UBUD YOUNG ARTIST EXHIBITION

18 DECEMBER 2011 - 5 JANUARY 2012 AT ULUN UBUD RESORT & SPA, BALI

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Identifying a real good one

Trisha Sertori, Contributor, Ubud, Bali | Thu, 12/22/2011 10:55 AM

Art collector and business man, Lin Che Wei, is passionate about art. He is currently holding the Ubud Young Artists Exhibition at Ulun Ubud Resort under his foundation Sarasvati Art Management. Drawing together traditional style Balinese paintings from 17 local artists, Che Wei hopes to educate the public on what makes a great Balinese traditional painting and at the same time perhaps uncover “a real good one”.

“A real good one should have come up with a real idea. Not a copy, but a new idea, an original idea. This idea should then be executed with the right techniques, which has four or five phases of production,” explains Che Wei on the sidelines of the exhibition opening last Sunday.

There is first the sketching, then line work then the shading comes into play ahead of the color “to create depth of field”, says the art collector who wants to help preserve these skills by backing artists who still take the time to create masterpieces.

“Originally Balinese artists were agrarian based. They started painting after working in the rice fields and in village life. The paintings took a very long period of time to complete a real good one,” says Che Wei.

Market forces and modernity threaten this way of making art.

“When you look at the economics, if you go to the Sukawati market there are a lot of paintings that can be made in one or two days and then sell between US$20 to $40. If artists make small works in just two hours and they can sell them for $7 so in a month they could make around $600, but there is no soul in the paintings,” says Che Wei.

Through his foundation, Sarasvati Art Management that supports Bali’s traditional artists, he hopes they have the time to continue to produce the real good ones.


—  Trisha Sertori

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Art beyond commerce

Trisha Sertori, Contributor, Ubud | Thu, 12/22/2011 10:42 AM

“From the root if it is helped a tree will grow bigger and stronger. If there is no help it will surely die,” said Pak Anak Agung Moening in a metaphor of Balinese art.

Moening has been curator of Ubud, Bali’s fine art museum Puri Lukisan’s for the past 60 years and he was speaking of the threat to traditional Balinese art forms, if these are reduced to the commercial rather than the devotional, on the sidelines of an artists’ lunch for the opening of the Ubud Young Artists exhibition at Ulun Ubud Resort on Sunday.

Now well into his seventh decade, Pak Moening says he has witnessed many fine artists turn from the true path of art making to become “factories” for handicrafts.

There is a light now shining that may well support Bali’s fine artists; sarasvati Art Management is currently promoting Bali’s most talented emerging artists to the nation, and also educating people on what constitutes fine art within traditional Balinese painting styles.

The styles such as the extraordinarily detailed works of Keliki painters who use brushes as “fine as two human hairs,” for their line work, according to Sarasvati head, Syenny Setiawan. She is the wife of well-known traditional Balinese art collector, Lin Che Wei, who founded Sarasvati in 2010 with the goal of “protecting and sustaining traditional Balinese art, as well as the artists behind them,” according to the foundation’s mission.

Syenny explains the idea for Sarasvati Art Management came about “because my husband had long been collecting Balinese art and it was everywhere,” says Syenny who then set up a database of works and with Che Wei considered ways to protect and support Bali’s fine art practitioners. Sarasvati was born.

Syenny says she has relied heavily on the knowledge and guidance of Pak Moening in identifying Bali’s emerging artists and learning the stories and techniques housed in the painting that can take more than a year to produce.

As a financial whiz, Syenny’s husband, Che Wei, has taken a pragmatic approach to his stable of artists’ promotion and support and the education of the public on the fine art of Bali, planting what he terms “hidden jewels”, in exhibitions so viewers are not influenced simply by price tag, but by the qualities within the works.

“We purposely put hidden jewels of works, purposely under priced and we are sometimes surprised when collectors cannot spot that hidden jewel — others with a trained eye spot them and know ‘this is the one, so it’s (Sarasvati) about education,” says Che Wei.

He adds the organization breaks down artworks and artists, “screening out decorative artists”, and focusing on collectible artists to bring them to the point where they become ”investable” artists.

“With these collectible artists we say why don’t you value yourself and we lead them forward,” says Che Wei.

Sarasvati recognizes the great financial difficulties faced by artists who dedicate their lives and talent to following the true path to fine art, rather than cruising the down hill run of commercialism, which in the short term may offer a much better income for compromised art.

