Category Archives: Indonesia Contemporary Sculpture

TiTian Art Foundation online exhibition supports Balinese marginalised by Covid19

‘Satelit purba / Ancient satellite’, # 41 2013 – Ida Bagus Punia Atmaja, Mixed Media, 33x51x16cm.

Tiny eyes peer out from enigmatic, otherworldly creatures. Their contorted bodies, shimmering in colorful metallic hues, endowed with appendages that defy description. Fascinated, yet perplexed, I wonder what I am observing. Are these oddities types of oversized  micro-organisms that dwell deep inside of me, or aliens from a distant galaxy?

I first discovered the fantastic paper mâché creations of contemporary Balinese artist Ida Bagus Punia Atmaja in Ubud in 2018. His eye-catching constellation of over one hundred vibrant mysteries suspended from nylon lines resonated with a distinct charm and aura. In its raw simplicity and uniqueness, his display was one of the most captivating and authentic installations I had seen in Bali for quite some time. The experience was calming and nurturing.

‘Satelit purba / Ancient satellite #44’, 2013 – Ida Bagus Punia Atmaja, Mixed Media, 55x35x16 cm

Ida Bagus Punia Atmaja: A CoVid-19 Solidarity Exhibition, an online presentation of forty-four artworks, began 28 April and continues through to 28 May 2020. An initiative of TiTian Art Space and the TiTian Bali Foundation, in Nyuh Kuning, Ubud, the E-catalogue of Punia’s works is available for download from the TiTian website.

“The CoVid-19 pandemic presented us with a dire and extreme situation. With the lockdown, the postponement of art and cultural events and the halt of domestic and international tourism the board of Yayasan TiTian Bali (TiTian Bali Foundation) were presented with an enormous challenge. How to remain relevant and make a contribution to the development of Balinese art during this unusual global crisis?” said Rio Riawan, the curator of TiTian Art Space, and the head of Research & Development of Yayasan TiTian Bali.

Detail of ‘Satelit purba / Ancient satellite #42’, 2013 – Ida Bagus Punia Atmaja, Mixed Media.

“Our response was to develop two new digital programs, art news and education for children away from school and staying home during the lockdown, and online exhibitions available to the public through our social media platforms and website,” he stated. “TiTian’s first solo online exhibition is a new format and a fundraiser to help reduce the impact of CoVid-19. 50% of the proceeds will be donated to the people of Bali affected by the island’s economic downturn.”

“In this period of great calamity and uncertainty it is important that artists continue to make valuable contributions to the development of society,” Rio stated, and continued, “Art is a welcome respite from our anxieties and the madness of this world.”

“Punia’s works involve a ritualistic, spiritual approach. He has his own way to talk about Bali, and his works bring positive messages to inspire humanity,” said Rio, “He creates artistic concepts and forms that are new. At the same time, sometimes, he is very critical, humorous, and even magical. In my opinion, this is a significant development in the way of thinking of a Balinese artist.”

‘Satelit purba / Ancient satellite #16’, 2013 – Ida Bagus Punia Atmaja, Mixed Media, 28x23x7.5 cm.

“As a child, I loved the mysterious stories my grandmother told me before sleeping at night; I believed they were real. Later, some of these stories secretly came to life through my drawings,” said Ida Bagus Punia Atmaja, who was born in Jembrana, West Bali in 1979 and studied fine art at the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI), Yogyakarta in 1998. “I thought what I liked with regards to creative expressions, others liked also. I discovered, however, that my assumptions were wrong.”

“My ancient satellites to came to me like a vision in a dream while sleeping,” Punia said. “They are the response to my prayers I made in a temple in order to receive divine intervention to help assist my artistic journey and have led me in a new creative direction.  They are a representation of taksu (sacred energy).”

Ida Gus Punia Atmaja and his creations, 2013 Image courtesy Ida Bagus Punia Atmaja

“Paper was chosen as the material, despite having no relation to Balinese art traditions, because it was easily processed to form the exact texture what I wanted. How to disguise the impression of paper on the surface of the works is a process that I learned myself,” he said of working with paper mâché.

Ida Bagus Punia Atmaja was raised in an upper-caste Brahmin family, his father and grandfather are pendandas, Balinese high priests. Punia’s artwork is based upon his observations and understanding of the results of living in a traditional culture. He reinterprets this not by following traditions, yet by listening to his inner voice and creating distinct and innovative expressions that present a fresh direction in contemporary Balinese sculpture.

‘Satelit purba / Ancient satellite’ #42, 2013 – Ida Bagus Punia Atmaja, Mixed Media, 35x57x23cm.

Punia’s collaboration with TiTian Art Space is his second solo exhibition, his first ‘Ekonom, Ekonomi, Ekonomis’ was held at Gedung GM, Jembrana in 2009.  He was an invited artist in the most crucial Balinese exhibition of 2016,  Merayakan Murni at Sudakara Art Space, Sanur,  which celebrated the legacy of the iconic female Balinese artist I GAK Murniaishi (1966-2006). He was also a participant in the group show MAHARDIKA at TiTian Art Space, in October 2019.

The E-catalogue includes the images and details of Punia’s creations; fourteen ‘Extra Small’ works ranging in sizes from about 10 by 10 by 4cm, with a price of IDR 280,000, fourteen ‘Small’ works in sizes from 16 by 15 by 5 cm and are priced at IDR 700,000, five ‘Medium’ sculptures with dimensions ranging from 25 by 20 by 8cm with a price tag of IDR 1,400,000, six ‘Large’ works sized from 25 by 25 by 13cm and priced at IDR 2,800,000 and four ‘Extra-large’ pieces sized from 33 by 51 by 16cm upwards to 55 by 36 by16cm and are priced at IDR 4,200,000.

Ida Bagus Punia Atmaja: A CoVid-19 Solidarity Exhibition

Continues through until 28 May, 2020.

50% of the proceeds donated to the people of Bali affected by Covid19

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Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Courtesy of TiTian Art Space

Balinese traditional practices fuse with contemporary ideas in Wayan Arnata’s beautiful fibrous artworks

‘White Monkey’ 2019 – Wayan Arnata

Balinese artist Wayan Arnata first came to my attention in June 2013 in the landmark exhibition ‘Irony in Paradise’ by the collective Sanggar Dewata Indonesia (SDI) at the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) in Ubud, Bali.  ‘Nike Barong’ 2013, Arnata’s mixed media reflection upon the changing nature of the Balinese identity depicted the iconic Balinese ceremonial lion character, the Barong, wearing Nike shoes. While the theme of the work was not unusual, it was the 3-dimensional aesthetics along with the work’s technical aspects that caught my eye.

Arnata adopts the practice of Ngodi, a traditional decorative technique using natural fibers applied to Balinese cremation sarcophagi into his compositions applied directly onto conventional canvases along with acrylic paints. While he also creates installations his works include an array of media such as timber, bamboo, wire, styrofoam, grades of yarn (natural and synthetic fibres used for knitting and weaving), stove wick and hessian. Natural fibres have distinct cultural references in Indonesia due to the rich heritage of indigenous textiles throughout the archipelago.

‘Barong Nike’ 2013 – Wayan Arnata

“My technical approach is influenced by my childhood memories of my grandfather, a sangging, master of the various techniques involved with Balinese traditional ritual and ceremony,” said Arnata who was born in Sukawati, Gianyar in 1973. “I was fascinated by the creative activities my grandfather did as ‘gotong royong’ in service to the community. The finished works were beautiful yet required great patience and skill layering line upon line of fibres into the works.”

In 1995 Arnata began experimenting with an array of fibrous media and from 1993 – 1996 he studied and graduated in Fine Arts at Indonesian Institute of Art (ISI), in Yogyakarta.  Living outside of his village traditions and island home in Yogyakarta introduced him to new cultures and ideas that helped inspire his unorthodox style of artistic expression, which is a meeting of traditional practices with contemporary art ideas. Arnata had previously worked in dynamic palettes of oil and acrylic in the painting genre of abstract expressionism. 

‘Sang Pemburu’ 2019 – Wayan Arnata

Arnata’s work has evolved since 2013 becoming increasingly visually complex and technically demanding, while involving more in-depth thematic explorations, especially into self-identity. ‘Integrity’ is his first solo exhibition held in 2015 and featured twenty-four creations, including one installation, in a body of work produced over three years. His fascinating array of visual languages combining diverse media revealed his openness to push the potential boundaries of materiality. Some of Arnata’s compositions appeared to swirl and intertwine, expanding outwards in dazzling rhythmic patterns akin to the visual style of traditional Balinese painting.

In Jakarta in October 2017 Arnata’s ‘Foot Prints’, one of more than 500 contemporary artworks submitted in the 2017 UOB Painting of the Year Indonesia competition was endorsed by the Indonesian art establishment. Arnata received one of the highest accolades in the Indonesian art world, the UOB Painting of the Year Indonesia Bronze Award. UOB Indonesia identifies artistic talents and provides them with opportunities to hone their skills and showcase their works to a wider community.  Arnata’s multi-coloured picture features non-descript imagery along with human footprints and is characterized by the horizontal threads of fibre emphasising the passages of time. The varying footprint sizes define the human journey from the child to the adult.

