Monthly Archives: December 2015

“Art as Perspective”

"Istana Kura Kura" Atmi Kristiadewi 2015

“Istana Kura-Kura” –  Atmi Kristiadewi

“Art As Perspective” showcases more than 30 artists, both Indonesian and foreign, in an exhibition at CLC Education in Kerobokan, Bali. Open from 5 December the exhibition features paintings of various genres, sculptures and photography displayed within two levels of the CLC Education facility.

““Art As Perspective” seeks to affirm art as a path to deeper understanding,” says CLC Education founder David Bertrand. “These paths help us to explore and move closer to the questions that have been posed with each passing generation: Who are we? What is this place? Where does it come from? What is our purpose as an individual and as a species?”

“Art is a critical part of human exploration as each individual has a perspective and is a facet, a reflection, a filter through which the whole of creation is interpreted. Through the artists exploration of their own perspective we gain greater understanding of our own and the world around us.”

"Ironi Ditanah Emas" Gusti Nengah Sura Ardana 2014

“Ironi Ditanah Emas”  –  Gusti Nengah Sura Ardana

With the goal to create greater opportunities for the community to engage in art through activities within their CLC learning program, and CLC exhibition program, “Art as Perspective” is their second exhibition during 2015.  Bertrand has worked together with well known former gallery manager, art dealer and director of Zen Agung art consulting and framing and Zen Express art courier and cargo Nico F. Kuswanto to bring together the community in celebration of art. The CLC Education facility is a fine venue for community gatherings and the opening was well attended by the local art community and friends while being officially opened by a representative of the Governor of Bali Bapak Mangu Pastika.

One of Bali’s finest hyper realism painters Gusti Nengah Sura Ardana presents “Ironi Ditanah Emas” 2014, a large 3 panel work revealing environmental tragedy and loss of indigenous culture due gold mining in West Papua. Wayan Suja is also a talented technical painter, “Me and Snobbery Times” contrasts Balinese tradition against modernity, and is both a conceptually and aesthetically  strong composition.

"Me & Snobbery Times" Wayan Suja 2015

“Me & Snobbery Times”  –  Wayan Suja

“Life Begin” 2015 and “Ibu”2015, two sculptures by Bambang Adi Pramono are a testament to the artist’s ability to work successfully with different media. Both works are themed upon the early stages of human development, “Life Begin” is hand carved from wood, while “Ibu” requires mechanical grinders to work the hard Onyx stone.

Local photographers Nengah Januartha, Pandu Adnyana and Tjandra Hutama make strong contributions to the exhibition. Januartha’s 100  x 100cm black and white beach scene of a child and cows, “Rare Angon” captures a magical moment that may seem insignificant, yet is steeped in beauty. Adnyana’s spacious landscape image “Jatiluwih Curves” is defined by the sweeping curves of the Jatiluwih rice fields and the distance golden sunrise gracing the horizon. Hutama’s study of giant traditional Balinese kites taking to the air in “Janggan Buntut” is shot from ground level looking upwards to the sun and emphasizes the initial moment of flight, while being framed within a beautiful blue sky.

"Stone Gate' Nyoman Sujana Kenyem 2015

“Stone Gate” 2015  –  Nyoman Kenyem Sujana

Atmi Kristiadewi is a 25 years old artist who has recently become a young mother. A talented painter who is equally adept in making sculptures that express her individual character, her skill in constructing strong compositions along with equally imaginative themes is rapidly improving. Atmi presents two paintings in her well known naïve style, “Taman Gurita” and “Istana Kura-Kura” which are both large and vibrantly colored compositions. “Istana Kura-Kura” draws its influence from the Balinese Hindu belief in which a sacred turtle carries the universe upon its shell, and is a beautifully balanced painting. Atmi’s husband Putu Edy Asmara (b. 1982 Tampaksiring, Bali) is a prolific artist who also creates sculpture and installations. ‘Rumahku” 2015 is his idealistic  composition of balance peace harmony that is atmospheric, warm and inviting.

Nyoman “Kenyem” Sujana from Sayan, Ubud presents 2 paintings “Go To Buleleng” and “Stone Gate” in his signature patterned style. In the focal point of “Stone Gate” he depicts a stairway and an entry into small building that invites the viewer to venture inside. A powerful sense of mystery is created when we engage within the portal. A spark of red ignites our senses along with abstract elements and Kenyem offers our imagination the perfect opportunity to come into play.

