Monthly Archives: April 2016

Budiana’s Udayana Visual Epic

Ketut Budiana, Sept 2014, Image by Richard Horstman                                                                 Ketut Budiana

A historical collaboration between the Udayana University of Bali and the Bentara Budaya Cultural Center Denpasar on Friday 15 April highlighted a landmark event in Balinese painting presenting the works of master artist Ketut Budiana. Officiated by the Governor of Bali, Made Mangku Pastika, the exhibition is titled “King Udayana : A Visual Epic”.

The exhibition features an enormous narrative canvas, the dimensions of 8339 x 140 cm spanning the walls of the exhibition pavilion. The story pays homage to the 10th century king Udayana Warmadewa, known as one of the earliest historical figures of ancient Bali. His identification as the father of the famous Airlangga, the hero-king of Java, has led him to be the prominent figure in Balinese history in par with ancient Java. As the result his name is associated with Balinese past greatness.



The painting’s storyline includes the cycle and stages of life according to the Balinese philosophies. Art critic and historian Jean Couteau states, “Budiana “talks” of Udayana’s birth in Bali, education in Java, and union, through his son Airlangga, of the kingdoms of Bali and Java. His portrayal of the king’s life story is a “model” of how the Hindu-Balinese ought to manage the four goals of human life (Catur Purusa Art): dharma-virtue, kama-desire, artha-earthly goods and moksa-the ultimate melting in the cosmos. Humans must properly combine these “goals” of life in the four stages of their life.”


This exhibition both glorifies the past but also reflects on the contemporary at the same time hoping for a brighter the future for Bali. The painting reflects the Balinese people’s philosophical approach to life while also appearing in form similar to the traditional Kamasan paintings that were often created on long single rolls of cloth. The opening was attended by delegates of the Balinese government and Udayana University and members of the Bali and Indonesian art community who were treated to an interpretive dance performance by students from the Udayana University .

From Birth


After the exhibition at the Bentara Budaya Bali, which finishes 22 April the paintings permanent new home will be on the higher walls of the rectorate’s main hall in the Udayana University in Jimbaran, and will be open to the general public. Stories about Udayana and his administration have not been so well known to the public.

The greatest Balinese artists are those who experiment with form, composition and materials, while interpreting the narratives and infusing their artworks with their own character and style. Except for Bali’s first modern artist, the iconic architect + artist Gusti Nyoman Lempad (1865? -1978), no other Balinese artist has forged a path of such unique quality as has Ketut Budiana, who’s sketches are often compared with Lempad’s.




Born into a family of master artisans in the village of Padang Tegal, Ubud in 1950 Budiana is highly skilled as a sculptor and architect, and specializes in making scared temple images, ceremonial masks and sarcophagus for ritual cremations. A former art teacher, he studied art at SSRI, the Indonesian School of Art in Denpasar and briefly with renowned Dutch painter and architect Rudolf Bonnet.

Budiana began painting in the early 70’s and exhibiting from 1974 and has shown his work in 8 foreign countries while he has won a string of local and international awards. He has been active as a curator at Ubud’s Museum Puri Lukisan from 1986 – 1990 while serving in 1990 as a curator at ARMA museum, and has contributed numerous articles and essays to various publications. Budiana has regularly exhibited at Bentara Budaya Bali while also exhibiting at Bentara Budaya Jakarta and Yogyakarta.




Budiana invites the audience to wonder clockwise around the pavilion to engage with this poetic masterwork. Budiana’s work is laid out in such as way as to occupy the four directions of the compass, with their respective gods, and colors, symbolically linking the human existence with the cosmos Often described as a “fantastic’ painter” Budiana communicates stories that appear to come from the subconscious in dream like imagery.

Paintings appear as a swirling mass of waves, clouds and non descript forms – a world of seething movement. On closer inspection, however, his images and shapes undergo strange and unexpected transformations, coalescing into fantastic yet monstrous and even grotesque figures. This movement and transformation reflect the fluidity and infinite essence of the universe continually being reformed and recreated.