‘Footprints’ 2017 – Wayan Arnata

“The work is themed upon the processes I encounter in life, the process of making the artwork, and the processes within the journey of life. The footprints are symbolic and explain my search for identity,” the artist said and continued. “As a Balinese, there are many processes to be endured within the cycle of life. For example, the traditional Balinese calendar only allows me to work on my art for 15 – 20 days the rest of the month requires me to attend to the customs and traditions at the heart of my culture.”

“I regard the thread as a metaphor for a span of time. It is a line connecting a one period with the next. The philosophy behind my work is the exploration of time and space between tradition and modernity. What I see, do and feel; my day-to-day experiences concerning my social life within traditional society is an ongoing inspiration for my work.”

‘Introspeksi Diri’ 2016 – Wayan Arnata

Arnata is currently working on a body of work that he will exhibit within the next few years. His new compositions, admits the artist, are becoming more expressive and abstraction in style. The new works feature characters and themes related to the Wayang shadow puppet theatre, a philosophical cornerstone of the Balinese Hindu culture. ‘White Monkey’ 2019 is Arnata’s depiction of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman. From within the colourful visual matrix, Hanuman appears with mouth wide-open enormous exposing fangs, his white fur seemingly brushed by the wind. Arnata perfectly emphasizes the dynamic and powerful being one of the central characters of the epic Ramayana.

‘Bali Modre’ – Wayan Arnata
Media Exploration Yarn on Wood 2020 – Wayan Arnata
Pengikuti Setia’ 2019 – Wayan Arnata

Follow Wayan Arnata on Instagram:    #studiodelodrurung     @w_arnata

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Richard Horstman & Wayan Arnata

Indonesian artist Boedi Widjaja’s subterranean sonic temple a highlight of the Singapore Biennale 2019

Black—Hut, Black—Hut, 2019 Boedi Widjaja Image courtesy of Boedi Widjaja & 2019 Singapore Biennale #5Black—Hut, Black—Hut, 2019 – Boedi Widjaja exhibited at the National Gallery of Singapore in the Singapore Biennale 2019. Image courtesy of Boedi Widjaja & 2019 Singapore Biennale

 

Boedi Widjaja is an artist with one foot positioned in two similar, yet disparate worlds. Born in 1975 and raised by Chinese Indonesian parents in Surakarta, Central Java,  from the age of nine he has lived in Singapore. Since 2012 he has practised full-time as a multi-disciplinary contemporary artist. Widjaja’s art intersects graphic design, architectural and fine art principles while including performance and explorations and interactions with alternative cultures.

Black—Hut, Black—Hut, Widjaja’s ideas about home and the complexities of belonging in a transient world initially came to life through a distinct dream about five years ago. In his vision, he saw one of the pioneers of modern architecture Charles-Édouard Jeanneret  (1887-19650), also know as Le Corbusier, exploring and contemplating his ideas about building, dwellings and being.

Widjaja’s architectural-sound proto-structure has evolved through three individual installations. Black—Hut was first commissioned and presented at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore in 2016, as a Singapore Biennale Affiliate Project. The second and third installations – both titled Black—Hut, Black—Hut – were co-commissioned by the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) and the Singapore Art Museum. Conceived as a diptych of site-specific proto-structures across space and time, the second installation of the Black—Hut series was presented at the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in 2018 and the third, in the 6th Singapore Biennale in 2019.

Black—Hut, Black—Hut, 2019 Boedi Widjaja Image courtesy of Boedi Widjaja & 2019 Singapore Biennale

 

Black—Hut, Black—Hut is on display at the National Gallery of Singapore (NGS) from 22 November 2019 through 22 March 2020. Entitled Every Step in the Right Direction, the Singapore Biennale 2019 presents 150 works by 77 artists and art collectives from 36 countries and territories displayed at the National Gallery Singapore (NGS), Gillman Barracks, Lasalle College of the Arts and other various historic locations and public spaces. Helmed by artistic director Patrick Flores, the biennale seeks to address questions and ideas of how humanity can approach the past, present and future, looking to create a pathway to brighter and more harmonic times ahead.

Memories and impressions of the Surakarta Royal Palace located close to his childhood home and the sounds of the traditional Javanese gamelan floating gracefully upon the late afternoon breeze are encoded upon Widjaja’s psyche. They ignite a wonderful sense of nostalgia that has helped inspired his installation. “Three years ago I discovered an online library of recordings of a 100-year old gamelan – Gamelan Kjai Paridjata – that was acquired from the Surakarta Palace,” explained the artist who to avoid the racial tensions under President Suharto’s New Order regime (1965-1998) his parents sent him to Singapore, where he has since resided apart from his family.

”I then rearranged the 131 recordings within a matrix and displaced and inverted each sound out of its original position to generate the sequential pulse-like sounds ‘Datum’ (the musical piece in the installation),” he said. “The sounds are alien yet somehow feel at home. Perhaps I’ve grown to be familiar with there distorted, displaced qualities.”

Black—Hut, Black—Hut, 2019 Boedi Widjaja Image courtesy of Boedi Widjaja & 2019 Singapore Biennale #2

 

Black—Hut, Black—Hut is positioned on a flight of stairs leading from the ground floor down to the basement in NGS’ Coleman courtyard. It exists in the space between the two physical levels of the historic building reflecting the deep-seated and ongoing theme at the core of Widjaja’s artworks – of the diaspora, isolation, of the complexities of hybridity and the bridging of multiple cultures, along with his relationship with the physical surrounds where he intuitively feels grounded and at home.

Widjaja coordinates the linear planes of the steps into the vertical cladding of the structure, a continuation of the horizontal line aspect so that it appears grounded into the gallery as one harmonic and unified form. The striking exterior cocoons an inner sanctum, the imagined centre of Black—Hut, Black—Hut. From this unusual space ‘Datum’ radiates a distinct, yet strangely assuring atmospheric sound.

A salt-infused black concrete membrane upon the surface of the steps and the roof of the structure introduces an ecosystem to the installation.  This encourages efflorescence crystallisation blooms as the material ‘sweats’ in the tropical climate of Singapore. “When I started to think about concrete, the material triggered memories of my transition from Surakarta to Singapore. From a less urbanised environment to a very urbanised city in SE Asia,” said Widjaja who in 2000 received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, while as young adulthood he explored his creativity via graphic design.

Black—Hut, Black—Hut, 2019 Boedi Widjaja Image courtesy of Boedi Widjaja & 2019 Singapore Biennale #6

 

“When I first came to Singapore in 1984, the constructed landscape was very different from that in Surakarta. I was in awe of the row upon row of public flats, large-scale mass housing structures, with ordered recto linear geometry and the repetition of elements that were very different, all built in concrete. This visual memory has seeped into my design ideas.”

“In responding to the NGS site, a transitory space used for human movement, I was drawn to the basement as it is a new addition to the historic building. When we think about what transpires below the ground, the context becomes interesting with the NGS role in the historization of SE Asian art. So much of the history that goes beyond the 200 years of Raffles belongs underground within an archeological state,” adds Widjaja who in his relatively short career has exhibited in some highly prestigious events representing Singapore in the Live Art program of the Diaspora Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017); Jerusalem Biennale (2017); ‘From East to the Barbican’ at Barbican (London, 2015) and ‘Bains Numériques #7’ at Enghien-les-Bains (France, 2012).

“In Singapore, we look to the underground as a means to project into the future by building structures. There is an exciting anachronistic quality where the future and the past intersect. This expresses a sense of time which I associate to my migrant experience – in being in an in-between space-time.”

Black—Hut, Black—Hut, 2019 Boedi Widjaja Image courtesy of Boedi Widjaja & 2019 Singapore Biennale #8

 

“What I try to do is collapse several architectural traditions into Black—Hut, Black—Hut, includingJavanese architecture and the mandala – I am drawn to the latter because of its presence within traditions, and how it expresses cosmological and political ideas in one space. The mandala is present in both the installation and the Surakarta Royal Palace,” and he adds, “When I think about the centre of the Black—Hut, I think firstly of a sense of an anchor that is not present, yet which I yearn for. While the mandala-center is a concentration of cultural, historical and political power, it also points to the memory of my first home being located near to the Keraton – the universal centre according to local Javanese beliefs.”

“The spatial geometry of Singapore’s social housing seems to be conditioned upon a fragmented, staccato time that is regularly marked by interruptions. In the city, smooth and endless concrete surfaces become sound-tracked with the splintering of time,” stated Widjaja who’s solo exhibitions include, Black—Hut, a Singapore Biennale 2016 Affiliate Project at Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore (2016), Path. 6 Unpacking my Library at Esplanade (Singapore 2014), and in 2019 Boedi Widjaja: Declaration Of, at Helwaser Gallery, his first exhibition in New York City.