“The trick is how to prevent these artists from temptation. Some feel this [working months on an art work] is too much hassle and are tempted by commercialism. Having a financial background, I saw if I wanted to help collectable artists, we needed to address their financial issues,” says Che Wei, who through Sarasvati “adopts pieces and supports artists”, with the long-term goal of bringing them
into the bankable ranks of artists such as Affandi, whose works always attract buyers.

For Bali’s “young artists” who are mostly now in their 40s, the opportunity to have their traditional style works exhibited and supported by Sarasvati is invaluable, not only in financial terms, but in its recognition of their personal sacrifice to their art making.

“This is important to promote paintings that are non-commercial art, but real art,” says 43-year-old I Nyoman Sana of Tegalalang who has been painting since he was a child.

Colorful: The kaleidoscope of life is represented in Balinese art. 

Colorful: The kaleidoscope of life is represented in Balinese art.

“This [group] exhibition is good because Bali artists take a long time to create  a painting so collecting enough works for solo exhibition is difficult. If we can exhibit like  this [group show], we solve the problem of spending years not exhibiting. Sarasvati is very important because with support like this we can work totally in the art and don’t need to just chase money, but instead make special art, to express ourselves in art,” says Sana during the Ubud Young Artists Exhibition opening.

According to artist I Wayan Warta Yasa, commercialism over quality is not the only issue facing Bali’s art future, he fears people will not take up a brush at all.

“Organizations like Sarasvati are important because in Bali so many are leaving painting to work in hotels.  For me, I follow art. I am happy and art makes life more active and valuable, meaning if we succeed from art in Bali we may become artists of Indonesia as Bali’s traditional artists. I hope that if people don’t know the paintings they will at least know the artists — if they die they will be remembered.

If they work as hotel staff, who will remember them?” asks Yasa.

Sarasvati, like the artists it represents, is dedicated to Bali’s fine art and is ready for the hard work it will take to educate art lovers on Bali’s artistic traditions and join champions of this art form like Pak Moening who says “It’s about the work. It’s hard work [art] you need to be creative, to trust in yourself, have your own ideas and be creative, then you can move forward.”


— Photos by J.B.Djwan

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Opening of Ubud Young Artists Exhibition: Celebration of Talents

Visitors were actually interested in taking a good look at each painting and getting to know the philosophical stories behind them

Visitors were taking a good look at each painting and getting to know the philosophical stories behind them

Celebration of new talents. From left to right: I Made Arka, Ngakan Ketut Suarbawa, I Wayan Warta Yasa, and I Wayan Rumantara

Celebration of new talents. From left to right: I Made Arka, Ngakan Ketut Suarbawa, I Wayan Warta Yasa, and I Wayan Rumantara



Lin Che Wei, founder of Sarasvati Art Management was dicussing the painting "Kala Rau" by I Made Kiul, with a contributor from Jakarta Post, Trisha Sertori

Lin Che Wei, founder of Sarasvati Art Management was dicussing the painting “Kala Rau" by I Made Kiul, with a contributor from Jakarta Post, Trisha Sertori



Lin Che Wei, also a financial analyst, was giving thanks to all the painters and motivating them with praises and supports

Lin Che Wei, also a financial analyst, was giving thanks to all the painters and motivating them with praises and supports

The opening was marked with a get-together lunch with the artists

The opening was marked with a get-together lunch with the artists

Discussion among the art enthusiasts. From left to right: Syenny Setiawan (head of Sarasvati Art Management), Jean Couteau (a renowned curator), AA Gde Moening (curator of Puri Lukisan Museum), Trisha Sertori (contributor of The Jakarta Post)

Discussion among the art enthusiasts. From left to right: Syenny Setiawan (head of Sarasvati Art Management), Jean Couteau (a renowned curator), AA Gde Moening (curator of Puri Lukisan Museum), Trisha Sertori (contributor of The Jakarta Post)

Happy faces embracing the 19 days of exhibition

Happy faces anticipating the 19 days of exhibition

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KALA RAU

Artist: Kiul, I Made

Size: 64 cm x 126 cm

Year: 2007

Medium: acrylic on canvas

Price: Rp 13.000.000

Story:

Kala Rau is a demon in Balinese mythology. He takes the form of a head without the body. Once, he wanted to drink water from Tirta Amertha (water of eternal life), although in fact this water is only for the deities. Dewi Ratih who knew about it, notified Vishnu, who then threw his cakram (magic weapon) and beheaded the demon. But at that time, Tirta Amertha had already touched the demon’s throat, which enabled him to live forever. Kala Rau wanted to take revenge on Dewi Ratih and so he pursued her to heaven. According to this myth, at times when Dewi Ratih was caught, a lunar eclipse happened.

