Tag Archives: Citra Sasmita

TANDA SERU! exhibition in Bali makes a bold artistic statement

Members of the public engage with paintings by Citra Sasmita during the opening of "Tanda Seru" at Uma Seminyak - Image courtesy of FutuwonderAudience members engage with paintings “Portrait of the Other, #1 & #2” by Citra Sasmita during the opening of Tanda Seru!

 

In 2017 a meeting of young Balinese women from various creative backgrounds, yet with similar visions, set out to create a cross-disciplinary platform to support and encourage women’s art activities and visual discourse. Their driving motivating question: ‘Why aren’t there many established women artists in Bali?’ The gathering set the foundations for a new art collective – Futuwonder.

In July 2018, Futuwonder announced its arrival on the Indonesian art scene by conducting a Wikilatih workshop (Wikipedia article writing) and uploading onto the World Wide Web eighteen new articles on female artists from Bali. Puan Empu Seni: Edit-a-thon was a part of a national drive, held in conjunction with Wikimedia Indonesia, to increase the amount of data on Indonesian female artists available on the Internet’s most go-to source of information – Wikipedia.

Leading Indonesian contemporary artist Arahmaiani and Tanda Seru artists during the exhibition opening at Uma Seminyak 31 March 2019 - Image courtesy FutuwonderLeading Indonesian contemporary artist Arahmaiani with Tanda Seru! artists during the opening of the exhibition at Uma Seminyak

 

Following on from their first exhibition, Masa Subur: Efek Samping, held late last year in Ubud, Futuwonder presents Tanda Seru! (Exclamation Mark) open for two weeks from 31 March at the Uma Seminyak, Bali. Officiated by Indonesia’s most prominent woman contemporary artist, Arahmaiani, and showcasing a diverse array of contemporary works by eight-woman artists, the exhibition commemorates International Woman’s Day 2019, 8 March, and Kartini Day on 21 April. Also referred to as Women’s Emancipation Day, established in 1964 by Indonesia’s founding President, Sukarno, Kartini Day is a national holiday celebrating the life of Raden Ajeng Kartini (1879-1904), Indonesia’s first feminist activist.

“Bali is a very patriarchial society with few women being represented in the art scene, especially in the museums and galleries,” said Ruth Onduko, one of the founding members of Futuwonder, along with emerging artist Citra Sasmita and graphic designer Ni Putu Sridiniari. “We intentionally invited talented young women to exhibit in Tanda Seru! especially those who make art but do not label themselves as artists,” Ruth explains. “Due to the narrow scope of today’s contemporary art world women are marginalized and few get the opportunity to exhibit their work within the fine art gallery system as their work may not follow current market trends, or may lack the necessary commercial elements.”

"Res Publica - Security Mirror for Genitalia, 2019, Ni Putu Sridiniari. Image by Richard Horstman         Res Publica: Security Mirrors for Genitalia, 2019 – Ni Putu Sridiniari

 

“Through Tanda Seru! we examine and question issues related to gender, patriarchy and sexuality – making statements about the female body, woman’s roles, and our capabilities as equals with men,” Ruth said. “We chose the exhibition title to emphasize the importance of these issues, while showing the art world (especially in Bali), that there is a lot of highly skilled female artists that are worthy to be considered as part of the larger art world.”

Dan Bunga Berkata (And the Flower Speaks) is inspired by Aria Gita Indira’s investigations into data released by Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS Statistics Indonesia) in 2017, that reveals 1 in 3 Indonesian women aged between 15 – 64 have experienced violence and, or sexual violence in their lives. Indira presents three small ‘still life’ compositions of flower arrangements on black backgrounds, some of the flowers, however, are embroidered in cotton. The cotton ‘patches’ are metaphors, symbolic icons for all the female victims of domestic violence. Journalists often use the names of flowers when referring to domestic violence survivors in their reports.

"Dan Bunga Berkata" by Aria Gita Indira Image Richard HorstmanDan Bunga Berkata (And the Flower Speaks), 2019 – Aria Gita Indira

 

Crude, yet confrontational The World Between Her Legs, 2019 and Are We There Yet by Santi Permana features women’s underwear attached to brightly colored canvases. Statements to encourage strength and enthusiasm, such as: ‘forced prostitution’, ‘sexual harassment’, ‘girls are strong’ and ‘empowered women’ complete the compositions. Questioning the patriarchal reconstruction of the body of a woman who is menstruating, worshipping, in the work place, and in marriage, Happy to Bleed #1,2&3 by Cristine Mandasari presents circular compositions with restrictive statements written upon sanitary napkins. The artist poses the question, ‘With all the restrictions, can women actualize themselves as human beings who are free and equal to men?’

Communicating about the objectification of women, layers of transparent acrylic sheets frame a collage of digital images featuring mannequins, flowers and hands in the eye-catching Mannekin, 2019, by Intan Kirana Sari (b. 1999, Denpasar, Bali). Delicate brightly colored pieces of paper are arranged into collage on a blue background in Male Reproductive System, 2019 by Irene Febry. Febry imagines what the human reproductive system may look like if it was found within the body of a man.

"Mannequin", 2019 Intan Kirana Sari - Image by Richard Horstman                               Mannekin, 2019  – Intan Kirana Sari  

 

Citra Sasmita is renowned for her descriptive paintings depicting the exploration of the female body through the suffering and pain of the wounds inflicted upon them. Portrait of the Other, #1 & #2 contrasts and balances tragedy with an unusual sense of beauty, creating strong and distinct compositions. Few Balinese artists express themselves through the medium of printmaking, Sealing the Body and Tutur Tinular by Ni Luh Pangestu Widya Sari (b. Denpasar, Bali 1991) are a departure in artistic techniques and aesthetics from the other works in the show, adding to the overall strength of Tanda Seru!

 A pair of long, silver legs protrude from a square mirror, centrally positioned between the legs another mirror, round and convex. Upon inspection of Res Publica: Security Mirrors for Genitalia, by Ni Putu Sridiniari, the observer immediately comes face-to-face with their own image. The highlight of Tanda Seru! the work is both engaging and confronting, provoking thoughts, experiences and reflections upon gender identity.

"Happy to Bleed #1,2&3" by Cristine Mandasari - Image Richard Horstman                    Happy to Bleed #1,2&3, 2019  – Cristine Mandasari

 

“People are obsessed with private matters and sexuality. The law and the public, however, control women’s freedoms and perpetuate gender inequality,” said Sridiniari, a freelance graphic designer, who rarely publically exhibits her work. “I believe contemporary art is important to negotiate politics and socio-cultural issues – discourses that highlight personal narratives and cultural identity in a larger context: the family, community and the state.”