To audiences exploring Widjaja’s work for the first time Black—Hut, Black—Hut, may seem indeed as an alien structure. So much so that they may be more comfortable to look, observe and enjoy it from various positions on the stairs, escalators and upper floors of the NGS, without the need for closer inspection.  To fully appreciate it however, one would benefit from observing and understanding his previous installation at APT in 2018 and recognise the two installations as a diptych.

Black—Hut, Black—Hut, 2019 Boedi Widjaja Image courtesy of Boedi Widjaja & 2019 Singapore Biennale #7

 

Black—Hut, Black—Hut is configured, says Widjaja, “to reference the gap between ground and land in the tropical and subtropical vernacular houses built on raised floors, such as the Javanese Joglo, the Queenslander, and the Malay houses. Ground is shorthand for me to speak about grounding, belonging, rootedness.” His APT installation in the Queensland Art Gallery referenced the ground level and a gap between an elevated structure, this installation is, however, a subterranean mirror of that work.

To assist curious observers gain a greater understanding of this NGS installation, they would benefit from video and audio explanations to gain insights into Widjaja’s ideas. For the inquiring minds, there is undoubtedly much to engage in, especially if they have the opportunity to meet and probe Widjaja or the biennale curators at the NGS.

For me, the work is visually and conceptually fascinating, especially as I have my interest in architecture and how structures and dwellings influence the human experience. On another level, this work entertains my ideas about my spiritual essence in relation to our physical world, and my fragmented feelings about belonging.

Black—Hut, Black—Hut, 2019 Boedi Widjaja Image courtesy of Boedi Widjaja & 2019 Singapore Biennale #4

 

Both beautiful and powerful, yet unusual in its physical and sonic presence, Black—Hut, Black—Hut is an intricate work charged with layers of meaning and focal points to experience its varying degrees of subtleties of intimacy and monumentality. The visual rhythms of the structure are exhilarating, and fascinating in their linear character from the inner repetitive mandala aspect to the external design.

While it’s inside installation’s ‘nerve centre’ we may fully appreciate the audio rhythms and their fragmented otherworldly heartbeat. Between the silence the sounds are indeed alien, yet at the same time from a comforting organic source. Widjaja’s abstraction of dwellings that have informed his life stand as a moment where the contemporary emerges providing a thought-provoking space for people to meet and converse.

Widjaja’s Black—Hut, Black—Hut captures an intimate essence of the modern human experience. Of a duality that touches on the present, future and past – and of a species disconnected and out of harmony with the tempo of universe and nature – lost and yearning for belonging, somewhere within time and space.

Black—Hut, Black—Hut, 2019 Boedi Widjaja Image courtesy of Boedi Widjaja & 2019 Singapore Biennale #4

 

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images courtesy: Boedi Widjaja & 2019 Singapore Biennale and Richard Horstman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional practices fuse with contemporary ideas in Wayan Arnata’s beautiful fibrous artworks

‘Balance’ 2014 – Wayan Arnata, mixed yarn and acrylic paint.

Balinese artist Wayan Arnata first came to my attention in June 2013 in the landmark exhibition ‘Irony in Paradise’ by the collective Sanggar Dewata Indonesia (SDI) at the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) in Ubud, Bali.  ‘Nike Barong’ 2013, Arnata’s mixed media reflection upon the changing nature of the Balinese identity depicted the iconic Balinese ceremonial lion character, the Barong, wearing Nike shoes. While the theme of the work was not unusual, it was the 3-dimensional aesthetics along with the work’s technical aspects that caught my eye.

Arnata adopts the practice of Ngodi, a traditional decorative technique using natural fibers applied to Balinese cremation sarcophagi into his compositions applied directly onto conventional canvases along with acrylic paints. While he also creates installations his works include an array of media such as timber, bamboo, wire, styrofoam, grades of yarn (natural and synthetic fibres used for knitting and weaving), stove wick and hessian. Natural fibres have distinct cultural references in Indonesia due to the rich heritage of indigenous textiles throughout the archipelago.

‘Foot Prints’ 2017 – Wayan Arnata 2017 UOB Painting of the Year Indonesia Bronze Award

“My technical approach is influenced by my childhood memories of my grandfather, a sangging, master of the various techniques involved with Balinese traditional ritual and ceremony,” said Arnata who was born in Sukawati, Gianyar in 1973. “I was fascinated by the creative activities my grandfather did as ‘gotong royong’ in service to the community. The finished works were beautiful yet required great patience and skill layering line upon line of fibres into the works.”

In 1995 Arnata began experimenting with an array of fibrous media and from 1993 – 1996 he studied and graduated in Fine Arts at Indonesian Institute of Art (ISI), in Yogyakarta.  Living outside of his village traditions and island home in Yogyakarta introduced him to new cultures and ideas that helped inspire his unorthodox style of artistic expression, which is a meeting of traditional practices with contemporary art ideas. Arnata had previously worked in dynamic palettes of oil and acrylic in the painting genre of abstract expressionism. 

Wayan Arnata

Arnata’s work has evolved since 2013 becoming increasingly visually complex and technically demanding, while involving more in-depth thematic explorations, especially into self-identity. ‘Integrity’ is his first solo exhibition held in 2015 and featured twenty-four creations, including one installation, in a body of work produced over three years. His fascinating array of visual languages combining diverse media revealed his openness to push the potential boundaries of materiality. Some of Arnata’s compositions appeared to swirl and intertwine, expanding outwards in dazzling rhythmic patterns akin to the visual style of traditional Balinese painting.

In Jakarta in October 2017 Arnata’s ‘Foot Prints’, one of more than 500 contemporary artworks submitted in the 2017 UOB Painting of the Year Indonesia competition was endorsed by the Indonesian art establishment. Arnata received one of the highest accolades in the Indonesian art world, the UOB Painting of the Year Indonesia Bronze Award. UOB Indonesia identifies artistic talents and provides them with opportunities to hone their skills and showcase their works to a wider community.  Arnata’s multi-coloured picture features non-descript imagery along with human footprints and is characterized by the horizontal threads of fibre emphasising the passages of time. The varying footprint sizes define the human journey from the child to the adult.

‘White Moneky’ 2019 Wayan Arnata

“The work is themed upon the processes I encounter in life, the process of making the artwork, and the processes within the journey of life. The footprints are symbolic and explain my search for identity,” the artist said and continued. “As a Balinese, there are many processes to be endured within the cycle of life. For example, the traditional Balinese calendar only allows me to work on my art for 15 – 20 days the rest of the month requires me to attend to the customs and traditions at the heart of my culture.”

“I regard the thread as a metaphor for a span of time. It is a line connecting a one period with the next. The philosophy behind my work is the exploration of time and space between tradition and modernity. What I see, do and feel; my day-to-day experiences concerning my social life within traditional society is an ongoing inspiration for my work.”

‘Introspeksi Diri’, 2015 – Wayan Arnata

Arnata is currently working on a body of work that he will exhibit within the next few years. His new compositions, admits the artist, are becoming more expressive and abstraction in style. The new works feature characters and themes related to the Wayang shadow puppet theatre, a philosophical cornerstone of the Balinese Hindu culture. ‘White Monkey’ 2019 is Arnata’s depiction of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman. From within the colourful visual matrix, Hanuman appears with mouth wide-open enormous exposing fangs, his white fur seemingly brushed by the wind. Arnata perfectly emphasizes the dynamic and powerful being one of the central characters of the epic Ramayana.

‘Barong Nike’, 2013 – Wayan Arnata

Follow Wayan Arnata on Instagram:    #studiodelodrurung     @w_arnata

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Richard Horstman

Bali MegaRupa: a new era in government sponsored art infrastructure development in Bali?

Bali Deputy Governor Cokorda Ace during the opening of Bali Megarupa at ARMA 10 November 2019. Image courtesy Bali MegarupaBali Deputy Governor Cokorda Ace addresses officials in front of a painting by Made Budhiana during the opening of Bali Megarupa at ARMA 10 November 2019. Image courtesy Bali Megarupa

Bali Megarupa, a large-scale exhibition featuring one hundred and three modern and contemporary artist from throughout Bali, came to a close Sunday 10 November 2019.

An ambitious project, organized in a whirlwind three month period, was set over four locations in Gianyar; ARMA, Museum Puri Lukisan, Neka Art Museum and Bentara Budaya Bali. The event could signal a new proactive era in the development of the Bali art infrastructure from the Bali Provincial Government.

The Bali Provincial Government now has two distinct annual art events, the Bali Arts Festival held in Denpasar through June-July, with the objective of the preservation and development of the traditional arts, and Bali Jani Arts Festival for modern and contemporary art recently conducted October-November. Bali Jani is a new initiative of the Cultural Office of Provincial Bali under the leadership of Dr.Wayan Kun Adnayana, translating the vision of the Governor Wayan Koster, namely Nangun Sat Kerthi Loka Bali, dedicated to art and culture. Bali Megarupa is part of the Bali Jani Art Festival that accommodates the existing modern and contemporary artists and art communities.

