Monthly Archives: February 2016

Made Griyawan


“I have been gifted with a curious mind,” says Balinese artist Made Griyawan. “Since I was a child I have always been inquisitive and driven to seek out my own answers to life. As I grew in awareness important questions provoked me. Who am I? Why am I here, and what for?”

“For my answers I look to the world around me, along with reflecting on the world within. I observe people’s behaviour, the rhythms of nature, and learn. I have become a dedicated student in the school of life.”

Made Griyawan is no ordinary artist; he is one of the finest practitioners of the Batuan “School” of Balinese traditional painting. A deeply spiritual man, through his art he shares his values and wisdoms. “Religious perspectives determine how we are different, the spiritual, however reveals that we are all one. This is an empowering philosophy,” Griyawan says.

Born in 1980 in Batuan Griyawan has succeeded in depicting the religious narratives and localized fables of his culture into beautiful paintings that pulsate with life, and are defined by his own signature style. His imagination and ability to create anew, old narratives, as well as innovative storylines challenges Balinese convention, and sets him apart from his peers.

'The Story of the Rajapala". Made Griyawan. Image by Richard Horstman                                 “The Story of the Rajapala”  –  Made Griyawan

Batuan is situated on a plain flanked by two rivers in the southern central region of Bali, 15 minutes south of Ubud. It’s earliest known record is a royal decree dated 1022. Over the past 3 centuries its artists have played a vital role in performing the rituals of the state that were in high demand from the royal courts of the kingdom of Gianyar. To fulfil the requirements of these ceremonies they became proficient in music, dance, craving and painting. The high concentration of artists in Banjar Pekanddelan, the central part of the area, and previously home to the King’s artists, remains a unique characteristic of Batuan today.

Batuan paintings are held with special esteem within the context of Balinese art. They have endured and evolved through the highs and lows of the ever-changing social, economic and political climate that has shaped the island during the past 85 years. Beginning in the early 1930’s, when foreign influences were instrumental in the changing course of traditional painting, the village artists began to develop a unique style of their own.

Often dark and moody sketches in black Chinese ink, the compositions were generally dense and crowded. The colour ranged from the pure white of the paper or canvas to deeply saturated dark tones, together creating striking contrasts. The imagery, layered in patterns, appeared to pulsate in visual rhythms out from the painting in waves of swirling motion. In the 1970’s the style was revolutionized, the compositions became larger, highly detailed, dynamic and colourful with universal themes. Of all the genres of Balinese modern traditional painting that evolved from commercial demand, this style is the most internationally renowned. It is Made Griyawan’s cultural inheritance.

Made Griyawan - image by Richard Horstman                                                                     Made Griyawan

Lineage and the master pupil relationship has played an important role in the development of Batuan painting. The youngest of three boys, all of who followed in footsteps of their father, the accomplished painter Wayan Taweng (1926-2005), Griyawan was sketching and painting at an early age. Taweng himself trained under one of the foremost artists of Batuan, Nyoman Ngendon (1903-1936).

Drawing is the fundamental element of the paintings, after which Griyawan adds layers of colour, and then completes the work with fine black outlines. The visual impact is strengthened by the relationship of colors, soft yellows and blues, for example, exist side-by-side, conflicting and vibrating against one another. He is sensitive to adding rhythmic black lines that define seascapes and landscapes creating life and motion. Yet all the while the atmosphere is calming; in these works it is Griyawan’s own personal spirit that comes shining through.

The story line however, is often of the most interest. They may come from his own person experience and beliefs that he transforms into narratives that involve one or two central characters, often a person or sage who are engaged in the challenges of life and commit to a journey seeking higher knowledge. Recently, both social and environmental themes have been a focus. Humor is selectively introduced and plays a vital role in his narratives, which then become playful and light-hearted. “I want to make paintings with messages for humanity and of how we must look forward into the future positively,” Griyawan says. “I want them to be soothing and to bring people peace.”