“I’ve always wanted to work with mirrors and body parts to create an installation, so I decided to work with legs for Res Publica, because everybody is curious about sexuality, especially in this case with the direct reference to the female genitals,” she explained. “In Res Publica, the female genitalia is a treasure, yet remains a hidden mystery, that is watched by the public eye.”

"Male Reproductive System" by Irene Febry Image by Richard Horstman                     Male Reproductive System, 2019 – Irene Febry

 

Tutur Tinular, 2015 Ni Luh Pangestu Widya Sari - Image by Richard Horstman    Sealing the Body and Tutur Tinular, 2019 – Ni Luh Pangestu Widya Sari

 

 

Tanda Seru!

Open 31 March – 13 April

Uma Seminyak,

Jalan Kayi Cendana 1.

Oberoi, Seminyak, Bali

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Richard Horstman & Futuwonder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balinese artists the highlight of “Selematan Masa Depan” – an exhibition of emerging Indonesian artists in Bali

Art works by Budi Agung Kuswara - Image courtesy of Heri Pemad Bali Balinese Baroque (Discovery Toward Invention), 2018 & Time After Time (Discovery Toward Invention), 2018 by Budi Agung Kuswara

 

Presenting works by some of the finest emerging Indonesian contemporary artists over a one month period, Selematan Masa Depan (A Celebration of the Future) closed 15 January 2019 at the AB•BC Building, Bali Collection Nusa Dua, Bali.

Curators Rifky Effendy and Ignatia Nilu selected forty-seven artists from Bandung (10 artists), Yogyakarta (17) and Bali (20) who contributed a diverse array of seventy-four works in 2 and 3-dimensional forms – sketches, paintings, prints, sculptures, installations, video art and new media art. In the follow-up to the Art • Bali ‘Beyond the Myths’, the exhibition highlighted some of the talent that is currently pushing the boundaries of Indonesian contemporary art.

ART01157Exhibition view of Selematan Masa Depan (A Celebration of the Future) at the AB•BC Building, Bali Collection Nusa Dua, Bali.

 

While such exhibitions that display the contemporary artistic talent from Bali side-by-side with their counterparts from throughout Indonesia may be seen in Java, in Bali these occasions are, unfortunately, too infrequent. Importantly, this allows opportunities for young local artists, students and creatives, who have Internet connectivity and can access the ‘larger art world’, yet may not have the chances to travel outside of Bali, to personally observe some the developments and future direction of the national scene.

Opened by Bali’s new governor Wayan Koster 15 December 2018, Selematan Masa Depan is the second of a series of regular events at the AB•BC Building, which will help to define the location as one of the island’s foremost contemporary art venues, while becoming a new art and creative destination within the ITDC Nusa Dua tourism precinct. The Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) Nusa Dua is a designated location with tourism facilities and many of the island’s largest five-star resorts.

Sketches by Satya Cipta - images courtesy of the artist.                           Chinese ink sketches on paper  by Satya Cipta

 

“Balinese artists contributed some of the strongest works in the exhibition,” said well-known art critic Jean Couteau. “Especially Satya Cipta, Citra Sasmita and Budi Agung Kuswara.”

In Balinese Baroque (Discovery Toward Invention) 2018 and Time After Time (Discovery Toward Invention) 2018 by Budi Agung Kuswara, the artist experiments with the cyanotype technique, a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print onto the paper with sunlight, along with archive photos and cultural items to produce aesthetically unique, and beautiful images.

“His works are highlighted by innovative visual framing, kind of pop art, yet visually refreshing and intellectually articulated around the memory theme,” said Couteau. Budi represents the vanguard of emerging contemporary artists in Bali today.

CITRA SASMITA - METAMORPHOSIS(The Flowers of Carnage) 2018 Acrylic and Oil on Canvas, Image courtesy of the artist          Metamorphosis (The Flowers of Carnage) 2018, by Citra Sasmita

 

Satya Cipta, who has recently captured the attention of the Balinese art world with her premiere solo exhibition A Budding Talent at Ubud’s Puri Lukisan Museum late 2018, presents four beautifully balanced Chinese ink sketches on paper. Drawing is the basic fundamental of Balinese traditional art, and her combination of drawing techniques with modern gender political themes are an exciting, recent development on the Bali art scene. “Satya’s wild exploration of a woman’s demand for control over her own body is formulated in a revamped, imaginative post-traditional line style similar to Gusti Lempad,” said Couteau.

Metamorphosis (The Flowers of Carnage) 2018, by Citra Sasmita, in her characteristic style of minimal iconography, also ‘speaks’ of gender politics, while communicating through an array of symbols. “In my new painting I adopt nature and nurturing symbols such as stone, cactus, a knife and scissors, a placenta and cloth with gold rose patterns,” Citra said. “I want to visualize to the current generation that they should be aware of, and protect their roots and traditions, for the benefit of the next generation. The future will mean nothing if the next generation do not have any idea about their past and history, and also the philosophies.”

ART01117Exhibition view of Selematan Masa Depan (A Celebration of the Future) at the AB•BC Building, Bali Collection Nusa Dua, Bali.

 

“Citra’s painting is a highlight because she explores and denounces macho vocabulary, and for her feminist statement,” Couteau said.

Selamatan Masa Depan enjoyed increased attendance numbers than the Art • Bali 2018 event because of the tourist high season, and more international and domestic visitors and locals visiting the venue,” said Army Firmansyah, one of the board members of Art • Bali and the AB•BC Building, part of the Heri Pemad Art Management Bali Team.

“Located in the Bali Collection shopping area many visitors see the sculptors and installations outside of the AB•BC Building, become curious and come in. Attendance numbers are important to us because the ticketed entry has to support our event operation costs.”

Putu Wirantawan - "Dimensi Dualitas" - pencil bollpoint on paper (115x141 cm) 2018Putu Wirantawan -Dimensi Dualitas, 2018 – pencil bollpoint on paper by Balinese artist Putu Wirantawan

 

“The idea of contemporary art and creative events as a tourism attraction is new to this area and while foreign tourists are happy to pay entry fees, we have to help change the mind-set and behaviour of domestic visitors to go alternative ticketed cultural events, rather than recreational venues and movies, for example.”

“The management of the AB•BC Building have many challenges to engage with in building the brand of this multifaceted creative space – inclusive within the Bekraf (Agency for Creative Economy Indonesia) vision for the development of the Indonesian creative economy that includes cuisine, design, architecture, and art themed events.”

“As for up coming events in 2019, we are now in progress of preparing 3 shows (including ART • BALI 2019 in October) which will be produced by HPAM. Those shows are in addition to one art exhibition that we are still in discussions with the organizer” he adds.