"Pertarungan" 2019 - Putu Edy Asmara. Exhibited at Neka Art Museum Image Richard Horstman     ‘Pertarungan’ 2019 – Putu Edy Asmara. Exhibited at Neka Art Museum

“Bali Megarupa is a vehicle for the extensive socialization, mediation, and communication about the vision of advancing art in Bali. The event that will continue annually for five years with the dream of becoming a long-term yearly fixture on the Bali art calendar consolidated by Peratuan Daerah (Bali Provincial Law),“ said Kun Adnyana. “The objectives are to make Bali a centre for art, to realize the highest possible achievements for Balinese artists, and artists from outside of Bali, and to increase the creativity and productivity of Balinese artists producing original, and high-quality visual art.”

“This may be achieved by viewing the island as a large art studio emphasizing more collaborative and creative partnerships and increasing the necessary discourses among the artists, observers, thinkers, researchers, journalists, art lovers and stakeholders. One of the many desired outcomes being the improved public appreciation for the latest achievements of the Balinese visual arts,” he said.

During the opening ceremony of Bali Megarupa 10 October 2019 at ARMA, Dr Wayan Kun Adnyana presents the Bali Megarupa exhibition catalog to Bali Deputy Governor Cokorda Ace as ARMA founder Agung Rai looks on. Image coutesy of Bali Megarupa. During the opening ceremony of Bali Megarupa 10 October 2019 at ARMA, Head of the Cultural Office of  Provincial Bali Dr Wayan Kun Adnyana presents the Bali Megarupa exhibition catalogue to Bali Deputy Governor Cokorda Ace as ARMA founder Agung Rai looks on. Image courtesy of Bali Megarupa.

The opening ceremony of Bali Megarupa 10 October at ARMA in Ubud, included the spectacular Gladi Ritus Seni Tarirupabunyi “Kidung Megarupa” a contemporary art performance led by the renowned Nyoman Erawan, supported by a host of performers. ARMA, Puri Lukisan and Neka Museums presented two-dimensional works, while Bentara Budaya displayed both paintings and an array of sculptures and installations.

Some of the many highlights were ‘Ovarium’ 2019, a three-panel work of digital prints on paper by AS Kurnia, ‘Jejak Air,’2019 by Made Djirna, ‘Nafas Hidup’ 2019 revealing new abstract developments by Made Budhiana and Wayan Redika’s hyper-detailed pencil and charcoal work on canvas, ‘Tumbal Nusantara’ 2019 one display at ARMA. ‘Banaspati Raja’ 2019 by Wayan Adi Sucipta, Ari Winata’s ‘Bali Singahmadawa’ 2019, Limit, 2019 Gede Ngurah Pandji, ‘Sang Hyang Baruna’ 2019 by Made Karyana were eye-catching works at Puri Lukisan and ‘Pertarungan’ 2019 by Putu ‘Edy’ Asmara at Neka. ‘You Sit on my Shit’ 2019 by DP Arsa Putra, Putu Wirantawan’s ‘Gugusan Energi Alam Batin 7.3.10.019//’ 2019 and Dewa Rata Yoga’s four and a meter broad canvas ‘Menuju Harapan Baru’ 2019 were noteworthy at Bentara Budaya.

"Bali Singhamdawa" 2019 Nyoman Ari Winata. Image Richard Horstman                           ‘Bali Singhamdawa’ 2019 – Nyoman Ari Winata

Side events of Bali Megarupa were the discussion Gerakan Seni Rupa Bali sebagai Seruan Kesadaran (Bali Fine Arts Movement as a Call for Awareness) featuring speakers namely Nawa Tunggal (Kompas senior journalist), Bambang Bujono (cultural observer) and Dr Wayan Kun Adnyana attended by over 150 people at Neka Art Museum on 11th October, Lintas Media Bebas Rupa 26 October, another artist’s talk at Bentara Budaya this time addressing the public and school children led by Made Kaek with Made Bayak artist & Plasticology, Tjandra Hutama head of the Denpasar Photography association, illustrator Monez, and Kokosaja Video Artist. The closing of Bali MegaRupa featured a workshop conducted by the Baturlangun artist’s collective of Batuan with elementary school children from Batuan, and vocational school teenagers from SMK/SMSR Ubud, in the gardens of Musem Puri Lukisan.

The 2019 appointment of well-known Balinese artist and curator Kun Adnyana as the Head of the Cultural Office of the Province of Bali is significant to the future success of Bali Megarupa. Director of the Creative Team of Bali Megarupa Made Kaek stated, “Pak Kun Adnyana understands the potential of art in Bali and how it is necessary to have an adequate art infrastructure to embrace all existing potential. His role is strategic, and he is familiar with what is needed to build an art ecosystem. He has already proposed a budget for the Bali Jani Art Festival, including Bali Megarupa, in the 2020 regional planning forecasts.”

20191027_160042The art performance held during the opening of Bali Megarupa at ARMA. Image courtesy of Bali Megarupa

“Pak Kun Adnyana has asked the committee to evaluate Bali Megarupa to help determine the community’s satisfaction. There are internal research and a questionnaire that needs to be completed, along with careful planning for 2020. Our budget provision is highly planned, measured and accounted for,” Kaek continued. “Even though the exhibition has closed the public can still enjoy the artworks through the balimegarupa.id website which will develop into a digital gallery and documentation centre for all Balinese art.”

The feedback I have received about Bali Megarupa from various participants has generally been positive, and they are looking forward to the ongoing development of the event. A few comments, however, that the curatorial process needs improving, others questioned the extravagance of the opening ceremony, while some wonder if Megarupa will achieve any real positive outcomes. All agree that Bali Megarupa will benefit from a careful process of evaluation to help bring more real valuable results for stakeholders in the future.

"Menuju Harapan Baru" 2019 Dewa Rata Yoga exhibited at Bentara Budaya Bali. Image Richard Horstman‘Menuju Harapan Baru’ 2019 – Dewa Rata Yoga exhibited at Bentara Budaya Bali

During the closing event, 10 November at Puri Lukisan Kun Adnyana requested Bali Megarupa to embrace all stakeholders in Bali to expand cooperation networks to support this event to be bigger and stronger. “Big ideas will not develop if they are not executed properly through intensive collaborations, as a joint project with a strong vision to deliver tangible and valuable future outcomes that have a real impact,” he said.

Path Forward

 Kun Adnyana has welcomed “artists, observers, thinkers, researchers, journalists, art lovers and stakeholders”, to participate in “collaborative and creative partnerships, expand cooperative networks increasing the necessary discourses” beginning the task of reinvigorating the Bali art infrastructure. The process may start by assessing the art infrastructure, along with questionnaires to the art community and some of the vital infrastructure to determine the current state of where it is now. Defining a clear vision may be the next step, and what is the desired state by the end of the five years and then develop a road map to arrive at the destination.

"Jejak Air" 2019 - Made Djirna exhibited at ARMA. Image Richard Horstman                 ‘Jejak Air’ 2019 – Made Djirna exhibited at ARMA

A distinct feature of art is that it has unique and valuable social capital within this era of massive disruption. Art strengthens communities and improves the well-being of people’s lives and has a distinct transformational, yet underutilized, potency on Bali. A worthwhile task may be to understand what is a sustainable art ecosystem, and then fully explore all of the components of the Bali art ecosystem as it extends internationally. For Kun Adnyana, his team and the stakeholders’ opportunity awaits.

http://www.balimegarupa.id

Nyoman Erawan during the performance of Gladi Ritus Seni Tarirupabunyi "Kidung Megarupa" 10 October at ARMA Image courtesy of MegarupaNyoman Erawan during the performance of Gladi Ritus Seni Tarirupabunyi ‘Kidung Megarupa’ 10 October at ARMA Image courtesy of Bali Megarupa
Gugusan Energi Alam Batin 7.3.10.019 :: 2019 - Putu Wirantawan exhibited at Bentara Budaya Bali. Image Richard HorstmanGugusan Energi Alam Batin 7.3.10.019 // 2019 – Putu Wirantawan exhibited at Bentara Budaya Bali

Words: Richard Horstman

Photos: Courtesy of Bali Megarupa & Richard Horstman

New guidebook highlights artistic & design events in Bali throughout October – December 2019

The "Bali Art+Design Guide X Bali Art Roads" Oct - Dec 2019 Image Richard HorstmanThe first Bali Art+Design Guide X Bali Arts Road, a pocket guidebook that charts a plethora of events around the island, ranging over three months beginning in October, until the end of December 2019.

 

The Balinese Pawukon calendar is not used to measure time; it encompasses smaller cycles within larger ones. Its purpose is to pinpoint certain days that help to provide a cultural framework of how the people may most effectively conduct certain social, religious, agrarian and creative activities on the most auspicious days according to their sacred beliefs. The month of October presents many appropriate dates to hold artistic events; therefore it is crammed full with art and creative happenings; unofficially it is the ‘Bali Art Month’.

The favourable circumstances of timing have provided the unique opportunity, and inspired the creative communities of Bali, along with visiting internationals, to present a diverse program of events of the calibre to rival that from the creative hubs of Java, and the popular JAW (Jogja Art Weeks) held earlier this year throughout the Central Java regency, and Bandung Art Month, that recently concluded in mid-September in West Java.