"Swimming in Peacefulness".Made Griyawan . image by R. Horstman                                 “Swimming in Peacefulness”  –  Made Griyawan

Significant change in Griyawan’s art occurred in 2009. Having fulfilled a sense of competency, stylistically and technically he was determined to explore themes that were more personal, and hence more meaningful as well. As an artist this is where Griyawan began to reveal maturity beyond his age. “As I grow older and more dedicated to my spiritual practice I have become clearer in body and mind; my intuition has become more finely tuned. As a result I am able to receive answers to my questions about life. I then translate these into my work.”

The sense of community is one of the foundations of the Balinese culture, and indeed the art community as well. Griyawan is constantly socially active, not only building networks, yet sharing his skills and good will. In 2012 responding to a belief that Batuan painting was in decline, he, along with other artists were instrumental in the formation of a new art collective: the Baturulangan Artist’s Association. There has been a resurgence of Batuan painting and this has been evident in three stunning exhibitions in the museums of Ubud since 2012.

A regular finalist in one of Indonesia’s most respected art awards, the UOB Painting of the Year Award, Griyawan has just completed a series of 20 paintings on paper for exhibitions in Tokyo in October 2016. Japanese art lovers have long embraced Balinese painting and over the years Griyawan has made many Japanese friends. He will participate in two events, the Tokyo Art Fair where he will exhibit along with giving painting demonstrations. Following this Griyawan’s first solo exhibition will be held at the Omotesando Hills Gallery in Tokyo.

painting by Made Griyawan, photo by Richard Horstman

Made Griyawan, Image Richard Horstman








































Tracing Fake Paintings in Indonesia

DSCF4459The book ‘Jejak Lukisan Palsu Indonesia published by the PPSI.

In April 2012 at the opening of the exhibition ‘Back to the Basics’ at the OHD Museum in Magelang, Central Java, the most senior collector and supporter of Indonesian modern and contemporary art, Dr. Oei Hong Djien (OHD) exhibited paintings by late Indonesian master’s that were yet to be seen in public. OHD’s museum houses several thousand fine-art pieces, spanning a century of work by emerging Indonesian artists to established masters.

Included in ‘Back to the Basics’ were works by Affandi, Widyat, Soedibio, Sudjojono and Hendra Gunawan. However for certain art observers and family members of some of the fore mentioned artists, shock and disappointment was the order of the night. OHD exhibited works of questionable authenticity. His museum has previously been a target of numerous allegations of forgery regarding many pieces by late maestros — including Raden Saleh, Affandi, Hendra Gunawan and S. Sudjojono — in its collection.

The weeks that followed were rife with uproar in the Indonesian art world eventually leading to the Fine Art Round Table Discussion in Jakarta 24 May, a meeting of senior art figures, including OHD, engaging on matters that previously arose at the OHD Museum. On request OHD has since been unable to disclose provenance, detailed sequences of notes or source of origin of purchase of any of the suspected works. OHD, however welcomed independent investigative analysis of the paintings.

The issue of forgeries is not a new subject in the art world. Yet with the Indonesian art world lacking standard criteria, academic documentation and copyright laws relating to fine art, gaps appear that allow fertile grounds for the business of forgeries. Numerous forgeries have changed hands within the Indonesia and since 1980 the business of making forgeries has been large. It is believed that during 1980’s boom at least 10% of Indonesian modern maestro’s paintings entering auction houses were fakes.

In response to this issue has been the release of the book in May 2014 at the National Gallery of Jakarta, “Jejak Lukisan Palsu Indonesia” (Tracing Fake Paintings in Indonesia) by the PPSI, the Perkumpulan Pencinta Senirupa Indonesia (the Indonesian Art Lover’s Association).

The extensively researched 382-page book, targeting art collectors, contains articles by senior art curators, collectors, academics and police representatives, as well as investigations into the practice of forgery, articles by experts and recommendations in identifying fake paintings. The book reveals that the business of forgeries is very well organized and outlines the 3 main practices involved in copying paintings. The PPSI hope the book will serve as input for the government to improve Indonesian copyright laws and that an institution may evolve that serves as a body of information and a forum for discussion that will protect the consumer.