His works contain confronting figures of power – desire, destruction, energy and force – yet desire and destruction are both essential in the material world and inescapable. They are a part of the nature of matter, at the center of the mystery of life itself. Budiana’s work draws the observer to a deeper encounter with the self, so they may distinguish that all of the dark, threatening and monstrous imagery suggested in his paintings is a reflection of the self.











Artpreciation – Art Tourism in Bali

Visiting Made Wiantas Studio. Image by Artpreciation                                         Artpreciation visits Made Wianta’s studio.

During the past decade the phenomenal growth of wellness and spiritual tourism in Ubud has become a huge boom for the Bali tourism sector.  Art, one of the original cultural icons that in the 1930’s positioned Bali on the international tourist map, however, is yet to be fully appreciated and realized for its enormous tourism potential.

Phoenix Communications, based in Kuta, Bali has recently launched the first specialist guided art tours in Bali. Artpreciation, a program of Balinese art discovery for small groups is a journey into the knowledge and practices that includes lectures by art authorities, visits to galleries and museums, visiting hotels with extensive art collections and exclusive access to the intriguing studios of prominent Balinese artists.

“Celebrated for its beautiful tropical landscapes and the warm hospitality of the people, Balinese culture and art are unique treasures that deserve the discerning traveler’s undivided attention,” says Alistair Spiers, the founder of Artpreciation, entrepreneur, and publisher of popular cultural and tourism magazines Now! Bali and Now! Jakarta.

Agung Rai at ARMA Museum, Image Richard Horstman                                         Founder of the ARMA Museum Agung Rai

“There is a lot of talk about Bali being an art center, however very little is done to actually promote it and make it accessible,” Spiers added. “Indonesia’s culture is shrinking as rapidly as fast food and convenience stores open. If we don’t finance the preservation of culture through tourism we will lose it all together. We need art and cultural tourism in Bali to protect and support these incredibly important aspects of Indonesia’s life.

“My career has been directed towards the exposure and promotion of this beautiful country and its culture, to try to get the world – and especially its own citizens – to appreciate it and protect it,” he adds.

Visiting Ubud’s famous Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA), lectures on the history of Balinese and Indonesian art, guided tours of senior Balinese artists Made Wianta, Mangu Putra and Made Djirna’s studios are features of the Artpreciation tours. Charismatic ambassador of Balinese culture and founder of ARMA Agung Rai delights in sharing his knowledge about his important collection of Balinese art, along with explaining architectural features of the museum and cultural distinctions of the Balinese people. Wandering through ARMA with Agung Rai is one of the tour highlights.

Balinese: Indonesian art lecture at Tugu Hotel Bali. Image by Artpreciation                            Lecture on Indonesian & Balinese Art at Tugu Hotel Bali

“Artpreciation tours are both very interesting and important, not only for foreign visitors, yet also for the Balinese people,” said Agung Rai. “There is now a lack of appreciation and understanding of the content, ideology and symbolism behind the traditions, along with the overall development of Balinese art. Appreciation and understanding is essential in not only the development of young Balinese artists, yet in all generations, to be more aware of the religious, social and artistic values of Balinese art which is a unique part of our heritage.”

“People may observe, yet not fully understand the cultural relevance or the enduring soul of the art. There interest may be only to buy and sell,” he said. “The missing link is the communication of the harmonic, universal values and Artpreciation tours are essential in educating people and ultimately assisting in the appreciation and survival of Balinese art.”

The artistic creative process is often misunderstood and perceived as “other worldly” or mysterious by people who consider themselves “not creative or without artistic talent”. Venturing into the studios of internationally renowned artists Wianta, Mangu Putra and Djirna add an exciting element to the tours. Their collection of paintings, sculptures and installations in their studios are not only visually exhilarating, yet complete with fascinating individual stories. The artists take pleasure in openly sharing their knowledge about their inspirations, ideas and technical processes.