Opening of "Mahardika" group exhibition 19 October at TiTian Art Space, Nyuh Kunning, Ubud. Image Richard HorstmanOpening of “Mahardika” group exhibition 19 October at TiTian Art Space, Nyuh Kuning, Ubud

 

2019 welcomes the publication of the first Bali Art+Design Guide X Bali Arts Road, a pocket guidebook that charts a plethora of events around the island, ranging over three months beginning in October, until the end of December. These events include exhibitions, film screenings, music, dance and theatre performances, discussions, open studios and festivals complete with the relevant details and appropriate maps.

“When I travel to other cities within Indonesia or abroad, I find having a guidebook focusing specifically on art and design is very helpful for discovering and exploring the local creative scenes,” said Suriawati Qiu, Bali Art+Design Guide X Bali Arts Road co-director and co-founder of CushCush Gallery in Denpasar. “There are many art and creative communities and spaces in Denpasar and Bali that are, unfortunately, relatively unknown to the public. Having Bali’s own Art+Design guidebook will benefit both our creative communities who are doing amazing works, as well as travellers and locals alike who are interested in art and design.”

The opening of Art Bali 2019 "Specultive Memories" was highlighted by a fashion parade by the Fashion Council of Western Australia (FCWA) which annually holds the Perth Fashion Festival (PFF) Image Richard HorstmanThe opening of Art Bali 2019 ‘Speculative Memories’ was highlighted by a fashion parade by the Fashion Council of Western Australia (FCWA) which annually holds the Perth Fashion Festival (PFF)

 

The Bali Art+Design Guide X Bali Arts Road is an evolution from the DenPasar Art+Design Map first published in 2017 in conjunction with DenPasar Art+Design program, a collective effort by the creative communities of Denpasar along with CushCush Gallery as the central activities venue. It set out to mark the city with its distinct character as a hub for contemporary arts, design and culture.

In 2019 CushCush Gallery collaborates with ART • BALI, the second edition of the annual Indonesian contemporary art exhibition organized by Heri Pemad Management of Yogyakarta, Central Java. Themed SPECULATIVE MEMORIES, open 13 October 2019 – 13 January 2020, it is held at the AB • BC Building, Bali Collection, ITDC District, Nusa Dua, Bali. The exhibition presents forty-nine selected works, consisting of paintings, sculptures, installations, photography, multimedia and video from 32 Indonesian and overseas artists who also reside and, or work in Indonesia. It showcases some of the finest established and emerging contemporary artists in Bali’s premiere; purpose-built international standard exhibition space to local and foreign audiences.

Seminyak Design Week -EXHIBITION VIEW PHOTO Courtesy - ANDITO WASI                         Seminyak Design Week – exhibition view

 

Bali Arts Roads (BAR) was an initiative introduced by ART • BALI in 2018 as a side program to highlight and promote the depth of the Bali art community through exhibitions, events and open studios programs throughout the island. This year it combines with the DenPasar Art+Design Map into 180-page booklet helping to consolidate Bali’s diverse array of creativity. This year the guide covers events and programs not only in Denpasar but also in Ubud, Seminyak, Canggu and Nusa Dua, during October – December, with over 130 events listed. The booklet features a QR Code that pinpoints selected event destinations on Google Maps to allow direct and straightforward navigation.

The guide also includes important cultural and institutional locations such as museums, government and cultural institutions, art and design educational institutions, cultural heritage sites, public spaces and monuments within the city of Denpasar. Some of the festivals featured are Seminyak Design Week 2019 18 – 27 October themed “Designing for a Better Community” and runs with a program of exhibitions, talks, pop-up markets, a design trail and workshops at Gallery Vivere and Uma Seminyak. The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, 23 – 27 October (festival events noted within the booklet), and Kita Lo Gini 5 at ISI Denpasar, a student art party presenting artworks and performances 25 – 26 October.

Artists pose with their works during the opening of during the opening of "Art Exhibition by Children Sanggar Bares - There is no Truth only HONESTY" 12 – 31 October at the Nyana Tilem Museum, in Mas. Image courtesy Soemantri WidagdoArtists pose with their works during the opening of ‘Art Exhibition by Children Sanggar Bares – There is no Truth only HONESTY’ 12 – 31 October at the Nyana Tilem Museum, in Mas

 

Other diverse happenings include tours, Urban Walk Denpasar a free open to the public guided tour of Denpasar heritage sites on 2 November, Herb Walk on 27 October, an investigation into the edible medicinal plants and related practices, Basic Macrame Workshop 12 October at CANAAN X ROU, Seminyak, Curator in Residence, a program initiated by DenPasar Art + Design: In Transition November – December at CushCush Gallery, Denpasar with the curatorial conversation #1 14 December, International Conference ICATUS 2019 the first international conference on architecture, technology and urban sustainability 27 – 28 November at Gedung Pascasarjana, Kampus UNUD, Denpasar, Parade Teater Canasta, 23 – 30 November at Canasta Creative Space Denpasar featuring Balinese theatre communities and the Odyssey Music Art Conference & Day Festival 2019 10 – 13 October at Artotel Sanur and Artotel Beach Club.

Just a few of the art exhibitions during October: Natisa Jones’s Love is Never Lonely 5 October – 9 November at Tony Raka Gallery, Ubud a ‘diversion’ from her signature style paintings. Frequency Balinese Art, Culture and Rerajahan a collection of Balinese amulet inscriptions known as rerajahan by Jro Mangku Badra, displayed within an art context and created without the sacred ritual and mantras to instil the ink drawings with their renown mystical powers, open 9 October at ARMA, in Ubud. From 10 October – 24 November at Artotel Sanur It Isn’t a Whole a solo exhibition by Putu Adi Suanjaya, and an Art Exhibition by Children “Sanggar Bares” There is no Truth only HONESTY 12 – 31 October at the Nyana Tilem Museum, in Mas.

"Jalan - Jalan" Indieguerillas at Art Bali. Image Richard Horstman                         ‘Jalan – Jalan’ Indieguerillas at Art Bali

 

The ongoing mission of Kemal Ezedine and Ketut Moniarta from the Neo Pitamaha art movement is to invigorate Balinese art by inspiring young artists to explore fresh possibilities within the technical context of the Balinese painting traditions. Drawing Bali Today opens at Sika Gallery, Ubud from 10 October 10 November. Sudra Sutra, an iconographical interpretation of the Yeh Pulu reliefs and related history by Dr Wayan Kun Adnyana opened 11 October at Neka Art Museum, Ubud until 19th October is a continuation of his visual representation inspired by the ancient Yeh Pulu stone reliefs in Bedhulu Gianyar.

Megarupa 22 October opens at ARMA Ubud with coinciding exhibitions at two other venues, the Neka Art Museum and Bentara Budaya Bali featuring the works of 103 artists, presented by the Cultural Office of the Provence of Bali. TiTian Art Space in its new premises on Jalan Raya Nyuh Kuning, Ubud present Mahardika a group exhibition 19 October – 24 November. Also open 24 October at Taman Baca, Sanggingan Ubud, Stories from Mt. Agung children’s stories of trauma expressed through drawing and poetry. Maladjustment opens 26 October – 24 November at Neka Art Museum and presents iconic artworks by Indonesian artists Arahmaiani and I GAK Murniasih along with Australian artist Mary Lou Pavlovic who exhibits her landmark, 2004 work Liar!

Audience at the opening of Drawing Bali Today at Sika Gallery. Image by @febrimarleni.           The audience at the opening of ‘Drawing Bali Today’ at Sika Gallery

 

Denpasar and Bali are increasingly developing as exciting and engaging destinations for national and international creatives to visit regularly, or to reside permanently. In recent years its art and design infrastructure has witnessed defining new growth. This provides more opportunities for participants to thrive within the burgeoning 21st – century creative economy while leading to a healthier ecosystem. These developments, importantly become a stimulant in reviving art and cultural tourism on the island of Bali.

Bali Art+Design Guide X Bali Arts Road booklet is available from numerous program participants distributed to more than 70 points throughout Bali and from AB • BC Building, Bali Collection, Nusa Dua.

Or it can be downloaded: http://artbali.co.id/page.php?p=bar

"Sarinin Angkus Prana" by Jro Mangku Badra exhibited at ARMA in "Frequency Balinese Art, Culture and Rerajahan" Image Richard Horstman‘Sarinin Angkus Prana’ by Jro Mangku Badra exhibited at ARMA in ‘Frequency Balinese Art, Culture and Rerajahan’

 

 

Words: Richard Horstman

 

Art activist’s discussion in Bali launches landmark entrepreneurial program for the disabled

Art Actiivists Budi Agung Kuswara and Hanna Madness during the launching of "Ayo Ketemu!" in Sanur 29th July - Image courtesy of KETEMU PROJECTArt Activists Budi Agung Kuswara and Hanna Madness during the launching of “Ayo Ketemu!” in Sanur 29th July

 

Art Has Saved My Life a discussion led by two art activists 29 June at Rumah Sanur Creative Hub in Bali was one of the insightful forums of Ayo Ketemu! (Let’s Meet!) a landmark enterprenurial creative program for Indonesians with mental and physical disabilities.