"Great Landscape" Shan 2012

“Great Landscape”  –  Shan

Noella Roos is a Dutch painter living in Sanur who is passionate about the human form and is known for her excellent nude studies in charcoal. Roos presents four works, oil on canvas in her characteristic style that emphasizes her classical training and the human body in motion.  French artist Shan who spends six months a year living and painting on the east coast of Bali contributes a strong abstract painting “Great Landscape”.

Balinese artist Ida Bagus Purwa is renowned for his mixed media studies of the human body. His spontaneous works capture the dynamic power and energy of the male figure in action with an unique sensitivity. Color is rarely his language of expression, yet his dark washed tones set against white backgrounds, are his trademark style. Purwa’s works are to carefully ingest: in their silence they communicate volumes.

Themed upon social politics, Kun Adynana’s “Indonesian Art Class” is a colouful and light hearted composition featuring the nations forefathers Sukarno, Hatta and others, along with Indonesian president Jokowi, collectively at work. They are tending to a sculpture of the Indonesian national symbol, the mystical Garuda baring the Pancasila emblem upon its chest. Le Kung contributes a spontaneous black acrylic paint on canvas study “Candi Legenda”, capturing the architectural wonders of the Prambanan temple in Central Java.


“Indonesian Art Class”  –  Wayan Kun Adnyana

Other interesting works are by Ismanto Wahyudi, “The Last Free” & “Guardian” who expresses himself in the distinctive Yogyakarta style. Characterized by cartoon like figures, his scenarios speak of environmental and urban issues. Works by Putu Bonuz, Ida Bagus Indra, Polenk Rediasa,  Nyoman Suarnata, Tri Wahyudi, Teja Astawa, Ketut Suwidiarta and Uuk Paramahita are also highlights. “Art As Perspective” continues through 3 January 2016.

CLC Education

Jalan Gunung Salak Utara 79,

Kerobokan, Bali



“Jatiluwih Curves”  –   Pandu Adynana

"Untitled" Putu Bonuz 2015

“Untitled” 2015  –  Putu Bonuz

"The Guardian" Ismanto 2010

“The Guardian”   –  Ismanto Wahyudi


“Rumahku” 2015  –  Putu Edy Asmara


“Noni Nyai” 2010  –  Tri Wahyudi

“Eternal Line”


"King's Patrol" 2015 - Teja Asatawa“King’s Patrol” 2015 – Teja Astawa

According to Balinese painting traditions pakem is an established set of aesthetic guidelines that define a style of art. In the exhibition “Eternal Line”, which opened 3 December at Sudamala Gallery in Sanur, two talented Balinese painters, Mangku Muriati and Teja Astawa pay homage to Kamasan painting, with their individual approaches to pakem, and present their works side by side.

Muriati (b. 1966, Kamasan, Bali) a graduate of Fine Art from Udayana University Denpasar is the daughter of the late Mangku Mura, one of the finest recent practitioners of the Kamasan style. This classical style of Balinese painting is derived from imagery that appears in Wayang puppet theatre, one of the original story telling methods in the Balinese culture that may be traced back over 2000 years to the Indian traders who settled in Indonesia bringing with them their culture and Hindu religion.

VI Ramayana (Yudha Kanda) 2 Mangku Muriarti


“VI Ramayana (Yudha Kanda 2)  – Mangku Muriati

Originally the work of artisan 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 (East Bali), was the center of classical Balinese art. These paintings are religious and folk narratives with high moral standards and serve with the function of expressing honourable human virtues to society with the intent to encourage peace and harmony. Historically, these two dimensional painting were produced for ceremonial or ritual purposes and displayed in temples and compounds.

Muriati’s paintings strictly adhere to the traditional rules of Kamasan paintings that have been handed down through the generations over hundreds of years. “Muriati’s mastery of the intricacies and the pakem have become the platform for her to play with wayang iconographies; her creativity surpasses the conventional perceptions that wayang painting serves as conservative art,” says exhibition curator Wayan Seriyoga Parta.