Visiting Made Wiantas Studio. Image Artpreciation                                                                   Made Wianta’s Studio

“Usually art collectors do not know where to begin,” said historian and art critic Jean Couteau, who is also one of the presenters of the Artpreciation tours, along with curator Arif B. Prasetyo. “There is such a huge amount of “art” being made in Bali and an abundance of “galleries” that it is hard for collectors to make their choices. With limited supportive infrastructure to assist visitors and collectors to become more knowledgeable skillfully presented tours become an essential. Artpreciation makes their learning and selection process much easier.”

Several combinations of the Artpreciation tours are available providing clients full and half day tours. Including hotel pick up your tour may begin with a presentation and lecture about the history of Balinese and Indonesian art, or how to collect Balinese art, followed by a museum tour or a visit to an antique or contemporary art collector. Lunch at fine dinning venue will be next on the agenda where you can sit down with the tour presenter and continue your conversations. The day then culminates with a visit to an artist’s studio and finally transportation back to your hotel. Clients may even custom design their own tours.

Perfect for art lovers, art collectors, or even the curious wanting direct access and the opportunity to learn deep insights into the unique character of Balinese art, Artpreciation is a welcomed addition to the Bali tourism sector and an asset to cultural preservation.

For more information visit:






TiTian Bali Art Foundation


Merging perceptions and practices from the past with the present, along with an innovative vision for the future, Yayasan TiTian Bali, a new art foundation launched 29 January 2016 at Bentara Budaya Bali cultural center, is set to revolutionize Balinese art.

The inauguration of TiTian Bali Foundation (YTB), which dedicated to the support and promotion of Balinese visual arts (especially painting and wood carving) coincided with the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Pita Maha artists association in Ubud in 1936.


Chairman of the Board of Advisors of YTB  Soemantri Widagdo during the launching ceremony at Bentara Budaya Bali.

The Pita Maha (great spirit) was formed by Corkorda Gede Agung Sukawati the king of Ubud, along with Balinese maestro I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, and foreign artists Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet. The collective functioned to monitored the progress of a new and developing genre of art, Balinese modern traditional art, while forging new national and international markets for the local paintings and woodcarvings.

“Bali has an enormous cultural heritage that is at risk due to the disruptions caused by modern technological, social and cultural changes sweeping the world,” said the Chairman of the Board of Advisors of YTB Soemantri Widagdo. “YTB will assist Balinese visual artists not only to navigate and survive this massive change, but to become successful enough to drive the creative economies in Bali and Indonesia. We intend to place Balinese art on global platforms.”

TiTian Art Space. Image by Richard Horstman                                                TiTian Art Space, Jalan Bisma Ubud

YTB supports talented Balinese artists to become art-entrepreneurs, to benefit from and to be the drivers of the new opportunities of the 21st century creative economy while maintaining the integrity of their unique cultural heritage. “TiTian Bali is being founded as an effort to “reframe” the potential of Balinese Visual Arts within the creative economy,” Widagdo said who has more than 25 years experience in Balinese arts as a curator, former international liaisons officer with Museum Puri Lukisan and co author of the books, ‘Lempad of Bali: The Illuminating Line’, the catalogue of the life and work of Gusti Nyoman Lempad, and the 2008 Musuem Puri Lukisan 50th anniversary catalogue “Ida Bagus Made – The Art of Devotion”.

The inauguration featured the presentation of the Pusaka Seni (Art Heritage) Award, an annual award to honor achievement to historical and living Balinese artists and art patrons who have made extraordinary life long contributions to Balinese art and culture, and was made to I Gusti Nyoman Lempad (1862-1978) and A.A Muning, the long standing curator of Museum Puri Lukisan.

Wayan Aris Sarmanta  "Kautan Alam dan Batuan" 2015 Image Richard Horstman                               Wayan Aris Sarmanta  –  “Kautan Alam dan Batuan”

A preview of the exhibition “The Concept of Rwa-Bhineda in Balinese Art” featuring paintings in the genres of Balinese modern traditional, and contemporary art by some of Bali’s most talented artists, including Nyoman Dwiarta, Putu Kusuma, Ida Bagus Purwa and Ketut Astawa, was a highlight of the evening. The exhibition continues at the YTB headquarters at the TiTian Art Space in Jalan Bisma, Ubud. The opening was officiated by a representative of the Minister of Cooperatives, and Small and Medium Enterprises, along with the Vice Head of Creative Economy Agency of the Indonesia government Ricky Pesik. “We have had an enormously positive response from the Creative Economy Agency and are looking forward to on going discussions with them,” Widagdo said.

