The Jakarta Post
Artist I Wayan Karja was standing in Sayan Villa near Ubud, Bali, taking a picture of Mount Agung late November last year, admiring its beauty and ready to update friends abroad that the volcano had not yet erupted, despite all the warnings.
"I turned around and walked about 100 meters before I turned back and then suddenly everything changed. You could see the eruption just as it started. I went home about 15 or 20 minutes later and got started on painting it," Wayan told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday during the opening night of his latest exhibition in Jakarta.
Wayan's interpretation of the erupting volcano now greets guests at his latest exhibition titled "Cosmic Energy" currently being held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) headquarters in Central Jakarta and running until Aug. 12.
The volcano was a unique experience, he said, as usually the painting process depended on a mood and meditation in search of inspiration to pour out on a canvas, where he specializes in abstract art.
"That way, what I'm displaying is not merely colors on the canvas [...] I hope for people who see it, it can be a door to provide self exploration, so that the person who sees it can find themselves from that color," Wayan said.
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The 53-year-old painter, who is Balinese, said the local Balinese beliefs and culture remain strong inspirations in his work. The mostly Hindu Balinese uphold a belief that each direction of the wind - north, south, east, west - is guarded by a god and represents a certain energy and color.
"I myself see that colors also have their own energy," Wayan said.
CSIS co-founder Jusuf Wanandi, who has been observing Wayan's work for decades, noted that the artist's paintings had become more complex, as the technique created more depth and translated poignant emotions. What used to be larger segments of colors over a canvas now have become layers or a multitude of colors on top of each other.
"With time, the colors have become stronger, and the feelings communicated from the painter, from Pak Karja, have also become clearer," Jusuf said.
Jusuf has exhibited Wayan's work four times, noting that the painter has also progressed as an artist, growing from a naturalist painter to a minimalist, post-modern artist, incorporating knowledge and emotions into his work.
The Jakarta Post CEO Judistira Wanandi, an architect and art analyst, said that Wayan's play of colors was immediately appealing and provided layered nuances.
"The way I see his work is in a way that it gives a wash of inspiration," Judistira said. (kes)