"Penangkapan Pangeran  Ditangkap Diponegoro"  Mungku Muriati 2015


“Penangkapan Pangeran Ditangka” – Mangku Muriati

Astawa, (b. 1971, Tuban, Bali) graduate from the Sekolah Tinggi Seni Indonesia, Denpasar, on the other hand utilizes the iconography, yet strips away the pakem and creates fresh interpretations of the classical style. Having been working with the imagery for over 15 years, as a child he created crude figures inspired by these images that remain a fascination to this day. Astawa reincarnates the iconography into his own personal language of expression, his compositions are more refined than the at times large and expansive original narratives, and often tell stories about modern events. These refined narratives allow for an economy of figures and objects, coloration therefor occupies larger planes especially in the backgrounds, often rendered in a abstract style, adding to the paintings unique visual effect. “Prajuit I&II” 2015 are experiments in aesthetic style where Astawa explores the visual impact of varying backgrounds adopting circular and lined patterning.

Characters become the focal point and they are often animals portraying comical roles. They may appear in varying sizes with large square shaped heads, depicted in basic, static animated posses, taking on the appearance of cartoon figures. Astawa’s has an uncomplicated and light-   hearted approach, he often introduces small nuances that play with perspective and dimension. His sense of spontaneity and desire to create an unfinished appearance in his works become a key characteristic. This is apparent in works such as “Angry God” 2015 and “Monkey on Pig” 2015. “A Story” 2015 is an unusual work due to the segmentation and arrangement of the composition allowing for the scene-by-scene narrative development.

"A Story" Teja Astawa 2015


“A Story” 2015  – Teja Astawa

One of the misconceptions about Kamasan painting is that it has remained immobile and resilient to change. Yet the art form has evolved over many years. Originally a collect art form made by a group of artists in service to the gods and the community, paintings that were never signed, the Kamasan style, however has evolved into works of individual expression. The various themes Muriati addresses in her works is testament to how the style in evolving. Not only does she paint the classical scenes of conflict and confrontation from the Hindu scriptures and the fables, such as “Tantri – Lembu dan Nandaka” 2015, her adaption of a folk tale depicting animals in bloody battles, yet she also paints modern narratives. Women career choices are in focus in “Wanita Karir” 2015 depicting women as civil servants, schoolteachers, in the police force and the military. “Perang Kusamba” 2015 recounts hostility in historic terms in the early 20th century between the Balinese and Dutch military forces.

Sudamala has contrasted the works from these two artists aiming to explore wayang painting from opposing perspectives, to expand the public’s perceptions about this genre, and to underline its endurance. These facts add to both the relevance and interest of this exhibition.

"Wanita Karir" Mangku Muriati 2015


“Wanita Karir” 2015 – Mangku Muriati

The Sudamala Art & Cultural Dialogue (part of Sudamala’s art & cultural appreciation and development programs since 2011) opened the exhibition at 3pm on 3 December with speakers Wayan Seriyoga Parta, Ida Bagus Agasita (Writer & expert in Ancient Javanese Literature), Rain Rosidi (Curator & Art Director for Jogja Biennale 2015) and moderator Arif Bagus Prasetyo (Curator).

“Eternal Line” continues through to 3 February 2016

Sudamala Suites & Villas
Jl. Sudamala No. 20, Sanur, Bali
T: +62 361 288 555

"Monkey on Pig" Teja Astawa 2015


“Monkey on Pig” 2015 – Teja Astawa

"Pohon Kehidupan" Mangku Muriati 2010


“Pohon Kehidupan”  2010 – Mangku Muriati

"Panjuit II" 2015 Teja Astawa


“Prajuit II” 2015 – Teja Astawa




















“Violent Bali”


In October 1971 John Lennon released his iconic pop anthem ‘Imagine’. Via the power of music and song he spoke directly to our hearts, inspiring us to imagine a peaceful world, where we all live as one.

“Kijand Kencana”  – IB Putra Adynana

IB Putra Adnayana, "Kijang Kencana" photograph. image by Richard Horstman

Mental and physical violence, perpetrated upon ourselves and/or others is the most counter productive, disturbing and misery inducing of all human traits. Violence is one of the most critical issues of the modern era and one that society must collectively address and find solutions for. Bali, perhaps like no other location is perfect for the exploration of this theme by its local artists, especially in light of it’s turbulent history, and the 50th anniversary of the 1965-66 mass killings of suspected communists by right wing parties supported the Indonesian military in Bali, and other parts the country.

