Tag Archives: Not For Sale

Rebirth – Wayan Aris Sarmanta

"Bali Not For Sale - Tangis Amarah Pulau Kecil" Aris Sarmanta. Image R. Horstman           Not For Sale – Tangis Amarah Pulau Kecil Baris, 2016  –  Aris Sarmanta

The genre of Batuan Painting has a unique story within the annals of Balinese art, and is recognized with a special esteem. Enduring the ever-changing sociopolitical, economic climates that shaped the island during the past 90 years, the style has evolved undergoing notable transformations.

The golden era was its infancy, during the 1930’s the Batuan ‘School’ was defined its own unique character, setting it apart from painting developments in Ubud at the time. Often dark and moody sketches in black ink, the compositions were generally dense and crowded, the white paper and canvas set against the compositions deep saturated tones created eye-catching contrasts.

During the 1970’s the style was revolutionized, the works became larger, detailed, dynamic and colourful, highlighted by universal themes. Painters I Made Budi (1943-2016) and I Wayan Bendi (1952-) were the innovators, responsible for the stylistic developments that assisted the genre to become internationally renowned. The second decade of the new millennium has revealed fresh young talent, the fore bringers of another exciting chapter in Batuan painting.

"Tapak Dara - Unity Tapak Dara - Pilar Kebangsaan" Aris Sarmanta. Image Richard Horstman   Tapak Dara – Unity/ Tapak Dara – Pilar Kebangsaan, 2017 – Aris Sarmanta

History reveals that generally the most extraordinary works of Balinese traditional art occur while the artist is still young, with a sense of freedom, and time on their hands. After this marriage, family and cultural commitments take priority. There are also the pressures from the art world – collectors, dealers and gallerists and the money mechanism of market forces.

At twenty-two years of age I Wayan Aris Sarmanta, (b.1995) was the youngest finalist in the 2017 TiTian Prize, an award that honors talent in all genres of Balinese visual art. While his first major group exhibition was in 2013 in Ubud, it was his masterwork Pohon Kehidupan (Tree of Life), painted in 2015 that truly captured local art observer’s attention.

Open 13 May at TiTian Art Space Ubud, REBIRTH, Sarmanta’s premiere solo exhibition showcases his remarkable skills that are a continuation of the tradition of storytelling – the historical fundamental that defines Balinese art. The artist presents nine paintings rich in symbolic meaning, complete with an array of cultural icons that are some of the major visual features. His themes range from the light-hearted, to serious, some works with local and national social, and political references.

"Bulan Cinta (Moon Lovers)" Aris Sarmanta. Image R. Horstman                              Bulan Cinta (Moon Lovers) – Aris Sarmanta

Sarmanta explores a full gamut of colours out side of cultural conventions. He discovers hues through the complex and time-consuming skill of mixing, and then, according to traditional techniques he builds up the colour strength, layer-upon-layer. He adopts fresh colours; metallic bronze, grey, silver and gold adding potent, and shining aesthetic contrasts.

He experiments with and combines iconography from the centuries old Kamasan religious paintings, along with interpretations of rerajahan drawings. The special symbolic talismans imbibed with mysterious powers that may never be reproduced exactly, unless for ritual and sacred purposes. Together many elements combine to bring exciting new dimensions to his Sarmanta’s paintings, revealing a talent that defies his years.

Pohon Kehidupan, a detailed execution of a traditional work with his modern conceptual adaptations is divided into two equal halves, symbolizing both the earthly and heavenly realms. It emphasizes local philosophies that highlight duality, and that life is a complex inter-relationship between positive and negative forces. Visual and philosophical equilibrium is beautifully achieved in this composition that reveals the core principle of Balinese traditional aesthetics – balance and harmony – also the fundamentals to the Balinese way of life. The painting consumed one year of Sarmanta’s time to complete.

"Pohon Kehidupan" Wayan Aris Sasmanta, 2015, Image R. Horstman Acrylic on Canvas, 90x115cm.      Not For Sale – Tangis Amarah Pulau Kecil Baris, 2016 – Aris Sarmanta

History reveals the dilemma of tradition meeting with modernity, and the island’s natural environment and culture being threatened with development. Featuring a Balinese boy warrior (the Baris dancer) expressing both sadness and anger, his headdress depicts a scene of traditional Bali, while an emblem upon his chest reads “Sold Out”. In the foreground two small figures stand in opposition, one a Balinese man with a sign stating “Not For Sale”, the other a satirical character representing a businessman, in a suit and tie holding a brief case, complete with the facial features of a rat.