In the discussion that was the first of three public events presented by Gerakan Kreabilitas, Hanna Madness and Budi Agung Kuswara spoke candidly about their journeys utilizing art as an alternative therapy to positively impact upon their healing processes in relation to personal mental health issues. Structured around nine casual discussion forums, creative hands-on classes, and product presentations Ayo Ketemu! a 4-days and 3-nights residential workshop program ran from 28 June – 1 July 2019 at venues around Denpasar.

“I am here as a survivor because of my art,” said visual artist and mental health activist Hanna Madness who actively campaigns about art and mental health issues in Indonesia. “I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder more recently, however, I began experimenting in 2012 with art to help alleviate the stress and isolation caused by the mistreatment and deteriorating family and school relationships. I had no other choice so I poured my energy into my journal, sketching, painting and writing my thoughts,” said the Jakarta born activist who was named one of the “Top 10 Most Shining Young Indonesian Artists” (2017).

Ella Ritchie (Director & Co-Founder, Intoart UK) and participants during "Pasar Ketemu" evaluation at Rumah Sanur - Image courtesy of KETEMU PROJECTElla Ritchie (Director & Co-Founder, Intoart UK) and participants during “Pasar Ketemu” evaluation at Rumah Sanur

 

“When I was first diagnosed the issue of mental health in Indonesia was still taboo, there is now, however, a huge global momentum exposing the problems of mental health in modern society. My paintings have become my weapon to fight against my mental health issues,” she states.

Budi Agung Kuswara, or “Kabul” as he is known, is an artist and the co-founder of Ketemu Project, an art organization and community art space with a strong social philosophy and international program, located in Bali. In 2017 he initiated the “Schizofriends Art Movement” a community-based psychosocial rehabilitation program with art as the delivery system, devoted to supporting people living with schizophrenia to become active and functional individuals within society.

“Ayo Ketemu! is a nurturing platform for people with disabilities who have already started to create their own art and creative products,” said Kabul. “It is designed so that people with mental and physical disabilities can meet with artists to exchange ideas and viewpoints to help realize possibilities, and with exciting potential for collaboration. The output of this first time project in Indonesia targeting the disabled is highly marketable and export quality products and services.”

Participants of "Ayo Ketemu!" at Sudamal Resort in Sanur Bali - Image courtesy of KETEMU PROJECT             Participants of “Ayo Ketemu!” at Sudamal Resort in Sanur Bali

 

Gerakan Kreabilitas is an initiative movement working in conjunction with Ketemu Project and The Arts Development Company, funded by the British Council of Indonesia through the program of DICE (Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies). “Gerakan Kreabilitas is an initiative sparked by the premise that every individual is creative regardless of their abilities,” said Gerakan Kreabilitas Program Coordinator Rahma Yudi Amartina.

“Kreabilitas is a fusion of the terms “kreatif” and “abilitas” that reflects our vision of combining creative innovations and cultural development with business strategies. For this program we have selected thirty participants from around Indonesia through our Open Call for Participants in the visual arts, visual communication design, product design, craft, and fashion categories.”

"Ayo ketemu!" participants during a creative workshop at Jenggala Ceramics Bali - Image courtesy of KETEMU PROJECT“Ayo ketemu!” participants during a creative workshop at Jenggala Ceramics Bali

 

On 30 June Pasar Ketemu, the second of the open to the public events held at Rumah Sanur was a bazaar space for participants to present their products, ideas or prototypes to a judging panel comprising of Mayun Dewi (Social Enterprise Manager, Ketemu Project), Camelia Harahap (Head of Arts and Creative Industries, British Council Indonesia), Yap Mun Ching (Executive Director, AirAsia Foundation), Slamet Thohari (Lecturer, Researcher & Co-Founder CDSS, Universitas Brawijaya), Ella Ritchie (Director & Co-Founder, Intoart UK) and Baskoro Junianto (Expert & Curator, Badan Ekonomi Kreatif). Visitors to the event were also invited to contribute by voting for the creative enterprises that they believed were the most interesting and inclusive.

The five creative enterprises with the most inclusive ideas, will be receiving seed-funding of IDR 24 millions, incubation and mentorship support for 6 months from July – December 2019 for the development of their products and services, along with marketing and promotion both in Indonesia and globally. The final event of the program and the third event open to the public on 1July was the panel discussion Painting The Future of Creative Economy which explored the topic of a more inclusive arts and creative economy industry for Indonesians with disabilities with the panellists: Paul Smith (Director, British Council Indonesia), Yap Mun Ching (Executive Director, AirAsia Foundation), Baskoro Junianto (Expert & Curator, Badan Ekonomi Kreatif) and Slamet Thohari (Lecturer, Researcher & Co-Founder CDSS, Universitas Brawijaya), moderated by Samantha Tio (Director & Co-Founder, Ketemu Project).

Baskoro Junianto (Expet & Curator, Bekraf) is speaking about the future of creative economy during panel discussion 1July Image coutesy of KETEMU PROJECTBaskoro Junianto (Expet & Curator, Bekraf) is speaking about the future of creative economy during panel discussion 1July

 

“We are happy and grateful to be chosen as one of the selected creative enterprises. We hope that we’ll get a lot of insights and new experiences to contribute to the Indonesian economy by creating social impact creatively,” said the makers of the Surprise Wellness Kit Patricia Thebez from Jakarta and Devi Soewono from Bali, whose purpose is to create collections of products to support mental health sufferers based on different moods. Each product having a distinct response to each emotion.

“We are so delighted and this is unexpected for us,” said Vindy Ariella from Jakarta and Khomsin from Solo, whose project Mental Health Kit was judged as one of the five selected creative enterprises. “We hope that our product can grow in the global market and be useful for many people. Thank you, Gerakan Kreabilitas and Ketemu Project!” Their Mental Health Kit comes in a carry bag and contains a book about mental health, a mindfulness journal, sweater, and aromatherapy candles.

“The event was a great success with a lot of participants having collaboration regardless if they were the selected 5 creative enterprises or not,” stated Amartina. “I am amazed and inspired by all of the participants and their natural creative abilities, along with their powerful sense of self belief.”

Ella Ritchie (Director & Co-Founder, Intoart UK), accompanied by Samantha Tio (Director & Co-Founder, Ketemu Project), while judging at "Pasar Ketemu" Image courtesy of KETEMU PROJECTElla Ritchie (Director & Co-Founder, Intoart UK), accompanied by Samantha Tio (Director & Co-Founder, Ketemu Project), while judging at “Pasar Ketemu”

 

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images Courtesy: Ketemu Project

 

Wayan Jana: new directions in Balinese woodcarving

In the background "Memory" 2016 - Wayan Jana. Image courtesy of TiTian Art Space   Memory, 2019 – Wayan Jana in Encounter at TiTian Art Space, Ubud

 

Balinese woodcarving has evolved during the past century with distinct stylistic developments marking its transition from the traditional genre to the modern and contemporary. Iconic figures Tjokot, Nyana, Tilem and Muja defined the landmark styles that have become the source of inspiration that many have followed.

Although minimalist adaptations to woodcarving began in Bali in the early 1930s with the influence of the Art Deco and Art Nouveau movements, the key pioneers being I Rodja and I Geremboeang from the famous woodcarving village of Mas, it was not until the mid 1950s that Ida Bagus Nyana (1912 – 1985) also from Mas, introduced minimalist carvings of the human body.

"Irama Hati (Heart Rhythm)" 2015 - Wayan Jana - Image courtesy of TiTian Art Space                     Irama Hati, 2016 (Heart Rhythm) – Wayan Jana

 

The major progressions that reveal the development of woodcarving are by I Tagelan (1902-1935) who produced an elongated composition of a woman in the mid 1920s from a long piece of wood given to him by Walter Spies who originally requested he produce two statues. I Tjokot (1886-1971) gained his reputation in the late 1920s for utilizing the timber’s natural expressive qualities and creating grotesque figures exploiting the dark side of Balinese mythology with his tough carving style.

Nyana experimented with mass, carving human characters shortening some parts of the body and lengthening others, creating plump forms with serene facial expressions. His son Ida Bagus Tilem (1936 -1993) furthered both Nyana’s and Tjokot’s innovations adopting abstract themes with philosophical or psychological content using distorted pieces of wood endowed with strong expressive powers. I Ketut Muja (1944 – 2014) made his initial statement with his interpretations of the Hindu god Hanuman, meticulously and delicately sculpting the monkey’s fur. He then went further by carving frightening figures that brought out the soul of the wood along with his own emotions and state of mind.

