Tag Archives: Museum Puri Lukisan

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

 

 

 

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Balinese Kamasan Paintings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DSCF4755                      “Kumbakarna Attacked by Monkeys” Date Unkown. ARMA

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

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

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

DSCF4643                                 “Bharata Yudha”  1969  –  Tjokorda Oka Gambira

Where to See Kamasan Paintings in Bali:

Museum Puri Lukisan, Jalan Raya Ubud, Bali

Tele: +62 361 971159

Open Daily 9am – 5 pm.

ARMA Museum, Jalan Raya Pengosekan, Ubud, Bali

Tele: +62 361 975742

Open Daily 9am – 5 pm.

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

Tele: +62 361 975074

Open Daily 9am – 5 pm

Nyoman Gunarsa Museum of Classical & Modern Art

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

Tele: +62 366 22256

Open Daily 10 am – 5 pm.

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

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