During his youth the budding artists was trained by his grandfather I Wayan Regug (d.2017), a member of the famous 1930’s Ubud based association the Pita Maha. In recent years, however Sarmanta has been a ‘beneficiary’ of the new Baturlangan Artists Collective of Batuan. Defining the new model of Balinese collectives that are contributing to the current era of renewal of traditional art, Baturlangan’s strong leadership style has a clear vision and mission. This is not only windfall for its members like Sarmanta, yet also for the future generations, via their program of regular workshops for school children.

Bulan Cinta (Moon Lovers) 2016, reveals Sarmanta’s confidence to expose his intimate side. Imagination fuses with memories of personal love experiences in a composition depicting heaven and earth, and featuring two young lovers floating about in various romantic situations. Planets, stars and asteroids, along with objects that combine traditional iconography fill the cosmic scenario, while metallic colours truly bring the painting to life.

Dewa's Pet (ink, tea & coffee on paper)                     Dewa’s Pet (ink, coffee & tea on paper) – Aris Sarmanta

Although young, Sarmanta has developed a strong social conscience. He cites social media as a powerful tool keeping him informed of important local and global events that impact the current social and political landscape. Tapak Dara – Unity/ Tapak Dara – Pilar Kebangsaan 2017, is a landmark work that reveals the extent of the artist’s awareness, along with his ability to combine his feelings into a composition that is relevant to all Indonesians.

Upon a brown background a large white plus sign is the prominent visual structure. It is the Balinese Hindu symbol for the spirit of unity, also of equilibrium, eternity and sustainability. It signifies the four pillars upon which the Indonesian national motto of Bhinneka Tunngal Ika, (Unity in Diversity) are founded. Sarmanta prompts us that the forefathers of the Republic of Indonesia (NKRI) have laid out four supporting concepts to create national unity, even though there is great diversity within the country.

Reincarnation                      Reincarnation, 2017 – Aris Sarmanta


REBIRTH, continuing through until 15 July 2017

TITIañ Art Space

Jalan Bisma, Ubud, Bali

Open 10 am – 7 pm
Ph: +62822-14-400-200

Words & Images: Richard Horstman








Art Spaces in Bali

Cata Odata - "Distopia" Exhibition 2015 - Image Cata Odata                                                                       Cata Odata

When thinking of Bali’s premiere art and cultural destinations immediately the tourist mecca of Ubud springs to mind. For those treading the art map the well-known museums Puri Lukisan, Neka and ARMA (the Agung Rai Museum of Art) display fine collections of Balinese traditional art, along with some Indonesian modern and contemporary art.

Within the constantly evolving art landscape of Ubud, galleries and art spaces come and go. The post 2008 Indonesian art boom economics has taken its toll and has led to the closure of some big name fine art galleries in Bali. In recent years, however private and artist driven initiatives – art spaces – that operate outside of the commercial gallery model, have become ‘the’ essential art infrastructure behind the development of contemporary art on the island.

12565520_1028752623814501_5170390935646932665_n                                                                Ketemu Project Space

Attracting the non-commercial and experimental artists, thriving on dialogue and creativity, art spaces are plugged into social media (vital to the new paradigm of art organizations connecting them 24/7 to the global community, a bonus with the wealth of information available on the internet). You can check them out via Facebook or Instagram prior to your arrival and Google maps will help in finding the location. Two icons of Ubud must be mentioned, Sika Contemporary and Pranoto’s, here’s some recommendations………

Fifteen minutes north of Ubud, Jalan Sri Wedari, Junjungan, on the right side in the rice fields look for the big white installation “Not For Sale”. Balinese landowner, social activist, and artists Gede Sayur along with his friends established Luden House in 2009. Committed to art with a social and environmental conscience Luden began as an art space and gallery to support the development of contemporary art via exhibitions, workshops and events. “Not For Sale” evolved in 2010 in response to the alarming rate of Balinese agricultural land being sold for development and has since grown into a popular social movement, securing marking Luden House on the Bali map. When the Luden family are not organizing events, often for children, they are painting or creating art products from sustainable products and wearable’s to sell, with a percentage of sales going to local farmers associations.