ART01246Exhibition view of Selematan Masa Depan (A Celebration of the Future) at the AB•BC Building, Bali Collection Nusa Dua, Bali.

 

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Words: Richard Horstman

Images courtesy: Heri Pemad Art Management Bali Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

empowering Balinese woman artists – FUTUWONDER

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

https://futuwonder.wordpress.com/

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

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Coutesy of Futuwonder

Citra Sasmita captures the Indonesian contemporary art spotlight

Citra Sasmita - "Torment" Image by R. Horstman                                       Torment – Citra Sasmita

 

The most significant display of contemporary art on the island during 2015 featured many of Bali’s finest artists exhibiting side-by-side with emerging talent. Violent Bali – Bali Art Intervention #1, opened at the Tony Raka Art Gallery, Ubud in November presenting eighty-five works raising issues such as identity, gender and cultural conflicts, and the New Order regime and the mass killing of 1965-66, among others.

One painting, however, stood alone for its pure economy of means. Distinguished by a balanced composition, minimal coloration and arresting imagery, the visual impact was immediate. Matching technical prowess with the controversial subject matter, the work’s essentials were complete. Torment by Citra Sasmita, one of only three exhibiting women, captivated the audience. The bold, yet disturbing narrative depicted a naked woman holding and kissing the snout of severed pigs head as blood drips from the pig, and the woman’s mouth. It ‘spoke’ of the psychological and physical abuse of women within the patriarchal Balinese society. Torment’s daring and aesthetic simplicity revealed Sasmita as an extraordinary young talent.

Citra Sasmita "Mea Vulva Maxima Vulva" 2016 Ceramic & mixed media Image richard Horstman                      Mea Vulva Maxima Vulva – Citra Sasmita

“You want to be an artist: you want to live poor?” was Sasmita’s fathers’ reaction upon learning that his daughter wanted to study fine art. Born in 1990 in Tabanan, Central Bali, as a child she had a passion for creative expression, and was destined to follow her heart. In conflict with her parents about her vocation, she studied literature and physics to appease them. While at university in Singaraja she joined a theater group that inspired her love of art and literature. Sasmita began painting secretly, without her parent’s knowledge, eventually exhibiting in a small community event in 2012.

“A journalist from the Bali Post newspaper wrote about the exhibition, and my parents read the review. At first, they disagreed,” Sasmita said. “Yet upon their final wishes, they consented, and then gave me their approval for my art career. I have always reflected upon this,” and she adds. “Without their blessing, it seemed impossible to survive in the challenging and highly competitive world of art.”

Citra Sasmita, third from the left, at the UOB Painting of the Year Award CeremonyCitra Sasmita (third from the left) during the UOB Painting of the Year Indonesia award ceremony, Jakarta, October 2017

After the exhibition, Sasmita was hired as an illustrator for short stories at the Bali Post. “Working at the Bali Post allowed me to investigate literature and symbolic forms that I began to adopt into my works. Art became the vehicle through which I could question my position as a Balinese woman.”

Promising to be the most important exhibition of the 2016 Bali art calendar Merayakan Murni (Celebrating Murni) ran mid-year at Sudakara Art Space, Sanur. Contextualizing the relevance, along with celebrating the legacy of iconic female Balinese artist I GAK Murniasih (1966-2006), the exhibition brought together the work of Murni along with 15 other local and international invitees. Sasmita’s installation Mea Vulva, Maxima Vulva, presented fifty small ceramic vaginas within a set of large out of balance scales, her reflection upon Balinese social class distinctions. Again she captured the audience’s imagination, while the critics paid due attention.

Old Mountain and Imaginary Pilars, 160 cm x 120 cm, mix media on canvas, 2017        Old Mountain and Imaginary Pillars – Citra’s UOB Gold Award painting

Even though Sasmita had entered many art competitions, success had always eluded her. “I became cynical, unless you were from one of the art and cultural capitals of Java, like Yogyakarta, Bandung or Jakarta, it was difficult to win a national competition,” she explained. In October 2017, however, her composition Old Mountain and Imaginary Pillars was honored with the prestigious Gold Award of the UOB Indonesian Painting of the Year 2017 competition, thrusting her into the national spotlight, while confirming her presence in the Indonesian contemporary art world.

“I have always doubted my chances in the UOB, last year, however, was my first submission,” Sasmita said. “In my concept, I wrote whole-heartedly about the plight of women in the Indonesian art world, and about the struggle against gender bias and sexism, and that there are few opportunities for women to speak up through their art.”

Sasmita has chosen her ideology not only as a criticism, yet she endeavors to inspire empathy for those who are confronted with these social issues. “It means a lot to me to achieve recognition from people who have not been willing to listen to my artistic ‘voice’, and in some ways disrespect women in Indonesian art,” Sasmita said. “Winning this competition is a great thrill, I understand, however, that I must remain humble and focused on my learning journey.”

12697353_896845307096369_7827360737894318145_o                              Birth of Nothingness – Citra Sasmita

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Citra Sasmita & Richard Horstman

The Bali Art Scene 2016: The Final Six Months Overview

15878100_120300001416662373_1113857188_oBudi Agung Kuswara with patient from Rumah Berdaya, a community based psycho-social rehabilitation center utilizing art as a tool for creative solutions.

 

The concluding six months of events on the 2016 Bali art calendar were exceptionally busy; the following are some of the highlights of the closing half of the year:

In late May contemporary artist Budi Agung Kuswara, co-founder of Ketemu Project Space, began his special art project in Denpasar, co facilitated by a professional psychiatrist at “Rumah Berdaya”, a community based psycho-social rehabilitation center utilizing art as a tool for creative solutions. The project continued throughout the year providing activities for people with schizophrenia to encourage social interactions through art making, productivity and independence while expressing their ideas and thinking.

Skizofriends Art Movement will be an ongoing program following on from the success of Budi and colleague’s lobbying of the Denpasar Government to become supporters. In 2017 it will become a part of the Denpasar City Department Health Care Program, while Skizofriends Art Movement was involved in activities at the Denpasar Festival 2016 28-31 December at Lapangan Puputan, Denpasar.   Budi must be congratulated on this initiative aimed at empowering individuals and building community through engaging the public through the potent creative forces of art.

made-valasaraValasara’s Konstruksi semesta, semesta yang teralienasi menpertanyakan kediriannya dalam ekspresi tunggal.

Made Valasara made a conspicuous presence during ArtJog 9’s Universal Influence 27 May opening at the Jogja National Museum in Yogyakarta, Central Java. Being the only Bali based Balinese artist invited to exhibit his work was both an honour and an excellent opportunity for exposure to large national and international audiences. Valasara’s installation, konstruksi semesta, semesta yang teralienasi menpertanyakan kediriannya dalam ekspresi tunggal, a series of 25 individual works of various sizes, overall dimensions of 230 x 520cm stood out for its originality.