On 23 January 2016 following on from similar events in Jakarta and Yogyakarta last year (that attracted large audiences) the PPSI conducted the discussion and exhibition “Lukisan Asli & Palsu – Problematika Seni Rupa Kita” (Original & Fake Paintings – The Problem with Our Fine Art) at Rumah Topeng and Wayang Setiadarma in Mas, Ubud. The exhibition continues until 3 February.

The first discussion began at 10am, moderated by Dr. Wayan Kun Adnyana and featured Inda C. Noerhadi discussing counterfeit paintings and copyrights, and then Syakeib Sungkar (one of the authors of “Jejak Lukisan Palsu Indonesia” along with Agus Dermawan T. Prof. Dr. Agus Sardjono S.H., M.H.; Aminudin T.H. Siregar; Amir Sidharta; Asiong; Bambang Bujono; Mikke Susanto; Rusharyanto, S.H.; Wicaksono Ad) discussing the “ins and outs” of fake paintings in Indonesia.

The final session of the day concluded at 2pm, moderated by Arif B. Prasetyo included Bambang Bujono discussing the issue of reading the paintings in the Sudjojono collection at the Museum OHD, and Amir Sidharta discussing the works of Soedibio in the Museum OHD. The event was attended by senior members of the art community in Bali, along with artists, students, the media and interested members of the public, and was an open forum allowing the audience to present statements and questions to the panels.

Within the exhibition at Rumah Topeng is a selection of paintings in question by the Soedibio, Hendra Gunawan and Sudjojono that are digital reproductions of the original paintings, and of the paintings that OHD has collected that he claims to be authentic and appear in his book Lima Maestros.  The exhibition allows an opportunity for observers to compare side-by-side paintings of certain and unclear provenance.

Art Critic, historian and columnist Jean Couteau stated, “Before I saw the book I knew there were a few things that were not proper taking place, however after studying the book “Jejak Lukisan Palsu Indonesia” that shows good forensic demonstrations and analysis of the elements of the paintings under scrutiny there was very little doubt that the paintings are fakes. We have to know whether OHD was a victim or implicated in the events and to what extent? However, because OHD has not attempted to explain his situation in any way we can be left with little doubt. In my opinion there needs to be more exposure of the names of the artists who are making the forgeries.”

Asked how can the Indonesian art world benefit from OHD coming forward and making some sort of admission and movement to bring a closure to this issue? Couteau  responded, “The Indonesia art market is at an all time low now after the boom of 2008 and the issue of counterfeit paintings has created lack of confidence and fear.  There are few new collectors wishing to enter the market. If there is some response by OHD the results will be a change in market confidence.”  Internationally speaking, the issue has also reflects poorly upon on the Indonesian art world.

Budi Setiadharma, president of the PPSI said, “Despite the event and the book project requiring enormous amounts of time and money the PPSI are dedicated to their cause and the next project will the publishing of a shorter and refined version of the book “Jejak Lukisan Palsu Indonesia”. This will be made available for retail sale at a cheaper price allowing it to be accessible to a greater market of Indonesian people, especially students.” The was a special presentation of the book by Setiadharma to senior members of the Balinese art community including Tjorkorda Bagus (Museum Puri Lukisan) Sutedja Neka (Founder of Neka Museum) and Agung Rai (Founder ARMA Museum).


“Pengeran Diponegoro Menyaksikan Kemenangan”  – Sudjojono 1979


“Perang Diponegoro” 1960

The painting pictured above is a digital reproduction of work that is claimed to be by Sudjojono and appears in OHD’s book “Lima Maestros” on page 78. A brief comparison the two paintings above reveals vast differences in compositions, coloration, style of depiction of figures.


“Kawan – Kawan Revolusi” – Sudjojono 1947


“Wajah – Wajah Pejoeang” 1947

The painting pictured above is a digital reproduction of work that is claimed to be by Sudjojono and appears in OHD’s book “Lima Maestros” on page 67. Again the two paintings above reveal vast differences.



Senior members of the Bali art community with the book Jejak Lukisna Palsu Indonesia and PPSI president Budi Setiadharma (fifth from the right).