Citra Sh"Torment"

“Torment”  –  Citra Sasmita

Sixty Indonesian artists, including one foreigner, all residents of Bali, focus upon the issue of violence in their paintings, installations, sculpture, photography and video in the exhibition ‘Violent Bali’ – Bali Art Intervention #1, which opened at the Tony Raka Art Gallery in Ubud 10 November.

“The theme is unusual, inconvenient, even disturbing. It is a self-critique of Bali, yet is challenging because it deals with a sensitive issue that confronts the popular image of Bali,” says exhibition curator Arif Prasetyo   “Bali is internationally famous as a paradise island, yet it has its own dark side. Prevailing violence has been present throughout Bali’s history and many scholars have documented this. This tends to be hidden, however behind the beautiful image of Bali the government and the tourism industry promotes.”

Prasetyo continues, “To this day, violence lingers in Bali. Migrant issues, rivalries among political and religious elites, land conflicts, the struggle for economic resources, customary disputes and many more problems are fuel to burn in Bali at any moment.”


“Menulis Riwayat Hidup”  –  BSP Tatang

The exhibition is the first in the series of biannual events at the Tony Raka Art Gallery titled ‘Bali Art Intervention #1’, in which Bali will come under the microscope. Each participating artist presents one work (with the exception of one sculptor), and several works are created collectively by groups of artists. The theme has inspired many artists to search deeply and succeed in producing some of their strongest work to date, this is especially true with Made Mahendra Mangku, Edy Asmara, Ketut Suwidiarta, Kadek Agus Ardika, and IB Sindu Putra. With many strong works on exhibit it is difficult to mention works without, of course failing to include other artists who also deserve merit as well.

“Violent Bali” raises issues of identity, gender and cultural conflicts, the New Order regime and the mass killing of 1965-66, violence against sex workers, the environment, Bali’s modern development and the loss of traditional culture, and socially marginalized people, amongst others. Perhaps the most alarming violence is that inflicted upon innocent children. The three painters who pour their emotions into this topic achieving strong results are Dewa Gede Ratayoga, Aricadia and Achmad Pandi. Aricadia’s powerful composition “Punch Fun Punch”, in which the paintings fractured surface emphasizes the impact of violent blows upon a child, is at first very disturbing.  Citra Sasmita, one of three exhibiting women, is a young talent on the rise. “Torment” is an intelligent painting in concept and composition, that is equally potent.


“Memory, Hidden History & Legacy of the New Order”  –  Made Bayak

Made Bayak’s mixed media installation “Memory, Hidden History & Legacy of the New Order” investigates events of the Suharto’s New Order Regime and features an installation focusing on the brainwashing of school children, a large painting, sketches and declassified documents on the pre coup activities of President Sukarno.

It is refreshing to see Dodit Artawan, a talented hyper-realism painter step out of his usual mode and adopt a more casual style resulting in a playful composition underlined by conflict and tension. A jagged broken bottle of Arak, and a blood soaked canvas, highlighting alcohol and violence is Mangu Putra’s contribution. Tatang BSP’s beautifully poetic and surreal composition “Menulis Riwayat Hidup” tells of disconnection and loss of identity. Gede Sayur’s “Last Defence #2” a symbolic installation based upon the loss of Bali’s traditional agrarian culture is excellent, improving upon his first incarnation of the work exhibited mid year. Bambang Adi Pronomo’s two sculptures are diverse and engaging. Wayan Wirawan’s installation “Everyday” featuring a cars front wind shield and functioning wipers clearing away blood is a strong and imaginative work. “Density I & II” is an enormous double panel diptych revealing excellent technique and concept by Agus Cahaya.


“Last Defence #2”  –  Gede Sayur

Photography by DP Arsa, Totok Parwata, Rudi Waisnawa, Yan Palapa’s “Foto Seri, Visum of Kus” exploring the issue of violence and female sex workers, and I B Putra Adnayana’s “Kijang Kencana” a black and white composition of duality, tension and impending danger are highlights. Other works worth mentioning are by Made Wianta “Dry Rain” and its thousands of falling metal needles and Sujana Suklu, Neo Pitamaha, Made Budiana and Alit Suja.

“Critically and openly questioning violence, “Violent Bali” is a cultural intervention that is expected to raise awareness of violence and contribute ideas in making a better and brighter Bali,” Prasetyo says. All of the participating artists must be commended for their contributions to the exhibition that is the strongest and most important collective showing  of works in 2015. Tony Raka and staff, along with Prasetyo, too must be honored for their commitment, putting together a painstakingly large project that highlights a sensitive topic that must never stray far from the public forum of analysis and discussion.