Adopting the canvas as a standalone medium, along with sewing techniques, he layers and fills the canvas to create 3 dimensional embossed and debossed compositions. His small white figures, presented behind glass revealed his evolving technique with the innovation of his debossed works. Valasara’s attention to narrative development too, revealed an engaging Balinese narrative.

widyantara-i-gede-late-hero-115-x-81-cm-acrylic-on-canvas-2015Gede Widyantara’s Last Hero 2016 which may be viewed upside down to reveal a demonic face.

Traces Under the Surface: Batuan Painting Exhibition, 3 June -31 July at TiTian Art Space, Ubud explored artistic lineage that evolved in the renowned village of traditional painting, Batuan. The exhibition focussed upon the teacher/student relationship following on from Nyoman Ngendon (1906-1946), a multi talented artist and innovator who experimented with perspectives, creating “unreal” 3 dimensionality within the early rigid framework of the Batuan paintings. Ngendon’s great distinction was that he believed in sharing his techniques, while persuading his students to break with traditions and become art innovators themselves.

Traces Under the Surface featured the lineage of Wayan Taweng (1922-2004) who learned to paint primarily from Ngendon, beginning at the age of eight, and later teaching his sons Ketut Sadia (b.1966), Wayan Diana (b.1977) and Made Griyawan (b.1979), along with others. Paintings by the fore mentioned Balinese artists, and Taweng’s grandson Gede Widyantara (b.1984) proved to be some of the finest examples of the Batuan genre and its process of innovation. Widyantara’s talent, that belies his age, reveals that the future of Batuan painting will indeed by exciting.

imhatthai-suwwathanasilp-murnis-temple-mixed-media-human-hair-thread-wood-glue-31-x-18-x-10-cm-image-courtesy-of-ketemu-project-spaceSleeping Murni by Thai artist Imhathai Suwatthanaslip, made with Murni’s hair.

A unique, palpable buzz welcomed the opening of Merayakan Murni (Celebrating Murni) 16 July at Sudakara Art Space, Sanur. The project, which gathered local and regional artists to create works in response to the legacy of the iconic female Balinese artist I GAK Murniasih (1966-2006) “Murni” proved to be one of the most anticipated Bali art events of recent history. Some of the highlights were works by artists Illa from Singapore, renowned Dutch “Indonesian” artist Mella Jaarsma, Imhathai Suwatthanaslip from Thailand, along with Punia Atmaja and Citra Sasmita from Bali.

Murni was an artist of rare quality, unequalled in Indonesia at least. Along with such reverence comes great emotional attachment to the artist by her many friends and admirers, the exhibition therefore was not without critics. Some critics stated the Sudakara venue was too small and the exhibition included too many international artists, and as a consequence failed grant enough space in order for Murni’s ouvre to be fully appreciated by the audience, many of which had yet to be exposed to her work.

Others thought the exhibition overly ambitious, attempting to achieve too much, too soon, while the film about Murni could have represented a more positive theme. Event organizers Ketemu Project Space, along with their young and energetic team proved, however that their presence on the Bali art scene is indeed exciting, with enormous, yet to be realized potential.

20160703_112528                            At The Point of View#4 – Radwin Nurlatif

At The Point of View opened Friday 1 July at Santrian Gallery Sanur, with Radwin Nurlatif presenting one of the most outstanding photography exhibitions of 2016. Curated by Rifky Effendy, the exhibition captivated not only for its high standards of technical quality and presentation of superbly beautiful aesthetic and conceptual images (giclée prints on Hahnemühle photo rag ultra smooth 305 gsm), yet in the simplicity of some of the digital images that wonderfully contrasted women with nature, or women in surreal compositions.

kemal-ezedine-2016-asj-image-richard-horstmanKemal Ezedine was represented by Edwin’s Gallery Jakarta at Art Stage Jakarta 2016

The presence of Balinese artists at Indonesia’s two international art fairs held in Jakarta, Art Stage Jakarta 5-7 August & Bazaar Art Jakarta 2016 25-28 August help to consolidate Bali’s growing presence on the Indonesian art world, which during recent years has tended to be dominated by artists from Java and West Sumatra. While Art Stage, among its hundreds of exhibitors featured only three Indonesian Bali based artists, Agung Mangu Putra, Made Valasara and Kemal Ezedine (along with Ashley Bickerton), Bazaar Art Jakarta, on the other hand featured the work of 13 artists.

From the traditional genre was Nyoman Meja (b. 1950, Ubud), others artists present were Nyoman Gunarsa, Made Wianta, Nyoman Erawan, Agung Mangu Putra, Gede Mahendra Yasa, Wayan Kun Adnyana, Teja Astawa, Kemal Ezedine, Ketut Moniarta, Tang Adiawan, Putu Wirantawan, Wayan Mandiyasa and Ketut Sumadi. Erawan’s installation at the Mon Décor Art One booth provided a strong contrast to what was on display at the fair, while being deeply engaging.

mangu-putra-pura-puncak-mangu-2016-oil-on-canvas-200x300cm                Pura Puncak Mangu 2016 – Agung Mangu Putra

Paskal Gallery’s acute eye for display, allowing attendees from a distance to be captured by the alluring and mysterious qualities of the 190 x 290 cm oil on canvas composition Pura Puncak Mangu, by Agung Mangu Putra confirmed why he is regarded as one of Indonesia’s most respected painters. His scene of a group of Balinese people praying at the remote mountain top temple in Buleleng was one of the highlights of Bazaar Art. The Neo Pitamaha collective made a strong presence at Bazaar Art with works exhibited by four artists and Jakarta’s Edwin’s Gallery confirmed their confidence in Kemal Ezedine by dedicating their entire booth at both fairs to the Ubud resident artist.