I Made Kiul:

I Made Sudiardana, or popularly known as I Made Kiul, was born in 1981. He is a self-taught, promising young artist with a passion to preserve traditional Balinese painting.

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Artist: Arka, I Made
Size: 55 cm x 65 cm
Year: 2009
Medium: acrylic on canvas
Price: Rp 10.000.000
Story:

Bali’s life and nature have always become Arka’s interest. In this  painting, Arka captures his experience and imagination of life  underwater in beautiful colours. This painting pictures a fish couple  who is having a romance. The blue one is perhaps the male, and the pink  one is the female. While they are conversing, the smaller fishes which  surround them are eyeing in joy.

I Made Arka:

I Made Arka was born in Banjar Dukuh, Kenderan, Tegallalang in 1969.  He  learned painting from his uncle, I Wayan Rada, and also I Nyoman  Daging  from Peliatan. Actively participates in various group  exhibitions in  Denpasar, Jakarta, Japan, and Canada; in 2008 he held a  solo painting  exhibition in Perth, Australia.
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Artist: Arka, I Made
Size: 71 cm x 51 cm
Year: 2001
Medium: acrylic on paper
Price: Rp 15.000.000
Story:

Kakawin Sutasoma was written by Mpu Tantular in the ‘golden age’ of  the Majapahit Empire. The story was about a king called Purusada. He  had gathered together 100 kings to offer to God Kala, but Kala did not  want to accept them. Kala wanted to be offered King Sutasoma instead.  Purusada made war with Sutasoma, but because Sutasoma did not resist, he  was captured and sacrificed to Kala. Sutasoma was prepared to be eaten  so that the 100 kings could go free. Purusada was so affected by this  sacrifice that he tried to atone for it. Finally, the 100 kings were  released.

I Made Arka:

I Made Arka was born in Banjar Dukuh, Kenderan, Tegallalang in 1969. He  learned painting from his uncle, I Wayan Rada, and also I Nyoman Daging  from Peliatan. Actively participates in various group exhibitions in  Denpasar, Jakarta, Japan, and Canada; in 2008 he held a solo painting  exhibition in Perth, Australia.
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TANTRI KAMANDAKA (GEESE AND TURTLE)

Artist: Alit Putra, Ida Bagus

Size: 43 cm x 60 cm

Year: 2007

Medium: acrylic on paper

Price: Rp 14.000.000

Story:

Tantri Kamandaka is sourced from the book of Pancatantra. It contains stories about animals or fables. By illustrating characteristics and emotions of animals, humans are expected to learn from them. One popular story in Tantri Kamandaka is the story of a turtle named Empas, who just lost a fight with another animal. Luckily, he was rescued by two geese that were willing to carry him with a stick he had to bite. However, these two birds gave him one condition: Empas may not open his mouth. He agreed, and soon the three of them flew across the sky. Below, Empas was being teased by a dog so that he would open his mouth. The dog kept on mocking him, and unfortunately, Empas could not hold himself. He shouted back to the dog and eventually fell down to the ground because of his stupidity.

Ida Bagus Alit Putra:


Born in 1970 in Sidemen, Karangasem.

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HANUMAN DUTA

Artist: Warta Yasa, I Wayan

Size: 46 cm x 17 cm

Year: 2007

Medium: ink on paper

Price: Rp 9.000.000

Story:

Worrying about her husband, Sita asked Dewi Trijata to go to Mount Kiskenda to search for Rama and Lakshman, Rama’s brother. Dewi Trijata, daughter of Wibisana, was appointed by Rahvana to take care of Sita while she was held in captive. Wibisana was the younger brother of King Rahvana, the ten-face rakshasa (giant) who ruled Alengka Kingdom. Although they came from a rakshasa family, Wibisana and her daughter took the forms of humans. After searching high and low, Dewi Trijata finally encountered Rama and Lakshman who were fortunately alive. Rama then asked Hanuman; the ape-like deity who was an ardent devotee of Rama, to accompany Dewi Trijata came back to Alengka. Both flew traversing the oceans. Underwater, there were eyes spying on them. One of them was Dewi Sigarkara.

