Ezedine, WHAT’S NEXT features ten artists, nine CRWPX from Jakarta, aged between 24 to 45, most below 30 years. A fresh and exciting array of works on paper, canvas, wood panels, and applied directly to the gallery walls is displayed. During the exhibition the artists present an art bazaar, live graffiti displays and a workshop open to the public.

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“Ubud is well known as a place for tradition art and culture, “WHAT’S NEXT“, is a new annual program for street artists to gain experience in Ubud,” said Ezedine. “Each year it will feature different artists and workshops, along with discussions in a kind informal short residency program.”

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“Bringing the work from the streets and into the gallery space allows a different perspective, and new, often spontaneous creative opportunities,” he adds.   “We trust the artists will learn something, while gaining new knowledge on how they see Ubud as an art center.”

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WHAT’S NEXT

Continues until 20 April
Sika Contemporary Gallery

Jalan Raya Sanggingan No.88X, Ubud

opposite Bintang Supermarket

Tel: 0361 975084

Open daily 9am – 6pm

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drawing Future: Charcoal for Children 2016/17 Charity Exhibition

Creativity during opening of DRAWING FUTURE Image Richard Horstman

Cush Cush Gallery of Denpasar announced its arrival onto the Bali art scene in July 2016 with Crucible, the gallery’s collaborative exhibition with Australian designer, educator and academic Ross McLeod.

Exploring ideas of alchemical synthesis, association of natural process, and craftsmanship, McLeod’s sculptural objects were enhanced by Cush Cush Gallery’s savvy presentation – the impact was immediate. A fresh, alternative gallery, highlighted by a sound vision was born, a timely, and exciting contribution to the island’s art infrastructure.

DRAWING FUTURE opening. Image Richard Horstman

The opening of DRAWING FUTURE: Charcoal for Children 2016/17 Charity Exhibition, on Friday 24 February celebrated the culmination of Cush Cush Gallery’s first CHARCOAL FOR CHILDREN 2016/17 program. The free program is designed to empower children through art and creativity, while raising environmental awareness through the making and use of DIY charcoal as a creative tool.

Six invited artists, with the help of thirty-five volunteers from local creative communities, worked together with 103 children from various backgrounds to create the exhibited collaborative artworks. The event was officiated by the Australian Consul General, Dr Helena Studdert.

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“Charcoal For Children (CFC) is a grassroots movement that is supported by the arts, design and creative communities in Bali and Indonesia, as well as friends from overseas,” Cush Cush co founder Suriawati Qiu said. “Having traveled, and lived overseas, I have witnessed how important creative education is to our future generations. We are also concerned with the lack of emphasis in art and creativity in the local education system.”

“Cush Cush Gallery wants to highlight the importance of fostering creativity in children from an early age, within a non evaluative learning framework,” adds Suriawati’s partner, and co founder Jindee Chua. “Early and consistent exposure to the arts and creativity enhances critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills in children, as well as strengthening their self confidence.”20170226_160425

The duo met while studying at RMIT Melbourne, Australia, Jindee pursuing an architecture degree, while Suriawati was studying interior design. The love of art and creativity consolidated their relationship, and they went on to form Cush Cush Gallery, a design studio workshop in Denpasar. Their focus is upon experimenting and creating with the abundant indigenous materials, textures, techniques and traditional crafts of Bali. With an emphasis on sustainability, much of their design products are up cycled resources.

Cush Cush presented ‘Make Your Own Charcoal’ workshop in August 2016 as a part of their LagiLagi programs up-cycling production off-cuts, giving them new life and turning them into useful things for everyday life.

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Three separate CFC workshops session were conducted in September and October 2016, and the finale in January 2017. Participating artists were Wayan ‘Suklu’ Sujana, Reno Ganesha, Noella Roos, Nyoman Wijaya, Natisa Jones and Budi ‘Kabul’ Agung Kuswara. CushCush presents a year-round program of exhibitions, and will continue to grow its residency and collaboration programs, facilitating exchanges between an international community of artists, creative, and Bali.

At art exhibitions there is usually a great divide between the art works and the creative process. Rarely is the process under the spotlight. During the opening of DRAWING FUTURE, however the creative process was on display, enriched by the enthusiasm of children of all ages busily sketching, interacting, and having fun.

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Could there be another human expression more potent and satisfying for adults to witness and adore?

DRAWING CHARCOAL: Charity For Children Exhibition 2016/17

Continues through until 13 May 2017

Jl.Teuku Umar Gg. Rajawali No.1A
Denpasar 80113, Bali, Indonesia
Tel. (62) 361 484558
www.cushcushgallery.com

Words & Images: Richard Horstman