Sanur based Swedish painter Richard Winkler, also present at both fairs represented by Zola Zulu Gallery of Bandung, also enjoyed strong sales with his eye-catching and technically brilliant ‘utopian Bali’ compositions. Sotheby’s presented contemporary works by Mangu Putra and Mahendra Yasa in the preview of their Hong Kong Autumn Sale, while Sidharta Auctioneers presented Gunarsa and Meja, and ISA Art Advisory presented modern works by Arie Smit (1919-2016) and Adrian Le Mayeur (1880-1958).

ida-bagus-made-nadera-fajar-mengjingsing-1949                   Ida Bagus Made Nadera – Fadjar Mengjingsing 1945

A landmark event in the history of Indonesian modern art, held from 2 – 30 August at Jakarta’s National Gallery of Indonesia was 17/71, Goresan Juang Kemerdekaan (Brushstrokes of the Independence Struggle). Presenting 28 paintings from the collection (over 3000 works) assembled by Indonesia’s founding father President Sukarno the exhibition was opened on August 17th, on the 71st anniversary of the proclamation of independence by the Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Ida Bagus Made Nadera’s (1912-1988) beautiful 188 x 300 cm modern traditional composition Fadjar Mengjingsing made a special presence, along with works by Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet in an exhibition featuring scenes of the independence struggle by Indonesian maestros such as Affandi, Sudjojono and Srihadi alongside pictures of iconic Indonesia.

20160827_191628                                                  Arie Smit (1916-2016)

During the 27 August seminar at Ubud’s Neka Art Museum, a gathering of over 100 members of the Balinese art community, and distinguished guests Suteja Neka and Agung Rai, and paid homage to the legacy of the Dutch post-modern colourist Arie Smit (1916-2016). The iconic painter, who left a distinguished mark in the history of art in the region, passed away 23 March, only days short of his 100th birthday.

Renowned for his vibrant landscape paintings and scenes of Balinese village life Smit is a much-loved artist; his work forms part of collections in Indonesia, and throughout the world.

He started teaching painting to young boys in the village of Penestanan in 1960, beginning the “Young Artists Style”, while at its height there were more than 300 practitioners. He helped transform the village, and prosper economically, being both an art teacher and a father figure to the village. Smit’s passing is a monumental loss to the canon of Southeast Asian art, while the Young Artist Style is one of the most exciting developments in Balinese art in the later half of the 20th Century.

made-wianta-receives-the-award-from-bali-governor-mangu-pastikaMade Wianta receives the Bali Mandara Parama Nugraha 2016 Award from the Governor Mangku Pastika.

A special 30 August ceremony at Taman Budaya Cultural Center Denpasar by the Bali Government honoured local figures who have made important contributions to Bali. An icon of Bali contemporary art, internationally renowned, Made Wianta (b. 1949, Tabanan) received the Bali Mandara Parama Nugraha 2016 Award from the Governor Mangku Pastika in highest appreciation of promoting Bali through contemporary art.

14642015_1359257894086482_2982552466485278854_n

Often overshadowed by the southern regencies of Gianyar, Badung and Tabanan, Buleleng is not only home to a unique Balinese art history (Van Der Tuuk in 1845 and his commissioning of Balinese artists work for his research into the first dictionary of the Balinese language), yet a community of talented artists. Exhibitions by artists from Buleleng are held annually in the southern regencies, and on 22 October Qilin – Membaca Social Budaya Warga Pecinan Kota Singaraja (Socio-cultural readings of Singaraja’s Chinatown Residents) opened at Neka Art Museum in Ubud, and continued for one month.

Based upon curatorial research led by Hardiman, from the Art Department of UNDISKHA University in Singaraja, along with his young team of Made Susanta Dwitanaya, Dewa Gede Purwita, Ketut Wisana Ariyanto and Gede Panca Gautama, into the culture of the Chinese Tionghoa community, the group exhibition delved into spiritual and religious practises, artefacts and there traces, stories from their literature, and portraits of figures from the community. Of the many highlights were the eight collective works, including Spreading Qilin, an installation of terracotta Chinese dragon characters.

20161023_161947A Brutal Contrast of Concrete and Kamasan Painting combined street art along with paintings from selected emerging local talent from Batuan, Ubud, Tabanan and Denpasar.

Cahyendra Putra and the Neo Pitamaha Invite You To: A Brutal Contrast of Concrete and Kamasan Painting opened 23 October will be recorded in the annals of Balinese art history. The outsider exhibition, which in many ways was noteworthy, was underpinned by a long-awaited and fresh approach to presenting art in Ubud, outside of the conventional gallery, art space and museum format.

This collaborative project, organized by Kemal Ezedine, features street art by artists from Bali & Jakarta, along with paintings from selected emerging local talent from Batuan, Ubud, Tabanan and Denpasar. Set within the gutted interior of a building, twenty young artists revealed their interpretation of the famous Bali 1930’s Pita Maha artist’s association in dynamic contemporary art that challenges the establishment. Highlights included works by Wayan Budiarta, Wayan Aris Sumanta and street artists Ego, Saf, Ola, and Slinart.

20160817_111722                                      Bali LandscapesWillem Kerseboom

Bali Landscapes by Dutch painter Willem Kerseboom opened at TiTian Art Space, Ubud 28 October (continuing until late January 2017). Kerseboom, who shares his time between Holland/Belgium and his home North Bali presented acrylic landscape compositions of a rare quality. His imaginary, abstract snapshots, are deeply engaging, while being a fine creative contribution to the long line of Dutch artists who have been inspired by Bali.

jiri-kudrna-light-plane-photography                             Light Plain Photographs – Jiri Kudrna

Ubud based Swiss engineer and software developer Jiri Kudrna, a pioneer in experimental photography has made major contributions to the development of contemporary photography. Kudrna’s contributions to Age of Photography #2, open 15 – 28 November at the National Gallery of Indonesia, Jakarta were from his inventions that created Light Plain Photographs (LPP), and his three interactive installations, Space – Time Variations.

 LPP’s are fantastic images using a plain of light and a camera to record photographs with unique optic effects – a fusion of the four-time space dimensions – while the subject is housed within a dark room and participates within their own unique photographic procedure. Kudrna’s Space – Time Variations were very popular with exhibition audience who created over 1800 pictures in four days, and were also able to upload the images onto social media platforms.

Power Playing works by Arum & Ida Adi.jpg                      Power Playing – Images by Arum & Ida Adi at Lingkara

Lingkara Photography Community of Denpasar is an alternative platform for contemporary photographers in Bali. Over recent years Lingkara have presented a range of quality collaborative exhibitions and events. Driven by a small core group of dedicated artists Lingkara not only strive to support the collective, yet seek out professional opportunities by engaging with and representing artists via product development and management.