I Wayan Warta Yasa:


Born in 1971, I Wayan Warta Yasa is a former student of I Nyoman Daging. Both are painters from school of Peliatan. Warta Yasa’s paintings depict themes from Mahabarata epic and Hindu mythologies. His strong sense of tradition is one of his key characters. Many of his best paintings take the ‘ink on paper’ as medium.

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DHARMAWANGSA’S DREAM

Artist: Warta Yasa, I Wayan

Size: 73 cm x 53 cm

Year: 2009

Medium: acrylic on canvas

Price: Rp 15.000.000

Story:

Dharmawangsa, also known as Yudhistira, is the eldest of Pandawa family. He was the king who ruled Kuru Kingdom, with Hastinaputra as its capital. Dharmawangsa was known for his fine traits: fair, patient, honest, obedient to the teachings of religion, confident, and dare to speculate. One night, Darmawangsa dreamt of a very beautiful young lady. She was indeed very lovely, yet boastful and arrogant. He went to tell his brother, Arjuna, about this dream. Arjuna told him that this beautiful young lady was actually real and alive. Because of Arjuna’s wit, Dharmawangsa was eventually married to the lady.

I Wayan Warta Yasa:


Born in 1971, I Wayan Warta Yasa is a former student of I Nyoman Daging. Both are painters from school of Peliatan. Warta Yasa’s paintings depict themes from Mahabarata epic and Hindu mythologies. His strong sense of tradition is one of his key characters. Many of his best paintings take the ‘ink on paper’ as medium.

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GANESHA

Artist: Suarbawa, Ngakan Ketut

Size: 25 cm x 35 cm

Year: 2011

Medium: acrylic on paper

Price: Rp 6.000.000

Story:

Ganesha, son of God Shiva and Goddess Parvati, is one of the best-known deities in Hinduism. His elephant head, which is a symbol of auspiciousness, strength and intellectual prowess, makes him easily recognized. Ganesha is generally pictured with his four hands, signifying his divinity. He is normally shown with one hand in the abhaya pose of protection and refuge, and the second one holding a sweet (modaka), symbolic of the sweetness of the realized inner self. In the two hands behind him, he often holds an ankusha (elephant goad) and a pasha (noose). The noose is to convey that worldly attachments and desires are a noose. The goad is to prod man to the path of righteousness and truth. With this goad Ganesha can both strike and repel obstacles. His pot belly signifies the bounty of nature and also that Ganesha swallows the sorrows of the Universe and protects the world. Ganesha is widely revered as the Remover of Obstacles.

Ngakan Ketut Suarbawa:


Born in 1970 in Kelusa, Ngakan Suarbawa first learned painting from I Ketut Dana when he was still 14 years old. He went to a fine art school at Batubulan, and found his love in painting intricate details.

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THE CHARM OF BALINESE VILLAGE LIFE

Artist: Sana, I Nyoman 

Size : 85 cm x 120 cm

Year : 2009

Medium: acrylic on canvas

Price: Rp 30.000.000

Story:

It is not too much to call Bali as an island of paradise. Looking at its natural wonders, Bali indulges our body and soul with its scenic view, artistic marvel, and of course its rituals and ceremonies. Paddy fields in Bali are terrace shaped, curved and in compliance to the shape of the mountains. From the distance, we can see that they are created to look like a green amphitheatre, so harmonious and in line with the nature. Women and men are helping each other to plant the seeds in their sawah (paddy fields). Balinese farming system embraces all elements in nature and uses a water management system (irrigation) called subak.

I Nyoman Sana:


Born in 1975 in Baung, I Nyoman Sana first learned painting when he was 12 years old from I Made Rauh. His favorite themes are village life and sceneries. Since he first becomes a painter, Sana sticks on his Baung style.

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DEWA BARUNA
Artist : Bawa, Pande Ketut 
Size : 50 cm x 64 cm
Year : 2008
Medium : acrylic on paper
Price: Rp 62.500.000

Story:

Dewa Baruna, the god who rules over seas and oceans, is blessing the living plants and animals under water. On the top left, stood Sanghyang Acintya, God Almighty who creates all these living beings. In the hand of Pande, the corals look alive as there are eyes, noses, and mouths attached to their bodies. While emphasizing the living energy of these plants, the decorative element also enhances his Balinese traditional character. 