"Encounter" exhibition view at TiTian Art Space - Image Coutesy of TiTian Art Space                     Encounter – exhibition view at TiTian Art Space Ubud

 

The lack of attention from museums and galleries towards contemporary woodcarving recently has resulted in the genre being overshadowed by painters and others artists working in new sculptural media. Encounters, an exhibition of nine works by I Wayan Jana, open 11 May at TiTian Art Space in Ubud, reveals the wonderful potential of the medium when inspiration meets with remarkable creative ability. The emphasis of Jana’s works is upon relationships: relationships between people, relationships with mother earth and relationships with our creator.

In Encounter each of Jana’s compositions are characterized by a meeting of two people and take the form of fascinating and unusual abstractions of the pairing of two figurative forms. “Everything in this world begins with a meeting,” states Jana within the exhibition catalog. Born in Singapadu, Gianyar in 1969, Jana is the eldest son of I Ketut Muja and from a young age he apprenticed with his father and has been consistently carving ever since. In 1998, he started a new style of sculpture, devoid of the elaborate and extravagant details commonly found in the Balinese Baroque woodcarving tradition.

Balinese woodcarver Wayan Jana at work in his Gianyar Studio - Image courtesy Wayan Jana                         Wayan Jana at work at his studio in Gianyar

 

Spheres and series of protruding spikes, circular swollen shapes, jutting forms, and strange appendage-like things, hearts, heads and tails, Jana’s imagination brings to life creations that are always organic, yet at once other worldly. Nurtured and delightful outcomes of his inspirational themes that even include the Hindu gods.

Penyejuk Jiwa (Soul Oasis), 2019, 41 x 36 x 27 cm is arguably Jana’s most abstract work within Encounters, the artist’s fourth solo exhibition to date. A reclining form is propped upright by two limbs, and is highlighted by another that is pointing towards the sky. Collectively they appear as a grouping of wings or fans blades that instantly stimulate our imagination. Penyejuk Jiwa is seemingly propelled upward and may be seen ascending within the minds eye – according to Jana the composition is inspired by the peace and harmony of an adoring couple.

"Harmony" 2019 - Wayan Jana Image courtesy of TiTian Art Space                                       Harmony, 2019 – Wayan Jana

 

While the gently curving shapes of Deringan Rindu (Longing), 2019 and Gairah Dara (Virgin Lust), 2019, take the form of elongated vehicles that we may envision traversing the oceans or zooming across the skies, Sehati (Soul Mate), 2019 and Sayang Menyayangi (Compassion), 2019 take on different proportions. Both appear immediately grounding, and aesthetically calming via the soul of timber’s spiraling and flowing grains, and the sculptures bulbous, full designs.

Irama Hati (Heart Rhythm), 2015, dimensions 36 x 9 x 38cm is the artist’s oldest work. At a glance it evokes an image of the seated form of the master Balinese dancer Ketut Marya, famously known as Mario, executing the Kebyar duduk, first created and performed in 1925. One delicate raised limb suggests Mario holding a fan, an essential visual element of the dance along with his body’s dynamic rotating rhythm. Jana further explains in the catalog that his works contain three elements: (1) two spheres that symbolize male (purusa) and female (predana), (2) hearts that symbolize love and (3) teeth and fangs that symbolize good and evil deeds.

"Penyejuk Jiwa (Soul Oasis)" 2019 - Wayan Jana. Image courtesy of TiTian Art Space             Penyejuk Jiwa, 2019 (Soul Oasis) – Wayan Jana

 

“In developing these forms I have certainly gone through many creative stages,” said Jana, who received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Indonesian Institute of Art (ISI), Denpasar.  “After a number of experiments I then found the concept of ‘the meeting’ that is the origin of life and of all living things on earth.”

“What motivates me is my search for my own distinct identity and style. This idea is present in the artists who already have their own work identity. Like Tjokot, Nyana, Tilem and Muja. Each style has its own unique characteristics,” he stated, and continued. “I want to be like my predecessors, with my sculptures having their own individual characteristic, namely the Jana style.”

Deringan Rindu (Longing) 2019                      Deringan Rindu (Longing), 2019 – Wayan Jana

 

“Jana is the first contemporary wood carver that TiTian has honoured with a solo exhibition,” said the Yayasan TiTian chair of the board of advisors Soemantri Widadgo. “He has introduced a new style and a marked departure from anything before him, including his own father. I believe he has the potential to be the next recognized master of Balinese woodcarving.”

Encounter continues through  until August

Open daily 9am – 5 pm (except Mondays)

at TiTian Art Space

Jalan Bisma 86, Ubud, Gianyar, Bali

http://www.titianartspace.com

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images courtesy: TiTian Art Space & Richard Horstman

 

 

 

TANDA SERU! exhibition in Bali makes a bold artistic statement

Members of the public engage with paintings by Citra Sasmita during the opening of "Tanda Seru" at Uma Seminyak - Image courtesy of FutuwonderAudience members engage with paintings “Portrait of the Other, #1 & #2” by Citra Sasmita during the opening of Tanda Seru!

 

In 2017 a meeting of young Balinese women from various creative backgrounds, yet with similar visions, set out to create a cross-disciplinary platform to support and encourage women’s art activities and visual discourse. Their driving motivating question: ‘Why aren’t there many established women artists in Bali?’ The gathering set the foundations for a new art collective – Futuwonder.

In July 2018, Futuwonder announced its arrival on the Indonesian art scene by conducting a Wikilatih workshop (Wikipedia article writing) and uploading onto the World Wide Web eighteen new articles on female artists from Bali. Puan Empu Seni: Edit-a-thon was a part of a national drive, held in conjunction with Wikimedia Indonesia, to increase the amount of data on Indonesian female artists available on the Internet’s most go-to source of information – Wikipedia.

Leading Indonesian contemporary artist Arahmaiani and Tanda Seru artists during the exhibition opening at Uma Seminyak 31 March 2019 - Image courtesy FutuwonderLeading Indonesian contemporary artist Arahmaiani with Tanda Seru! artists during the opening of the exhibition at Uma Seminyak

 

Following on from their first exhibition, Masa Subur: Efek Samping, held late last year in Ubud, Futuwonder presents Tanda Seru! (Exclamation Mark) open for two weeks from 31 March at the Uma Seminyak, Bali. Officiated by Indonesia’s most prominent woman contemporary artist, Arahmaiani, and showcasing a diverse array of contemporary works by eight-woman artists, the exhibition commemorates International Woman’s Day 2019, 8 March, and Kartini Day on 21 April. Also referred to as Women’s Emancipation Day, established in 1964 by Indonesia’s founding President, Sukarno, Kartini Day is a national holiday celebrating the life of Raden Ajeng Kartini (1879-1904), Indonesia’s first feminist activist.

“Bali is a very patriarchial society with few women being represented in the art scene, especially in the museums and galleries,” said Ruth Onduko, one of the founding members of Futuwonder, along with emerging artist Citra Sasmita and graphic designer Ni Putu Sridiniari. “We intentionally invited talented young women to exhibit in Tanda Seru! especially those who make art but do not label themselves as artists,” Ruth explains. “Due to the narrow scope of today’s contemporary art world women are marginalized and few get the opportunity to exhibit their work within the fine art gallery system as their work may not follow current market trends, or may lack the necessary commercial elements.”

"Res Publica - Security Mirror for Genitalia, 2019, Ni Putu Sridiniari. Image by Richard Horstman         Res Publica: Security Mirrors for Genitalia, 2019 – Ni Putu Sridiniari

 

“Through Tanda Seru! we examine and question issues related to gender, patriarchy and sexuality – making statements about the female body, woman’s roles, and our capabilities as equals with men,” Ruth said. “We chose the exhibition title to emphasize the importance of these issues, while showing the art world (especially in Bali), that there is a lot of highly skilled female artists that are worthy to be considered as part of the larger art world.”

Dan Bunga Berkata (And the Flower Speaks) is inspired by Aria Gita Indira’s investigations into data released by Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS Statistics Indonesia) in 2017, that reveals 1 in 3 Indonesian women aged between 15 – 64 have experienced violence and, or sexual violence in their lives. Indira presents three small ‘still life’ compositions of flower arrangements on black backgrounds, some of the flowers, however, are embroidered in cotton. The cotton ‘patches’ are metaphors, symbolic icons for all the female victims of domestic violence. Journalists often use the names of flowers when referring to domestic violence survivors in their reports.

"Dan Bunga Berkata" by Aria Gita Indira Image Richard HorstmanDan Bunga Berkata (And the Flower Speaks), 2019 – Aria Gita Indira

 

Crude, yet confrontational The World Between Her Legs, 2019 and Are We There Yet by Santi Permana features women’s underwear attached to brightly colored canvases. Statements to encourage strength and enthusiasm, such as: ‘forced prostitution’, ‘sexual harassment’, ‘girls are strong’ and ‘empowered women’ complete the compositions. Questioning the patriarchal reconstruction of the body of a woman who is menstruating, worshipping, in the work place, and in marriage, Happy to Bleed #1,2&3 by Cristine Mandasari presents circular compositions with restrictive statements written upon sanitary napkins. The artist poses the question, ‘With all the restrictions, can women actualize themselves as human beings who are free and equal to men?’