In his introduction in the exhibition catalog Adrian Vickers, Professor of SE Asian Studies at the University of Sydney says, “Artists have been at the forefront of the Balinese community working to promote practices of peace, and to ask questions about the structures that promote violence. Such action is a part of the role of art in engaging sympathy and exploring the feelings and sense of the world that make us who we are.” He finishes with, “We all should be grateful for their continued efforts to engage our consciousness, especially at this time of the 50th anniversary of the mass killings.”


“Punch Fun Punch”  –  Aricadia

‘Violent Bali’ continues through 10 th December 2015

Tony Raka Art Gallery

Jl. Raya Mas No. 86 Mas, Ubud, Bali

Open daily: 10am – 6pm

Tel: +62 361 7816785


“Everyday”   –  Wayan Wirawan


“Senyum Itu Ibadah”   –  Ketut Suwidiarta


“Kekerasan Berasal Dari Pikiran Tetang Kekerasan”  –   Made Budiana


“Please Take My Head” –  Kadek Agus Ardika



Celebrating Murni & Balinese Women Artists


Painting by Murni.

Lets consider some stereotypes of Balinese women.

Images of young Balinese woman (circa 1930’s) clad in sarongs, exposing their naked breasts reached Europe at a time when knowledge of this small tropical isle in remote East Indies was practically non-existent. The women’s casual mannerisms along with the alluring breasts were misconceived, suggesting a culture of liberal sexual morality. Very little did the Europeans know of the exotic culture and that the Balinese regard the breast as a symbol of fertility and of the abundance of Ibu Pertiwi (Mother Earth).

Balinese woman are industrious, either at home caring for the family, in the village attending to chores and customs, or working in the fields. Let’s spare a thought for the small armies of women who lug enormous quantities of materials upon their heads all day, from the roads to the many construction sites around Bali. Women spend countless hours meticulously creating the Balinese Hindu religious offerings. Their fingers delicately weaving leaves and flowers into the ubiquitous and beautiful ceremonial masterpieces. The most exploited image of Balinese femininity, immortalized by the tourism juggernaut, is that of the beautiful young lady in traditional costumes, poised gracefully while dancing.

Ni Gusti Ayu Murniashi, 2003, "Boala Raga Sembilan"

“Bola Raga Sembilan” 2003 – Murni

The famous traditional expressions of Balinese painting and sculpture are by and large patriarchal. There are, however many talented female Balinese artists who complete their academic art training, yet rarely does one continue on to become a successful artist, much less one with an international profile. Ni Nyoman Sani (b. Sanur 1975) has achieved this distinction.

Sani first had to prove she had the talent and dedication to succeed, and then she gained the trust and confidence of her parents. She now raises two children along with devoting time to her cultural duties, and career. Sani is a painter, photographer and fashion designer, and her expressions reflect the sovereignty and liberation of women.

The Seniwati Gallery of Art was an innovative women’s only collective established 1991 in reaction to the invisibility of women artists in the galleries and museums of Bali. A long time member, Sani was the recent director and a driving force behind the group until it disbanded in 2013.

Murni - "Urine Therapy"

“Urine Therapy” – Murni

Women of Two Continents, 1993 by Cokorda Isteri Mas Astiti is an icon of contemporary art by Balinese woman. In the paintings foreground – a beach scene – she depicts Balinese women in traditional costumes carrying offerings, while in the background three foreign women, dressed in bikinis, observe. This is a remarkable composition of contrasts and cross-cultural dialogue.

Indonesia’s most important female artist was the petite Balinese painter I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniasih (1966-2006).  Murni rose from the life as a child of a farmer, poor and uneducated to the ranks of artistic distinction. Her father sexually abused her at the age of nine. Murni’s compositions explored gender, social and cultural issues, amongst others, in her minimalist figurative style that featured powerful coloration.   Yet most importantly they broke new grounds into the social taboos of gender politics and feminism.

A dedicated member of Senwati, Murni’s first solo exhibition was held at the Seniwati Art Gallery in 1995. Via the courage to confront her darkest memories and emotions Murni’s intuition was instrumental in forging new thematic grounds in Balinese and Indonesian art.

