Tag Archives: Karja Art Space

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

One Heart – the Sureal Art Group

Suryani, "Mother & Daughter" Oil on Canvas, Image R. Horstman                                     Mother & Daughter – Suryani

 

In the media we often hear about the plight of West Papua and its people striving for independence from the Indonesian occupation, its wealth of mineral resources, or deforestation that is threatening indigenous cultures. Modern and contemporary artists from this region, however rarely gain exposure. One Heart, an exhibition by the Sureal Art Group, open at the Karja Art Space in Ubud on 12 November features four artists from different parts of the archipelago, including West Papua, exhibiting side by side.

“The name the “Sureal Art Group” is an amalgamation of letters from each of the artists names,” explains exhibition organizer and charismatic West Papuan artist Ellya Alexander Tebay. “It’s also derived from two words – sure and real – that underline our philosophy. If you wish to make something real – you must be sure.” One Heart features paintings by Balinese artist Gede Suryawan, female painter from East Java Suryani, Editya Lau from Timor along with Tebay.

“One Heart is an perfect theme for this exhibition,” Tebay continues. “It emphasizes the attributes that bind our group together, and the values that make us who we are. Humanity is one big family and we all share experiences, feelings and emotions. We are inseparable and together we embody one love and one heart. Art has a unique power that can unite people. I believe artists have a special gift to share.” The artist’s narratives and themes in the exhibition tell of their identities and values, their passions and concerns, along the power of the imagination – stories that are dear to the artist’s hearts.  “It is our wish to inspire our audience and make them reflect on their own lives and values. I represent the West Papuan people, and I wish to communicate a message for global peace.”

Gede Suryawan. 'Starling in Green" Acrylic on Canvas, Image R. horstman                             Starling in Green – Gede Suryawan

“Social media has been the vital key to the Sureal Art Group,” Tebay adds. “It has enabled us to communicate over time, across vast distances.” Tebay first met Gede Suryawan 1997 in Bali at art school. Then Editya Lau at the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) in Depasar in 2001, where Tebay studied art for 6 years, along with Suryawan and Lau. He met Suryani through Facebook, yet his first meeting in person was during the preparations for this exhibition. Renowned Balinese abstract artist Wayan Karja, owner of Karja Art Space, which opened in 2000 as a multi purpose facility available to the public, yet with an emphasis on supporting young artists, has been influential upon these three male artists as an art lecturer and administrator at ISI Denpasar.

Suryawan, (b. Ubud 1983) exhibits four paintings, all featuring animals as the subject, yet with cultural references. In “Starling in Green” he depicts the famous white Bali Starling, Bali’s regional mascot, yet due to its value on the black market has become critically endangered. At a glance his works appear like a mosaic of shapes arranged together, similar to a batik design, pulsating with colour and life. Closer inspection however, reveals his works are a combination of Balinese traditional painting techniques, along with his own modern ideas.

Self taught painter Suryani (b. 1974 Banyuwangi, East Java) became inspired to learn painting in 2007. She divides her compositions into an arrangement of squares and rectangles into which she applies oil and acrylic paints. Each correlating segment contains variations in colour tonality and hues, being either vibrant or restrained. Her themes are feminine, with titles such as “Fall in Love” and “Mother & Daughter”. “Perfect with Sampoerna”, however features a man and woman both enjoying a cigarette, and underlines how for many, smoking is an essential and pleasurable part of life. In the hand of the woman she has attached the front of a Sampoerna cigarette box.

Editya Lau, "Salam" Oil on Canvas, Image R. Horstman                                   Salam – Editya Lau

The paintings of Editya Lau (b. 1979, Kupang, Timor) reveal an artist with strong technical ability and ideas who combines the styles of both realism and abstract expression within his compositions. This combination highlights the faces of the subjects, young girls, however in “Penantian” (Waiting) & “Salam” (Greetings) provides added contrast and visual tension. Lau’s gift is to translate his sensitivity into the eyes of the subjects. This essence then mysteriously reaches out from the canvas and captures our attention – the eyes are the window of the soul. Even though this is only Lau’s second exhibition his works communicate a powerful sense of humanity.

Born in Nabire, West Papua in 1979, Tebay is also an excellent technician and communicator of strong ideas. The sweet potato is the staple food of his people and one of the main subjects in his main subjects in his paintings. The plant and vegetable he renders in realistic imagery that then transforms into colourful surreal, even abstract organic forms that weave and flow through his compositions. Perhaps Tebay’s strongest work, “To Grab the Star”, is designed to inspire his audience, the artist says, encouraging them to dream and think big. He depicts the smiling face of his younger brother, his thoughts appear to flow up and out of his head in colourful abstract verve, while suggesting a strange science fiction like alien form.

Ellya Alexander Tebay, "To Grab the Star", oil on canvas, Image richard Horstman                         To Grab the Star – Ellya Alexander Tebay

In the constantly evolving art landscape of Ubud, the cultural and artistic heartland of Bali, now more than ever artist owned and run creative spaces are making a telling impact. They serve as creative spaces for workshops, discussions and exhibitions, artist in residency programs and internships, even hubs for art management. They are one of the major drivers behind the development of contemporary art. With the closure of one prominent fine art gallery in the area and others being less active, while having agendas that are highly selective, opportunities for most artists to present their work are increasingly difficult.

In the past few years new art spaces have opened in Ubud, Cata Odata and Kupu Kupu being the most active, while the Sika Contemporary Art Gallery and Karja Art Space play important roles. Without the presence of such venues talented, yet unknown artists, such as Tebay and Lau are without the essential platforms to share their ‘voice’ with the greater community, while attracting the media attention they rightly deserve.

 

“One Heart”

Continues through to 28 November

Karja Art Space

Banjar Penestanan Kaja, Ubud, Bali.

Tel: 0361 977810

Words & Images: RichardHorstman