Luden House Ubud - 'Not For Sale' + 'Sold Out' 2014, Image Richard Horstman                                                       Luden House and “Not For Sale”

Cata Odata in Penestanan introduces a new model of infrastructure to Bali combining artist and gallery management, residency programs, internships along with exhibitions and a community space for discussions and workshops. Born in 2014, the brainchild of two dedicated and hardworking East Javanese characters: Ratna Odata and Djunaidi Kenyut. Kenyut having many years experience as an exhibiting artist, and managing events and spaces in Bali and Surabaya. They promote Indonesian artists based in East Java and Bali while encouraging global connections and exchanges. Upcoming events include “Bare Journal #3” artist in residency program. This requires participating artists to create a daily journal, complete with their thoughts, ideas and sketches. These are then exhibited alongside their work to inspire deeper levels of connectivity between artists and the community, while granting insights into the machinations of the artists mind. Periodically they offer lodgings for those curious to know more about this young art space and its workings.

TiTian Art Space. Image by Richard Horstman                                                                        TiTian Art Space

The husband and wife team of Balinese artist Budi Agung Kuswara and Singaporean artist Samantha Tio drive Ketemu Project Space in Batu Bulan, 30 minutes south of Ubud. Dedicated to engaging a wider audience and individual sectors of the public arena, Ketemu embarks on large projects drawing upon their local, national and regional networks. Inviting artists and curators to participate in their artists in residency program Ketemu’s 2016 project, “Merayakan Murni” promises to be a landmark event. Celebrating Indonesia’s most important female artist Balinese painter I GAK Murniasih (1966-2006) who was instrumental in forging new thematic grounds in Balinese and Indonesian art. The project gathers artists and writers to create works in response to the legacy of Murni and will culminate in an exhibition in July.

Cata Odata Art Space "Distopia" Exhibition - Image by Cata Odata          Cata Odata during the opening of the exhibition “Distopia – 1000 Islands”

Launched 29 January 2016 in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the influential Pita Maha artists collective, the TiTian Bali Foundation is located at the TiTian Art Space in Jalan Bisma, Ubud. Driven by a revolutionary vision for Balinese art on the local and global stage, the Chairman of the Board of Advisors of Yayasan TiTian Bali Soemantri Widagdo says, “TiTian Bali is being founded in an effort to “reframe” the potential of Balinese visual arts with the belief that in order to flourish they need to be integrated into a creative economy.” Aiming to be the premier hub for Balinese visual arts by 2021, Yayasan TiTian Bali is building a new eco system for Balinese art for the 21st Century through education and new pathways of engagement.

Ketemu Project Space - "Aja Presentation". Image courtesy of Ketemu                                                                 Ketemu Project Space

Fast Facts:

Cata Odata

Call: +6281212126096



Facebook: Cata Odata

Instagram: cata_odata

Located opposite the Pura Dalem temple in Penestanan Kelod, Ubud. Look for the big white building on the left. Featuring quarterly exhibitions and random feisty gatherings, the three level venue is always open and welcoming. Check out their online store of art products and wearable’s: www.arcimisi.com

TiTian Bali Art Space

Call: +6282214400200

Facebook: TiTian Art Space


Jalan Bisma #88, Ubud


Travel way down to the end of Jalan Bisma and look for an aqua blue building on the left side. This brand new facility is a work in progress, an experimental playground and global launch pad for young talented Balinese artists. Backed by local and international foundations with members whose experience is second to none. On display in the gallery is some of the finest Balinese traditional and contemporary art in on the island.

Ketemu Project Space

Contact: +6282144097060

Facebook: Ketemu Project Space

Instagram: ketemu_project_ space



Perumahan Taman Asri #3A
Batu Bulan, Gianyar

Head east 500 meters along Jalan Batuyang, on the right look for the entry to Perumahan Taman Asri. A savvy and professional team, with a compact and cosy facility. Regular events open to the public. Out to raise the bar in what’s possible within artist driven spaces in Bali.

Luden House

Call: +628122772137

Jalan Sri Wedari, Junjungan, Ubud.


Facebook: Ubud Luden House

Instagram: gede_sayur

A grassroots local art experience that brings social and environmental awareness to the fore. Regular events, big and small, a good time is always guaranteed. Look out for the soon to open Balinese warung with tasty local delicacies.