“I paint to feel that I exist” – Murni

I.G.A Murniashi, "Tanpa Judul", 70x70cm, acrylic on canvas.2003

“Tanpa Judul” – Murni

A notable work by Murni, “Tanpa Judul” (Without Title) depicts two women holding aloft a huge dripping penis. Her unique art was derived from a nurturing source that assisted her self-healing process, while also seeking to set her free. Balinese tradition encourages figurative expressions of naked and sexual content. According to Balinese Hindu cultural practices artworks are in no way meant to be offensive, rather their intent is to educate and communicate about the essence of life and existence.

“Merayakan Murni / Celebrating Murni” is a new project gathering artists and writers to create works in response to the legacy of Murni at an innovative new art space in Sukawati, Bali – the Ketemu Project Space.

“Merayakan Murni” aims to platform critical discussions on the issues voiced in Murni’s legacy on the topics of gender, society and art. Through a series of workshops, talks, artist in residency programs participants will create works and develop immersive experiences with the public to access the themes raised in Murni’s art practice and life. A group exhibition opening in Bali on the 4th July 2016 will feature work by Murni, alongside the new work created by international and Indonesian participants.

Ni Gusti Ayu Murniasih, 2003 "Playing"

“Playing” 2003 – Murni

Kamiliah Bahdar, an independent curator living and working in Singapore, where she is pursuing a Masters degree at the School of Art, Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University will be in Bali from November 2015 to January 2016 to join the residency program at KETEMU. She will be working along side Balinese curator Savitri Sastrawan who has recently completed her Masters degree at Goldsmith University London, the Ketemu team, Yayasan I GAK Murniasih and community members inspired by Murni, to help realize this excellent project.

On Tuesday 8 December 6-9 pm an intimate  discussion  “Murni – Menyingsing Percakapan Baru” will be held at Ketemu featuring Budi Agung Kuswara, founder of Ketemu Project Space, Ruth Onduko, project manager at Ketemu, Mary Northmore – Aziz MBE, founder of Seniwati Art Gallery and other members of the art community. The steering committee of this project is Mondo Zanolini, Valentine Willie and Jean Couteau.

Ketemu Project/ Space is a contemporary art space in Bali that facilitates conversations between art and society.

089618981611 (Agung Dewi)

Facebook: KetemuProject/Space

Perum Taman Asri Blok A No. 3
Jalan Batuyang, Batubulan, Sukawati, Bali


“the paintings of Batuan – Wow!”

'Seperti Tercerahkan' Wayan Budiarta 2015, Acrylic on Paper, 50x65cm                          Seperti Tercerahkan  –  Wayan Budiarta


Of all of the genres of Balinese modern traditional painting that evolved from the 1930’s and onwards, helping communicate the richness and diversity of Balinese culture to the world, the Batuan style is the most celebrated. Nowadays, both local and foreign art lovers always warmly receive Batuan exhibitions in Bali.

“The Paintings of Batuan – Wow!!” the latest exhibition by Batuan’s Baturlangan Artist’s Association did not disappoint the large crowd attending the opening at Ubud’s Puri Lukisan Museum on 17 October. Featuring the work by 49 village artists, both male and female, spanning all generations including names such as Bendi, Budi, Sadia and Padma, along with some deceased artists, the exhibition reveals that the Batuan style is continuing to evolve. Of particular interest is the talent displayed by some of the younger members, confirming that the recent emphasis upon regeneration is exposing some exciting future prospects.

In 2012 the Baturlangan collective began in earnest to reinvigorate the spirit of the tradition of Batuan painting that some members of the community had felt was in decline. A renewed sense of enthusiasm and commitment to their heritage by the artists has given birth both a clear vision for the future and a structured agenda of activities that includes one major annual exhibition, other collective painting projects, and more formal and non formal artist discussions.

"Pohon Kehidupan" Wayan Aris Sasmanta, 2015, Acrylic on Canvas, 90x115cm.                           Pohon Merberi Kehidupan – Wayan Aris Samanta

“The objectives of Baturulangun are to preserve and develop Batuan painting, while promoting the spirit of the artists work,” says the head of Baturlangan Made Sujendra. “We wish that in the future our style will became more dynamic and we trust that the young members can inject fresh imagination, dynamism and innovation to stimulate the development.”

