What I loved most about the opening of “Illuminating Line: Master Drawings of I Gusti Nyoman Lempad” at Ubud’s Puri Lukisan Museum last week was the sheer enthusiasm of Balinese people of all ages for the work that this timeless artist created.

Balinese Calendar (Palelintangan) commissioned from I Gusti Nyoman Lempad by Canadian composer Colin McPhee in 1937, and donated to the American Museum of Natural History, ink, cinnabar, gouache and gold leaf on bark-cloth, 257 x 160 cm.

If you’re in Bali or nearby…

… do please come to the opening of “Illuminating Line: Master Drawings of I Gusti Nyoman Lempad” and the book launch of Lempad of Bali: The Illuminating Line on Saturday at 6:00 PM at the Museum Puri Lukisan, Jalan Raya, Ubud. 

One hundred Lempad images, most of them not seen in Bali since before WWII, are now hanging at the museum.

We’re expecting 1000 people; we plan to feed them all; and we’re hoping you can make it, too.

The drawing below, “Ni Bawang Decorated by the Birds of the Forest,” is from the collection of the Vienna Ethnographic Museum. A detail appears on the cover of Lempad of Bali.

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Help Bring Lempad Back to Bali

I’m returning to Bali next week to help design and mount the exhibition “Illuminating Line: Master Drawings of I Gusti Nyoman Lempad” at Ubud’s Museum Puri Lukisan.

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If you would like to “help bring Lempad back to Bali” there’s a FundRazr campaign here where a $150 contribution will cover the cost of bringing a Balinese village painters association to the exhibition or place a catalog in an Indonesian university or art museum library.

And if you would like to buy Lempad of Bali: The Illuminating Line, the exquisite catalog of the exhibition with 500 rarely seen Lempad drawings, the Museum Puri Lukisan is offering a pre-publication special price here.

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Museum Puri Lukisan Acquires Four Paintings from Madra-Wayang Exhibition

Ubud’s Museum Puri Lukisan purchased four paintings from its recent exhibition Ketut Madra and 100 Years of Balinese Wayang Painting. Two works by Ketut Madra of Peliatan and two by the late Pan Semari of Kamasan join the museum’s permanent collection for display with other wayang work in Gedung III.

The exhibition and its catalog included 69 Balinese wayang paintings created over the previous century – 40 from my collection, 15 from Ketut Madra’s, and the remaining 14 from seven museums and private collections in the USA and Bali.

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Hanoman and Surya by Ketut Madra (above, acrylic on canvas, 54.5 x 44 cm, 1972, #55 in the exhibition catalog) was the catalog cover image and was also used for one of the exhibition posters. One of the most widely reproduced paintings by Madra, it also appears in the September 2013 Departures magazine article Wayang: How to Paint a Legend.

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Ketut Madra’s Dharmaswami (above, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 50.5 cm, 2013, #68 in the exhibition catalog) is a recent work completed just before the exhibition. It tells the same Tantri legend as the 1935 work by Ida Bagus Gelgel of Kamasan (below) – one of the best known and most highly regarded paintings in the Museum Puri Lukisan. Madra created the work especially for the exhibition to honor the Gelgel painting.

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The other two paintings acquired by the museum are the work of Kamasan artist Pan Semari (1922-2000). Both depict Ramayana scenes in natural pigments with gold leaf on hardboard and include the appropriate verses in Balinese script. I bought the paintings from the artist in 1973.

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   Abduction of Sita, Pan Semari, 58 x 70 cm, 1973, exhibition catalog #29

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Rama and Laksmana Released by Garuda from Meganada’s Nagapasa, Pan Semari, 58 x 70 cm, 1973, exhibition catalog #39

Ketut Madra at the Exhibition Opening

Perhaps my greatest pleasure at the opening of Ketut Madra and 100 Years of Balinese Wayang Painting on October 7 was seeing the joy the event gave this modest 73-year-old artist.

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Most of the guests at the opening were Balinese and about half of them were fellow artists who wanted to have their picture taken with Madra.

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And Puri Lukisan curator Agung Muning (below right) finally realized the wish of his old friend Rudolf Bonnet to have Madra’s work in the museum’s permanent collection.

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Ketut also reconnected with old friends: Rucina Ballinger (left) and Rio Helmi (right) who’ve known him for almost 40 years introduce him to Catriona Mitchell.

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Madra and Ketut Sudarsa with one of their favorite paintings from the Tebesaya Gallery….

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Verra Mulianingsih and Luh Windiari, who translated the exhibition catalog into Indonesian, on Ketut’s right and left, with Julie Boak and Ketut’s wife Wayan Konderi on the right…

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And Ketut and me as the show began.

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At top left, Agung Muning, curator at the Museum Puri Lukisan where he has worked for the past 59 years, plus a few installation shots of the exhibition “Ketut Madra and 100 Years of Balinese Wayang Painting” at the Musuem Puri Lukisan in Ubud, 7 October to 10 November, 2013. Photos by Anggara Mahendra.

Pictures at an Exhibition – with Kids

Ten children from Yellow Coco, the art workshop in Nyuhkuning, showed up for a Galungan gallery talk on Balinese wayang painting as children’s stories.

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Yellow Coco, which brings Balinese and expat children living near Ubud together for out-of-school lessons in art, music, dance and creative expression is led by Susan Allen (below, left) and her husband Susiawan.

Susiawan caught me in the photo below expressing the surprise felt by Surya, god of the sun, and Aruna, the grat bird who carries him across the sky, when the young Hanoman, mistook the rising sun for a ripe red fruit. 

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The painting of Hanoman and Surya above is by Gusti Ketut Kobot (1917-1999) of Pengosekan. Peliatan painter Ketut Madra’s version of the same story appears below. Kobot’s work shows the astonishment of Surya and Aruna in the moment. Madra’s captures the same scene a few seconds later after Surya and Aruna realize that their “attacker” is the already powerful and impetuous young Hanoman. (A detailed photo of the Madra version of the story appears in the invitation to the opening, three posts below this one).

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Ketut Madra and 100 Years of Balinese Wayang Painting continues at the Museum Puri Lukisan until Thursday, 7 November.

People and pictures – opening night for Ketut Madra and 100 Years of Balinese Wayang Painting at the Museum Puri Lukisan

First shots of the opening of Ketut Madra and 100 Years of Balinese Wayang Painting, at Ubud’s Museum Puri Lukisan, 7 October 2013

Soemantri Widagdo and Ketut Madra talk wayang art…

… in Madra’s studio in Banjar Kalah, Peliatan, before the Ramayana wayang kulit performance there on April 13.

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Soemantri (left) is a volunteer curator at Ubud’s Museum Puri Lukisan, which will host the exhibition, Ketut Madra and 100 Years of Wayang Painting from October 7 to November 7, 2013. Madra’s Ramayana painting of the Sacrifice of Dewi Sita (Sita Satya) in the background is a recent work that will be in the exhibition.