With plans to build a Museum of Contemporary Art (Bali MOCA), an international class museum located in Ubud, within the next ten years, exhibiting both old and new work of the highest quality, YTB expects to inspire new directions and achievements in Balinese art, while being the premier hub for Balinese visual arts by 2021.

Ida Bagus Purwa "Eliquilibrium" 2016 Image by Richard Horstman                                                      Ida Bagus Purwa – “Eliquilibrium”

“There will be two foundations under the umbrella of TiTian Bali, Titian means bridge, or stepping-stone in Balinese,” said Widagdo. “The other the international face that will be a collective of art thinkers and people from different expertise including fundraisers.” Some of the worlds leading academics on Balinese culture, Adrian Vickers, Professor of S.E Asian Studies at the Sydney University, and Associate Professor of ancient history of S.E Asia at Leiden University, Hedi Hinzler will sit on the Board of Advisors of YTB.

YTB will serve as a nurturing, experimental playground and launch pad for young talented Balinese artists and also scouting for new talent. It will educate artists in how they can negotiate with all of the stakeholders in the international art world. TiTian Art Space will function as an office, art space, gallery, meeting place, artists in residency venue, an archival centre plugging into other existing databases, along with a centre for research, studies, and centre of conservation of Balinese art, specializing in conservation in the tropics.

Made Dwiarta 2015, Image Richard Horstman                                                                     Made Dwiarta

The 21st century ushers in a new paradigm of global thinking and the art world is responding and evolving especially due to the impact of the internet and social media which is empowering individuals to develop global brands and presence. Yayasan TiTian Bali is building a new eco system for Balinese art for the 21st Century.

Putu Kusuma 2015 Keliki                                                                    Putu Kusuma

Recent events at TiTian Art Space include a workshop for artists on how to set prices for their art works and upcoming a special workshop on educating young and new art collectors entering the market. For more information on upcoming evens go to the website listed below.

TiTian Bali Art Space

Jalan Bisma #88, Ubud, Bali

Open to the public daily 10am – 6pm













Review – Larasati 10th Anniversary Balinese Modern Traditional & Contemporary Art Auction

"Patih Lahwel" Ida Bagus Made Togog.Sold for Rp. 40,000,000. Image courtesy of Larasati                                  Patih Lahwel  –  Ida Bagus Made Togog


Results of the special 10th anniversary Larasati Balinese Modern Traditional & Contemporary Art auction at Ubud’s ARMA museum 28 February confirm that the market for Balinese traditional art is growing steadily while providing excellent value through the low to medium and high price ranges.

For sale amongst the 81 lots were wood cravings, one contemporary sculpture, sets of lithographs, watercolours, pastels and ink sketches on paper, and paintings on canvas in natural colours, oils and acrylics at prices beginning at a low Rp. 1.5 million (all sold works incur a buyers premium added on top of the hammer price).

An exciting feature of the sale was Larasati Auctioneers providing for the first ever real time data over the internet allowing easy, direct access to buying opportunities for a global audience. With 90% of the works sold (including 3 over the internet), along with the enormous response by bidders on the phone, (more 25% of the works sold), and all the major lots of “Young & Old Masters” selling, the auction was a huge success.

Wayan Sudana, "Tari Arja", 120x150cm, Acrylic on canvas. sold for Rp. 65,000,000                                    Tari Arja  –  Wayan Sudana


“When we started our Bali auctions 10 years ago the buyers were 95% Indonesians,” said Daniel Komala CEO of Larasati Auctioneers, who was very happy with the auction’s results. “In attendance at the auction was a great mix of people, the majority non-Indonesians, and even though the Balinese traditional market is a small niche market, it is truly an international market. Our first experience with real time online platform functioned excellently and we are excited about the future prospects for the growing pool international collectors.”

