Artivist, observes and reports on developments in the Bali and Indonesian art scenes
Bali Megarupa, a large-scale exhibition featuring 103 modern and contemporary artists from Bali, came to a close on Nov. 10.
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 Bali's art infrastructure by the Bali administration.
The Bali administration has two distinct annual art events, the Bali Arts Festival held in Denpasar in June and July, with the objective of preservation and development of the traditional arts, and Bali Jani Arts Festival for modern and contemporary art, recently conducted in October and November. Bali Jani is a new initiative of the Bali administration's cultural office under the leadership of Wayan Kun Adnayana, translating the vision of Bali Governor Wayan Koster, namely Nangun Sat Kerthi Loka Bali, dedicated to art and culture. Bali Megarupa is part of the Bali Jani Arts Festival that accommodates the existing modern and contemporary artists and art communities.
“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 regional bylaws,“ said Kun Adnyana. “The objectives are to make Bali a center 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, 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 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.
The opening ceremony of Bali Megarupa on Oct. 10 at ARMA in Ubud included the spectacular Gladi Ritus Seni Tarirupabunyi "Kidung Megarupa", a contemporary art performance led by the renowned Nyoman Erawan and 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), on display at ARMA; Banaspati Raja (2019) by Wayan Adi Sucipta; Ari Winata’s Bali Singahmadawa (2019); Limit (2019) by Gede Ngurah Pandji; Sang Hyang Baruna (2019), eye-catching works by Made Karyana at Puri Lukisan; and Pertarungan (2019) by Putu ‘Edy’ Asmara at Neka. You Sit on my Sh*t (2019) by DP Arsa Putra, Putu Wirantawan’s Gugusan Energi Alam Batin 7.3.10.019// (2019) and Dewa Rata Yoga’s four by one meter canvas Menuju Harapan Baru (2019) were noteworthy at Bentara Budaya.
Side events of Bali Megarupa included the discussion "Gerakan Seni Rupa Bali sebagai Seruan Kesadaran (Bali Fine Arts Movement as a Call for Awareness)", featuring speakers such as Kompas senior journalist Nawa Tunggal, cultural observer Bambang Bujono and Wayan Kun Adnyana. The event was attended by over 150 people at Neka Art Museum on Oct. 11. There was also Lintas Media Bebas Rupa on Oct. 26, another artist’s talk at Bentara Budaya led by Made Kaek with artist Made Bayak, head of Denpasar Photography Association Tjandra Hutama, illustrator Monez and video artist Kokoksaja. The closing of Bali MegaRupa featured a workshop in the gardens of Musem Puri Lukisan, conducted by the Baturlangun artist’s collective of Batuan with elementary school children from Batuan and vocational school teenagers from SMK/SMSR Ubud.
The 2019 appointment of well-known Balinese artist and curator Kun Adnyana as 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 potentials. 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.”
"Pak Kun Adnyana has asked the committee to evaluate Bali Megarupa to help determine the community's satisfaction. There are internal researches and a questionnaire that needs to be completed, along with a 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 balimegarupa.id, which will be developed into a digital gallery and a documentation center for all Balinese art."
The feedback I have received about BaliMegarupa from various participants has been generally positive, and they are looking forward to the ongoing development of the event. A few comments, however, noted that the curatorial process needs improving, while others questioned the extravagance of the opening ceremony. Some also wonder if Megarupa will achieve any real positive outcome. 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.
During the closing event on Nov. 10 at Puri Lukisan, Kun Adnyana requested that Bali Megarupa embrace all stakeholders in Bali to expand cooperation networks to support this event. "Big ideas will not develop if they are not executed properly through intensive collaboration as a joint project with a strong vision to deliver tangible and valuable future outcomes that have a real impact,” he said.
Kun Adnyana has welcomed “artists, observers, thinkers, researchers, journalists, art lovers and stakeholders” to participate in “collaborative and creative partnerships, expand cooperative networks to increase the necessary discourses” and 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.
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 and has a distinct transforming power, yet its potentials are underutilized in 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. (wng)
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