Amongst the beautiful array of paintings of great variation on display at Puri Lukisan two young artists: Wayan Budiarta, aged 22 and Wayan Aris Sarmanta 20 years old, exhibit outstanding works. Other painters also merit mention; female artist Gusti Ayu Oka Ariani (b. 1997) and Made Dwiarta, just 17 years old, who presents a unconventional interpretation of the well known fable of Pan Brayut, titled “Pan Brayut Kehidupan di Bulan” 2015 (Pan Brayut living on the moon).

“The young artists are very passionate about their work and I believe there is some excellent future prospects,” Sujendra adds. “Not only do they maintain strong technical standards yet they are developing their themes and concepts as well. This can especially be seen in the work by Budiarta and Aris Sarmanta.”

“Seperti Tercerahkan” (like enlightenment) 2015, is Budiarta’s observation of the impact smart phone technology has upon Balinese youth. His acrylic paint on paper work mimics the famous image of Gautama Buddha sitting upon a giant lotus flower in a state of divine perfection. Budiarta, however depicts a youth in traditional costume perched upon a lotus who is not glowing with light, yet appears to be carrying an enormous weight upon his shoulders. While clutching in both hands and engaging with a smart phone circulating above him within threatening clouds, as if manifestations delivered upon the hands of the gods are the cherished icons that dominate popular culture and communication technology of FaceBook, Twitter, Google, Blackberry along with other associated brands and e-communication symbols.

Budiarta’s composition is focussed and minimalist, more so than the usual complex and crowded Batuan paintings. His theme is highly imaginative and communicates clearly his lament of the phenomenon he is witnessing of changing cultural values and people’s obsession with hi tech modern consumer gadgets.

DSCF3722                        Pan Brayut Kehidupan di Bulan – Pande I Made Dwi Arta

Aris Sarmanta’s “Pohon Kehidupan” 2015, (Tree of Life) on the other hand is a remarkably detailed execution of a traditional work with his modern conceptual adaptation that reveals maturity beyond the artist’s years. The painting is divided into to equal halves, of both the earthly and heavenly realms, underlining the Balinese Hindu philosophy that emphasizes duality and that all life is a complex inter relationship between negative and positive forces.

The composition reveals the core principle of Balinese traditional aesthetics – balance and harmony – that are also the fundamentals to the Balinese way of life. “The tree is a universal symbol that is central to many cultures. Trees provide essential sustenance to all living creatures,” Aris Sarmanta says. “Forest destruction is not only an important issue for Bali, yet has global relevance as well. Without trees what will happen to us?”

The tree trunk supports the upper world where the artist depicts narratives that tell of traditional life, and a world in peace and harmony. The trunk resembles a human face stylized from a Balinese traditional mask that has positive and negative features. The world depicted in the lower half of the painting, while being more dynamic also includes the influence of modern culture. Central to the narratives depicted are the wisdoms and teachings that are being shared to the community by a Balinese Hindu priest.

“As a young artist within a large collective my experience in Baturlangan has been very positive and memorable,” Aris Sarmanta says. “I am especially pleased to receive sound guidance and encouragement from many of the senior artists, along with learning more of our cultural narratives. Bautan painting is my inheritance and I must work hard to preserve and develop it so I may be proud of my contributions.”

DSCF3718                                     Lomba Mancing – Made Kariyana

Batuan paintings have survived through the highs and lows of the political and economic climates Bali has endured over the past eighty-five years. Its early formative years were boosted by the unique patronage of two of the 20th Centuries leading anthropologists, Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson who lived in Batuan from 1936-1938. The years up until the 1940’s were considered the golden years of Batuan painting and a distinctive style became the hallmark (often of dark and mysterious images of both their unseen, and the tangible worlds).

Popular with art dealers and tourists at that time they found homes throughout the world until WWII and the Japanese occupation of Indonesian that led to the decline of tourism along with the demand for the paintings. Fast forward seventy years to the present and a globalized world, where tradition stand in the face of modernity. It is comforting to know that the future of this renown style of painting is in the secure hands of the Baturlangan.

DSCF3755                                          Ibu – Gde Widyantara


“The Paintings of Batuan – Wow!!”

Continues through until 12 December at

Museum Puri Lukisan, Jalan Raya, Ubud, Bali

Open daily 9am – 6pm

+62 361 971159

Words & Images: Richard Horstman