Power Playing opened 20 November presenting mostly large-scale works by Candra Mpu Glimblond, Christina Arum, Ida Adi, Ismail Ilmi, Rudi Waisnawa and S.R. Awy. While the artists individual techniques involved varying processes, such as re printing images, painting, collage with the help of additional tools, mirrors, candles and magnifying tools to make impressions, the final large-scale results which were applied to the walls were a single photograph without digital enhancement. Lingkara are making important contributions to the development of contemporary photography in Bali and Power Playing was a very strong collective showing, while Arum’s technically labor intensive work was one of the highlights.

mangu-putra-2016-puputan-badung-the-fall-of-badung-kingdom-2-oil-on-canvas-370-x-150-cm         Puputan Badung 1906 (The Fall of Badung Kingdom # 1) – Agung Mangu Putra

Agung Mangu Putra: Between History and the Quotidian ran from 25 November – 12 December at Singapore’s Gajah Gallery. Mangu Putra continues his research into critical Dutch colonial events that shaped Indonesian and Balinese history. Highlights were Puputan Badung 1906 (The Fall of Badung Kingdom # 1& 2) 2016 & 2014, compositions pieced together from archival accounts and images into enormous paintings up 370 x 1590 cm in size. The works reveal the story of the Dutch colonial army’s confrontation with the Kingdom of Badung in Kesiman, Denpasar in 1906 that resulted in the tragic puputan event (act of ritual suicide).

Mangu Putra’s investigation into these events are important because these events occurred during a crucial era of the nation’s history and theses events without more historical examination may become historical myths.

20170103_170338                     Ashley Bickerton‘s sculptures at Follow the White Cube

The Pop-Up gallery concept is new to Ubud, Bali and was successfully adopted by Honold Fine Art twice in 2016. Follow the White Cube opened 26 November at Italian artist Filippo Sciascia’s studio in Nyuh Kuning. The exhibition featured work by artists Jumaldi Alfi, Marco Cassani, Ashley Bickerton, Fendry Ekel, Bepi Ghiotti, Yusra Mantunus, Narcisse Tordior and Filippo Sciascia.

Set within a ‘white cube’ display areas that lent well to strong, yet conventional viewing experience, the works ranged from paintings through to sculpture, installation and video art presented exciting contrasts. While the spontaneity of the Pop-Up concept is a fresh and much-needed addition to the Ubud art scene.

doors-of-perception-made-aswino-aji                              Doors of Perception 2016 – Made Aji Aswino

CROSSING: Beyond Baliseering presented some of the finest emerging contemporary artist from Bali at Forty-Five Downstairs Gallery, Melbourne, Australia, open 6 December. Reflecting upon Bali’s visual and social culture while exploring themes of personal life experiences, environmental, social and political issues in the contemporary society, the exhibition showcased paintings, photography, sculptures, and large-scale installations.

In the most important international group showing of Balinese contemporary art outside of Indonesia that featured Art of Whatever, Made Aji Aswino, Budi Agung Kuswara, Citra Sasmita, Kemal Ezedine, Made ‘Dalbo’ Suarimbawa, Natisa Jones, Slinat, Made Valasara, Wayan Upadana and Yoesoef Olla, highlights included Aswino Aji’s monumental two-sided wood craving installation, Doors of Perception 2016, 250 x 300 x 80 cm, a representation of a candi (traditional Balinese temple entry), along with works by‘Dalbo’ Suarimbawa, Upadana, Slinart and Citra Sasmita.

5-kasper-x-nedsone-teges-ubud                                 Lukas Kasper& Nedsone at work during Way Up

Bali’s ever evolving street art movement is increasingly discovering new sights to enliven along the streets of urban Denpasar and within the villages of the Badung and Gianyar Regencies. Way UpStreet Art Collaboration Project initiated by Cata Odata, Allcapsstore and Lukas Kasper began in November 2016 and will continue through until the end of January 2017.

The project was born through the meeting of Cata Odata and Australian artist Lukas Kasper beginning with the idea to contribute vibrantly to Ubud’s street areas and to collaborate with nine street artists from Bali on 20 walls. Local artists include Nedsone, Kmis3, Lezart, Slinat, Yapstwo, Sleeck, and 1escv. The event included the Way Up online map on the website and the 17 December Spray Jam workshop, and Kelas Belajar sharing session 18 December at Cata Odat, and the #UbudScavengerHunt. 17 December through 11 January which will include a prize to the winner.

http://way-up.cataodata.com/follow-the-map.html

putu-wirantawan-2016                  Contemporary Art from Bali – Installation by Putu Wirantawan 2016

Contemporary Art from Bali opened 15 December at LAF (Langgeng Art Foundation) Yogyakarta, and continues through until 31 January 2017. Curated by Rifky Effendy and Gede Mahendra Yasa the show featured some of the finest contemporary artists currently working in Bali, foreigners, Indonesians and Balinese: Ketut Susena, Ketut Samadi, Made Aswino Aji, Teja Astawa, Natisa Jones, Wayan Mandiyasa, Ketut Suwidiarta, Putu Wirantawan, Ashley Bickerton, Marco Cassani, Filippo Sciascia, Ketut Moniarta, Kemal Ezedine, Wayan Upadana, Made Valasara and Rodney Glick.

Overshadowed by the traditional art scene, and often overlooked within the context of the Indonesian art world contemporary art and the art infrastructure is on the rise in Bali. Making an important statement within the context of Indonesian contemporary art, in the Javanese cultural and creative heartland with its ever-evolving art infrastructure and eco system, this exhibition is the most important collective showing of contemporary art from Bali held in Indonesia in 2016.

20161230_175209                        Inside of Being  – Installation by Pande Ketut Taman 2016

The 30 December opening at the Tony Raka Art Gallery punctuated the end of 2016 and friendship and creative achievement by four Balinese contemporary artists, alumni of the Indonesian Art Insititue SI Yogyakarta. Inside of Being highlighted the talents of Putu Sutawijaya, Made Sumadiyasa, Made Mahendra Mangku & Pande Ketut Taman, artists who have shared friendships for over 30 years, while at the same time during their individual careers making significant contributions to the development of Balinese art. The exhibition, which includes paintings, both small and large-scale, and installations will continue through until 30 January, including an Artist’s Talk from 3pm 5 January at Tony Raka Art Gallery.

Such a report would not be fully complete without highlighting the stoic efforts of Warih Witsatsana and his small army of dedicated assistants at the Bentara Budaya Bali Cultural Center. Their consistent weekly programs throughout the year are a shining light in the support and development of Bali’s thriving creative culture.

With an emphasis upon education via lectures, discussions, presentations and hands on workshops, especially for the younger generations, Bentara Budaya’s one of a kind model is an inspiration to other aspiring art and cultural facilities on the island. 2016’s broad range of events, including numerous collaborations with international artists, institutes, and organizations highlights their open platform to global cultural expressions, while underlining Bali’s internationally renowned welcoming attitude to foreign cultures and creative expressions.