Paintings by A.A Gede Anom Sukawati (b.1966 Ubud) are rarely available to either the primary or secondary markets (new works and pre-owned). Renowned as one of the finest “Young Masters” Lot #40 “Tari Joged Bumbung”, 2008, with a low estimate price between Rp. 80,000,000 – 120,000,000 sold for Rp. 180,000,000, being one of the most highly prized works of the day. Lot # 39 “Pementasan Calon Arang” by Ida Bagus Putu Sena (b.1966 Ubud) is also a work of extraordinary quality by an artists whose works are difficult to find and sold at the top end of the estimate price at Rp. 200,000,000.

Another highly sought after painting by bidders on the floor and the phone, pushing the price well above the estimated price was Lot #38 “Arja Dance” by Wayan Sudana (1966 Peliatan). This vibrant 120 x 150 cm acrylic on canvas composition sold for Rp. 65,000,000. Considered a ritual specialist from a high caste Brahmin priest family Ida Bagus Made Poleng (1915-1999 Tebesaya) had a special relationship with his paintings, calling them “his children” and rarely sold his works. The most prized of all Balinese painters, Lot #80 his “Legong Dance”, received much attention from phone bidders and sold for Rp. 750,000,000.

Gusti Nyoman Lempad, "The Witch and the Servant" Ink on paper. sold for Rp. 120,000,000 Image courtesy of Larasati                        The Witch and the Servant  –  Gusti Nyoman Lempad


Good buys were definitely available at the top end of the auction and Lot # 79,“The Witch and the Servant”, an ink sketch on paper by Gusti Nyoman Lempad (1862-1978 Ubud), considered ‘the’ modern master of Balinese art, sold for Rp. 120,000,000 just under the estimated price. As too was Lot # 66 “Playing Domino’s” by Ida bagus Made Nadera (1915-1989) “Playing Dominos”, estimated by between Rp.10,000,000 -15,000,000 and selling at Rp.10,000,000, Lot # 76 “Upcara Potong Gigi” Ida Bagus Made Widja (1912-1992 Batuan) selling at 18,000,000, and a glowing flora and fauna composition in the Pengosekan style Lot #65 “Harmoni Kehidupan” by Ketut Gelgel, which sold at Rp. 65,000,000. Each of these works are museum quality.

Three of the most highly coveted works in the auction all sold within their estimated prices, Lot # 77, “Blissfully Sleeping” by the maestro of wood carving from Mas village, Ida Bagus Nyana (1912-1985) at Rp.280,000,000, Lot #81 “Boy With Bamboo Stick”, by Made Sukada (1945-1982) hammered down at Rp. 105,000,000 and Lot #78 “Triwikrama” by Gusti Ketut Kobot (1917-1999) which sold for Rp. 80,000,000. Lot #75, however, by Ida Bagus Made Togog (1913-1989 Batuan) an extraordinary black and grey ink sketch on paper “Patih Lahwel” was a hot item selling at more than twice its estimate, at Rp. 40,000,0000 – a rare and special work.

“Harmoni Kehidupan” Ketut Gelgel, sold for Rp. 65,000,000. Image courtesy Larasati                                  Harmoni Kehidupan  –  Ketut Gelgel


For new collectors to the market there were good works by favoured artists available at low prices and it must be noted that works are obtainable via auction cheaper than buying directly from artist’s studios. A 10 year future projection of current prices would confirm that buying now is a sound investment, while researching prices from the Larasati auctions 10 years ago confirm this to be true.

Balinese traditional art offers enormous scope for the astute investor to capitalize. The prices for the old masters of Balinese art remain strong and the market is expanding in a healthy way. The fact that the market is growing slowly, yet solidly is a fine achievement for Larasati Auctioneers.

A.A Gede Anom Sukawati-"Tari Joged Bumbung". Image courtesy of Larasati                        Tari Joged Bumbung  –  A.A. Gede Anom Sukawati


Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Courtesy of Larasati