The aptly titled volume illuminates not only the exquisite lines of Lempad’s artwork, but also the intangible elements of Balinese identity that those lines represent.
Lempad’s depiction of the moment of birth, for instance, uses simple black ink lines on paper to portray a baby emerging from the womb, but the midwife and the father are not looking at the child.
They are battling the otherworldly creatures that are scrambling to grab the newborn at the precarious moment when the first breath is drawn. The father embraces his wife with one arm while brandishing a knife at the fanged demon that is gnawing at her forehead.
The midwife is holding the infant’s head in her hand as she positions herself to block the advance of another demon with a frog dangling from its toes. Offerings of fruit, flowers and coconuts are positioned directly below the child’s head, providing an element of supernatural protection in this ferocious struggle of life against death.
Bali’s invisible world is made visible in Lempad’s rapturous line drawings. With an astonishing economy of means, he brings to life the sacred and mundane elements of Balinese culture with all their contradictions on display.