Pande Ketut Bawa:

Born in 1956, Pande first learned painting   when he was still in elementary school from his own brother, Pande Wayan   Karsa. In 1978, he developed his unique “aquarium” style, depicting  the  beauty of life under water. His paintings have been exhibited in  Bali,  Jakarta, Surabaya, and is even collected by a renowned painter,  Arie  Smit.
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BIMA IN SEARCH FOR TIRTA KAMANDALU
Artist : Bawa, Pande Ketut 
Size : 48  cm x 60 cm
Year : 2007
Medium : acrylic on paper
Price: Rp 62.500.000

Story:

As the strongest among the five Pandawa, the salvation of his family is on Bima’s hands. Being tortured during the war with Kurawa family, a war which was lost by the Pandawa, Bima had to dive under water to search for tirta kamandalu, an elixir which was able to rescue his brothers. After winning over a battle with Naga Basuki, finally Bima succeeded in fetching the elixir to the Pandawa. 

Pande Ketut Bawa:

Born in 1956, Pande first learned painting  when he was still in elementary school from his own brother, Pande Wayan  Karsa. In 1978, he developed his unique “aquarium” style, depicting the  beauty of life under water. His paintings have been exhibited in Bali,  Jakarta, Surabaya, and is even collected by a renowned painter, Arie  Smit.
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DIAH BASUNARI’S ESCAPE TO BUAH LOKA
Artist : Bawa, Pande Ketut 
Size : 58  cm x 54 cm
Year : 2008
Medium : acrylic on paper
Price: Rp 56.250.000


Story:

Diah Basunari is the daughter of Antaboga,  the god who conquers the world of under earth. Because she was  prohibited to go out from where she lived, one day she went out and flew  to Buah Loka. Once she arrived in the midst of a forest, she met Begawan Respati who was sitting solemnly in his meditative pose. Diah Basunari was trying to seduce him with any way she could, but Begawan Respati did not move. Not giving up, Diah Basunari then came to a villager’s house to cook a delicious dish made of livers  and guts. The aroma was flooding the whole village, and up to the skies  above. The meditating Begawan Respati also smelled the aroma of this delicious dish. Wandering what aroma it  was, he was awaken from his meditation and promised himself to find  where he could eat this dish. Eventually, the aroma led him to where Diah Basunari cooked. He asked her if he could have a taste of the meal, but Diah Basunari refused. She gave him one condition. If Begawan Respati were to eat the dish, he would promise to take her with him wherever he  went, as husband and wife. Couldn’t control his desire of the food, the  married Begawan Respati then said yes to Diah Basunari.




Pande Ketut Bawa:

Born in 1956, Pande first learned painting when he was still in elementary school from his own brother, Pande Wayan Karsa. In 1978, he developed his unique “aquarium” style, depicting the beauty of life under water. His paintings have been exhibited in Bali, Jakarta, Surabaya, and is even collected by a renowned painter, Arie Smit. 
 
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PAWIWAHAN DAN MEPANDES
Artist : Lanus, I Made
Size : 25 cm x 50 cm
Year : 2010
Medium : acrylic on paper
Price: Rp 15.000.000


Story:

In Bali, wedding and cutting teeth ceremonies are also called as pawiwahan and mepandes. Pawiwahan is a wedding ceremony which is held before God and people, to announce  that the couple is now married and is ready to enter the life of a  family (grahasta). Mepandes is a ritual which is held to scrape the six negativities within ourselves, which is called Sat Ripu. They are desire (kama), greed (lobha), resentment (krodha), drunkenness (mada), ignorance (moha), and envy (matsarya).  These six traits were symbolized in the trimming of six teeth: the two  canine teeth and four upper incisors. This ceremony is usually done when  a teenager enters his or her puberty, or when a man or a woman is going  to get married. This ritual is obligatory as a Balinese, and parents  are also responsible for this ceremony to be held.    

I Made Lanus:

Born in 1969 in Kalusau, Payangan, I Made Lanus first learned painting when he was 12 years old. I Made Astawa was his mentor. An emerging painter, Lanus has his artworks exhibited in Museum Puri Lukisan, Bali.