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Richard Horstman & various photographers

 

 

 

 

CROSSING: Beyond Baliseering

20161206_173640
Narasi Menunngu Lahiran (The Anticipation of Giving Birth) 2016 –  Made ‘Dalbo’ Suarimbawa, in the foreground, background: The Fireflies #1 2016 – Budi Agung Kuswara

 

Bali holds a special place within the hearts of many Australians and while Balinese traditional art has long been recognized as an international icon, Australian audiences however, know little, or nothing about contemporary art from Bali.

As a platform for understanding contemporary Balinese and Indonesian culture, and maintaining a cultural bridge between Indonesia and Australia, Crossing: Beyond Baliseering, a group showing of emerging contemporary artists from Bali opened 6 December at FortyFive Downstairs Gallery in Melbourne.

doors-of-perception-made-aswino-aji                                  Doors of Perception 2016 –  Made Aswino Aji

Crossing: Beyond Baliseering reflects upon Bali’s visual and social culture while exploring themes of personal life experiences, environmental, social and political issues in the contemporary society, showcasing a range of paintings, photography, sculptures, and large-scale installations by some of the finest artists in Bali.

Presented by Project 11 as part of Multicultural Arts Victoria’s Asian contemporary arts festival Mapping Melbourne 2016, the exhibition features work by Art of Whatever, Made Aji Aswino, Budi Agung Kuswara, Citra Sasmita, Kemal Ezedine, Made ‘Dalbo’ Suarimbawa, Natisa Jones, Slinat, Made Valasara, Wayan Upadana and Yoesoef Olla.

20160913_121758                                 Let’s Play Series #2 2016  – YoesoefOlla

The policy of ‘Baliseering’ was first introduced in the 1920’s by the Dutch colonial government to train locals to continue the traditional arts of dance, theater, painting, sculpture and literature. Visually, this meant that art portrayed scenes of the Balinese in cultural activities and ‘authentic’ settings that became fastened in the Balinese art identity through the media and tourism.

Attended by members of Melbourne’s Indonesian community along with the local art community, FortyFive Downstairs Gallery, situated in the inner city gallery precinct, was full with enthusiastic art lovers during the opening.  While warmly welcoming the foreign artist’s, many of the audience engaged deeply with both the artists and their artworks.

20161206_171049                                 Mea Vulva, Maxima Vulva 2016  –  Citra Sasmita’s

Made Aji Aswino is an avid critic of Indonesian and Balinese society, focusing especially upon the pitfalls of the human ego. Aji exhibited a monumental two-sided wood craving installation, Doors of Perception 2016, 250 x 300 x 80 cm, a representation of a candi (traditional Balinese temple entry). The outside of the entry features craved figurines and faces of ego monsters, along with typical iconography to be found in Balinese wood cravings.

Vibrantly painted figures adorn the work with long conical noses echoing a Pinocchio-like-character – a reflection on the pretensions and lies of everyday society the artist witnesses. The dynamic colors of the outside of the entrance represent varieties of ‘disorderly’ personalities, while the inner side of Doors of Perception reflects duality, painted in subdued monochrome representing the ‘peaceful’ personalities.

baliseering-kemal-ezedine                                         Baliseering 2016 – KemalEzedine

Kemal Ezedine presents Baliseering 2016, 180x 300 cm, a mixed media narration about the influence of the Dutch Colonial government in shaping the political identity of Bali. His colorful mixed media work  combines and layers the techniques of a traditional Indonesian painting method adapted from European practices alia prima, or the direct painting technique, with graphic techniques inspired by Balinese scared drawings, and Indonesian social realism art. The results are a dynamic composition layered with technical and philosophical meanings.

One of Bali’s most well-known emerging artists Wayan Upadana exhibited three excellent works, Globalisation Euphoria 2010 features a chocolate covered Rangda reclining in a white bath tub, while Glo(BABI)sation 2013 a chocolate coated pig relaxing in a modern kitchen sink. Si Gendut Pencari Tuhan (Fatty the God Seeker) 2013 on the other hand features a Barong masks attached to a fat naked body sitting in the lotus position. Upadana makes critical social references while adapting icons of the Balinese culture in his polyester resin works that are technically and conceptually strong.

20161206_171301           Si Gendut Pencari Tuhan (Fatty the God Seeker) 2013 – Wayan Upadana

Two dimensional works featuring contrasting images of iconic Bali are presented by Budi Agung Kuswara, The Fireflies # 1&2, 2016, Golden Farmer, 2016, both cyanotype (photogram) and pigment prints on archival paper provide strong aesthetic impacts while being interesting departures in media adaptation and technical skills. Natisa Jones exhibits two engaging abstract figurative compositions that reflect on identity, while Made Valasara presents his signature canvas relief works that break with the conventions of Balinese traditional painting.

 Pantaggruelisme 2016 utilizes polyethylene terephthalate stuffed in canvas, while in The True Portion of David 2014 Valasara uses laminated canvas. Adopting the canvas as a standalone medium, along with sewing techniques, he layers and fills the canvas to create 3 dimensional embossed, or as in The True Portion of David debossed compositions.

20161206_172001                                 The True Portion of David 2014 – Valasara

Art of Whatever’s Everyday is Sunday 2016 invites people to sit, relax and reflect upon his functional art creation.  The colorful three meter couch shaped into a reclining figure with tentacles for a head, along with matching helmets were popular with the audience, many opting to loll and engage in the light-hearted art experience.

Yoeseof Olla Let’s Play Series # 1,2&3 2016, features three leather wall hangings, compositions in permanent marker that combine pop and street art imagery that parodies the popular international perception of Islam and the burqa wearing Muslim women.

One of the strongest works in the exhibition is Narasi Menunngu Lahiran (The Anticipation of Giving Birth) 2016, a sculptural mother and child representation by Made ‘Dalbo’ Suarimbawa. During recent years Dalbo has been experimenting with paper upon his two-dimensional compositions, Narasi Menunngu Lahiran however reveals his greater commitment to technical skill and concept in this enthralling installation that reveals incredible attention to details and defines him as an artist of unique talent.

20160911_160047                                 Everyday is Sunday 2016  – Art of Whatever

Citra Sasmita’s works make strong statements about gender politics within the patriarchal Balinese society. Always confronting, Citra exhibits three works, two paintings and one installation, Mea Vulva, Maxima Vulva 2016 that features ceramic vagina’s within a set of scales and comments upon social class distinctions.

Street artist Slinat (Silly in Art) presents a poignant and intriguing installation Ironic, Ironic Island 2016 that features his signature gas masked figures upon wooden windows and doors adopting imagery from iconic paintings by Abdul Aziz. He contrasts Bali’s exotic and peaceful international tourism marketing identity with current social and economic issues that are currently confronting the people of Bali.