Communicating about the objectification of women, layers of transparent acrylic sheets frame a collage of digital images featuring mannequins, flowers and hands in the eye-catching Mannekin, 2019, by Intan Kirana Sari (b. 1999, Denpasar, Bali). Delicate brightly colored pieces of paper are arranged into collage on a blue background in Male Reproductive System, 2019 by Irene Febry. Febry imagines what the human reproductive system may look like if it was found within the body of a man.

"Mannequin", 2019 Intan Kirana Sari - Image by Richard Horstman                               Mannekin, 2019  – Intan Kirana Sari  

 

Citra Sasmita is renowned for her descriptive paintings depicting the exploration of the female body through the suffering and pain of the wounds inflicted upon them. Portrait of the Other, #1 & #2 contrasts and balances tragedy with an unusual sense of beauty, creating strong and distinct compositions. Few Balinese artists express themselves through the medium of printmaking, Sealing the Body and Tutur Tinular by Ni Luh Pangestu Widya Sari (b. Denpasar, Bali 1991) are a departure in artistic techniques and aesthetics from the other works in the show, adding to the overall strength of Tanda Seru!

 A pair of long, silver legs protrude from a square mirror, centrally positioned between the legs another mirror, round and convex. Upon inspection of Res Publica: Security Mirrors for Genitalia, by Ni Putu Sridiniari, the observer immediately comes face-to-face with their own image. The highlight of Tanda Seru! the work is both engaging and confronting, provoking thoughts, experiences and reflections upon gender identity.

"Happy to Bleed #1,2&3" by Cristine Mandasari - Image Richard Horstman                    Happy to Bleed #1,2&3, 2019  – Cristine Mandasari

 

“People are obsessed with private matters and sexuality. The law and the public, however, control women’s freedoms and perpetuate gender inequality,” said Sridiniari, a freelance graphic designer, who rarely publically exhibits her work. “I believe contemporary art is important to negotiate politics and socio-cultural issues – discourses that highlight personal narratives and cultural identity in a larger context: the family, community and the state.”

“I’ve always wanted to work with mirrors and body parts to create an installation, so I decided to work with legs for Res Publica, because everybody is curious about sexuality, especially in this case with the direct reference to the female genitals,” she explained. “In Res Publica, the female genitalia is a treasure, yet remains a hidden mystery, that is watched by the public eye.”

"Male Reproductive System" by Irene Febry Image by Richard Horstman                     Male Reproductive System, 2019 – Irene Febry

 

Tutur Tinular, 2015 Ni Luh Pangestu Widya Sari - Image by Richard Horstman    Sealing the Body and Tutur Tinular, 2019 – Ni Luh Pangestu Widya Sari

 

 

Tanda Seru!

Open 31 March – 13 April

Uma Seminyak,

Jalan Kayi Cendana 1.

Oberoi, Seminyak, Bali

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Richard Horstman & Futuwonder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bali art world personalities: meet Ruth Onduko

Ruth Onduko_Profile Photo                                                   Ruth Onduko

 

The 2008 GFC (global final crisis) spelt disaster for the Bali art world. The Indonesian art market after a record boom went to bust with collector’s buying immediately slowing, galleries around the island closed, while others wound down their activities. The woes continued with a decrease in tourism and smaller holiday budgets – luxury items such as artworks were off the shopping list.

Now, a decade on, the organic response by local artists, art communities and creatives is defining a new era of art infrastructure that is positively impacting upon the Bali art scene. Artist driven initiatives, alternatives spaces, foundations, creative hubs and cafes, along with new art and creative events – the art landscape is increasingly dynamic, exciting and inspiring. Behind these developments is a diverse group of people from different backgrounds shaping new horizons for Bali – one of these dedicated characters is Ruth Onduko.

Ruth Onduko along with members of Futuwonder and the public conducting a Wikilatih workshop (Wikipedia article writing) and uploading eighteen new articles on female artists from Bali. Puan Empu Seni: Edit-a-thon was a part of a national drive, held in conjunction with Wikimedia Indonesia, to increase the amount of data on Indonesian female artists available on the Internet’s most go-to source of information – Wikipedia.

Ruth Onduko hosting the opening of Futuwonder's most recent exhibition "Tanda Seru" March 2019 at Uma SeminyakRuth Onduko hosting the opening of Futuwonder’s most recent exhibition “Tanda Seru” open 31 March 2019 at Uma Seminyak

 

The most experienced and connected art manager on Bali, Ruth represents the new frontier of female art workers, including artists, writers and managers who are the essential ‘small army’ within the rising infrastructure. Born in Semarang, Central Java in 1983, a graduate in Communications Studies from the Gadjah Mada University, Yogjakarta in 2008 Ruth moved to Bali where she began her career as the Public Relations Officer and art event organizer at the Museum Kartun Indonesia, Bali in Kuta. Her next position as gallery manager at the Tony Raka Art Gallery in Ubud introduced her to the Indonesian contemporary art world, were she oversaw operations until 2012.

Ruth went on to project manage art collectives, art and photography communities and event managed “Merayakan Murni / Celebrating Murni”, the landmark collaborative initiative in 2016 by Ketemu Project Space, highlighting the legacy of late, iconic Balinese female artist I GAK Murniashi.

Puan Empu Seni, wikilatih 1.0 in collaboration with Wikimedia indonesia and Futuwonder, we held a workshop on how to make an entry to wikipedia, focusing on data entry of balinese female artists (1)Ruth Onduko along with members of Futuwonder and the public conducting a Wikilatih workshop (Wikipedia article writing) and uploading eighteen new articles on female artists from Bali. Puan Empu Seni: Edit-a-thon was a part of a national drive, held in conjunction with Wikimedia Indonesia, to increase the amount of data on Indonesian female artists available on the Internet’s most go-to source of information – Wikipedia.

 

Instrumental in the development of four important, recent projects that are helping to fill critical gaps within the infrastructure, and that will aid in the future sustainability of the Bali art ecosystem, Ruth has played vital roles in the creation of the annual world-class contemporary art exhibition Art Bali, the design themed event Seminyak Design Week, Futuwonder a collective supporting the women artists of Bali, and her pet social media project – a centralized portal of information promoting events throughout the island – “Senidibali” on Instagram.

“In 2016 I was about to participate in a group photo exhibition in Denpasar and was thinking of the best way to promote this event. At the same time a friend was asking me to help to promote her first exhibition,” Ruth explained. “Other artists, spaces, and communities also needed a platform as so many of them were already sending me their event information and asking me to share it out. Instagram is the easiest, and most accessible tool to engage with a wider audience, so I started @Senidibali, along with its supporting website. I understood the potential to help the community, and especially the art community by sharing what’s happening in the Bali art world.”

Puan Empu Seni, wikilatih 1.0 in collaboration with Wikimedia indonesia and Futuwonder, we held a workshop on how to make an entry to wikipedia, focusing on data entry of balinese female artists (2)Ruth Onduko addressing participants during Puan Empu Seni: Edit-a-thon at Rumah Sanur

 

“Seminyak is the trendsetters capital of Bali, one of the go to locations for foreign and local tourists, especially the millennials,” Ruth stated when revealing the origins of Seminyak Design Week. “Design consciousness is ever present within the architecture, the logo and brand design, and venue interiors – much of this awareness is created by communities of talented local designers. The Indonesian design industry has huge potential to contribute to the burgeoning creative economy. With this in mind, we wanted to showcase the creators who make designs for better communities.”

“I was employed by Uma Seminyak, a performance and event venue in Seminyak, as community manager in February 2018. Working together with the Uma’s team after 3 months of preparation we held the first Seminyak Design Week in May 2018,” she said. The event showcased 39 guest speakers, sixty crafters, designers, and architects participating with other creative spaces throughout Seminyak and Denpasar in design related events. Seminyak Design Week 2019 is slated for August.

55910093_365679750704060_8443468403250823168_oRuth Onduko addressing the audience and artists during the opening of “Tanda Seru”

 

“Bali has many artists, but lacks professionals in the field of art management and event organization. It also requires a specific venue for large-scale events,” Ruth said. “The rapid development of IT and the web is the foundation for enormous growth and opportunity, as more and more collaboration amongst the art workers with expertise continues.”

“It has always been one of my dreams to help create a large scale contemporary art event in Bali. In early 2017 I was asked to join the Art Bali team,” Ruth said. “It has been a great opportunity for me to work and learn directly from Indonesia’s leading art management group HPAM.” (Heri Pemad Art Management of Yogyakarta, responsible for the countries most unique contemporary art event ArtJog).

OPENING PAMERAN EFEK SAMPING DI KARJA ART SPACE, 20 OKT 2018_FUTUWONDER (2)The audience during the opening of the first Futuwonder exhibition “Masa Subur: Efek Samping” at Karja Art Space, Ubud, October 2018

 

A passionate photographer, Ruth Onduko’s excellent array of images can be viewed at:

www.flickr.com/photos/theonduko/

https://theonduko.weebly.com/

Instagram @senidibali

 

Words: Richard Horstman

Images: Ruth Onduko