20161206_173918                                   Ironic, Ironic Island 2016 – Slinat

Crossing: Beyond Baliseering

Continues through 17 December 2016,

FortyFive Downstairs Gallery

45 Flinder’s Lane, Melbourne.

Open: Tuesday – Friday 11am – 5pm

Saturday 12pm – 4pm

+613 9662 9966

20161206_170438                                    Sitting at Home 2014 – Natisa Jones

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

“Merayakan Murni” – Celebrating Indonesia’s Most Important Woman Artist

I GAK MURNIASIH - SEDANG ACTION - AOC - 100 x 100cm - 2003                                                 “Sedang Action” – Murni

Promising to be the most important exhibition of the 2016 Bali art calendar “Merayakan Murni” (Celebrating Murni) opened 16 July at Sudakara Art Space, Sanur. Contextualizing the relevance, and celebrating the legacy of female Balinese artist I GAK Murniasih (1966-2006) who this July would have turned 50; the exhibition brings together the work of Murni along with 15 other local and international artists.

I GAK MURNIASIH- BENDERA KEMENANGAN- AOC-71 X 71 cm - 2003                                           “Bendera Kemenangan” – Murni

An enormous project that from the conceptualization to the inception of a series of pre event “gatherings” late in 2015 consumed the passage of 2 years, Merayakan Murni’s has been successful due to community engagement. Organized by Ketemu Project Space – a new art facility in Bali under the special advisory committee of regional art maverick Valentine Willie, historian and art critic Jean Couteau and Murni’s life partner, Italian artist Mondo Zanolini – the exhibition is supported by a series of discussions and workshops, and closes 18th September.

"Pure Passion" (For Murni) Mella Jaarsma, mixed media & Mondo Zannolini , Murni's life partner. Image Richard Horstman                            “Pure Passion” (For Murni) – Mella Jaarsma

For collectors this exhibition offers opportunities to purchase some outstanding contemporary artworks by the invited artists in the genres of painting, installations, video and photography. Including “outsider” artworks by Murni’s contemporaries Putu Dewa Mokoh (1934-2010) and Oototol (1942-?), along with 50 works by Murni, the sale of Murni’s works being a 70-30 split, 70% going into the conserving and building of Murni’s archives.

IMHATTHAI SUWWATHANASILP - "MURNI'S TEMPLE" - MIXED MEDIA (human hair, thread, wood, glue) - 31 X 18 X 10 CM Image courtesy of Ketemu Project Space                          “Murni’s Temple” –  Imhathai Suwatthanaslip

Speaking” on local and global issues, gender politics, and the language of the sub conscious mind; Murni’s outsider art is confrontational and daring, yet electrifying as well. “Murni’s artworks have the power to start conversations on topics critical to our society,” said co-founder of Ketemu Samantha Tio. “Our goal is to enable artists in the local and international community to give a voice to these subjects, so that they in turn can generate diverse perspectives and inspire their own social circles.”

Punia Atmaja Installation. 2016                                   “Satelit Purba” –  Punia Atamaja

Explicit and naïve, even violent Murni’s visual language evolved through her search for identity and reconciliation with her traumatic past. Suffering from the recollection of being raped by her own father, as well as other experiences of womanhood her compositions are an exploration into her sexuality and biographic fantasies.

“For Murni art as a therapy, art as a diary, art as a retelling of a personal history, not in a narrative but picking very strong symbols; scissors, high heels, the penis, she discovered this as a way of expressing herself,” said Valentine Willie.

“I paint to feel that I exist”, Murni was quoted as saying.

MARIEKE WARMELINK - Marieke Warmelink, Acting tough - being strong, Interventions in daily - video - 2016 (2)                        “Acting Tough : Being Strong”  –  Mareike Warmelink

Singaporean performance artist Ila presented “Ruang”, the most potent work of the exhibition. Enclosed within a confined two meter square, dark space one at a time audience members entered while she performed in a traditional Balinese costume owned by Murni, slowly adding decorative pieces to her attire. A pulsating strobe light assaults the senses, while the atmosphere is dank and claustrophobic. Dripping in sweat Ila stoically performed her routine for four hours, bringing to “life” the emotional anguish of life within a harsh patriarchal society.

Citra Sasmita "Mea Vulva Maxima Vulva" 2016 Ceramic & mixed media Image richard Horstman                           “Mea Vulva, Maxima Vulva” – Citra Sasmita

“”Pure Passion” challenges the viewer to ‘experience’ and ‘feel’ the cruel, the scary, the funny, the erotic, the taboo, the real, the fake,” said renowned Dutch born “Indonesian” artist Mella Jaarsma of her 2016 work inspired by Murni’s 1997 painting “I am Longing for a Couple of Kids”. Materials utilized in Jaarsma’s include goat’s leather, stuffed crocodiles, and plastic plants.

Macabre? Unusual at least. Thai artist Imhathai Suwatthanaslip exhibits 4 works, in both two and 3 dimensional format, created by weaving and crocheting human hair, utilizing some of Murni’s hair, to reflect on the nature of family ties and domestic life, the female body and feminine identity. Other works of note are by Dutch artist Mareike Warmelink, Indonesian artists Natasha Lubis, Punia Atmaja and Ngakan Putu Agus Arta Wijaya (NPAW). Included in the exhibition is an “archival like” presentation of Murni’s sketches and relics, and the 15 minute documentary “Lost Murni”, a heart rending, yet beautiful insight into the final days of her passage of life.

13669344_1135530413136721_5070896626457661361_o                                                            “Ruang” – Ila

For the astute collector wishing to purchase a work of unique imagination by today’s most prominent female Balinese artist, Citra Sasmita’s, her installation “Mea Vulva, Maxima Vulva” features ceramic vagina’s within a set of scales and comments upon social class distinctions.

“Murni is an “outsider” artist of a different genre. Raised in poverty in the Celebes, she bumped by accident, back in Bali, into the post-traditional painting world of the island to unwittingly become a foremost exponent of the women’s condition,” said Jean Couteau. “Feminist in a twisty raw way: not as discourse or protest, but as a partaking of the multifarious forms of the psychic experience.”

OOTOTOL - UNTITLED #1 - AOC - 50 x 79 cm - year not stated                                                  “Untitled” – Ootolol

Preceded by a rare buzz of anticipation, emphasized by the aura of an icon – Indonesia’s most important female artist, it is hoped that the event will continue into 2017 as roving exhibition to Yogyakarta, Jakarta and Singapore.

Words & Images: Richard Horstman

“Merayakan Murni”

16 July – 18 September 2016

Open Daily 10am – 7pm

Sudakara Art Space, Sudamala Suites and Villas

Jalan Sudamala #20, Sanur, Bali

20160715_170105                                                Photos of Murni & Dolls by Murni