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.


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.


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.


Larasati auctions painting of Kala Rahu by Ketut Madra and 1973 student

Bidding started at IDR 15 million at ARMA last Sunday for a 1973 painting of Kala Rahu.

The work, signed on the back by I Ketut Madra and on the front by his then-teen-age student Dewa Nyoman Pyadnya, shows Kala Rahu in the heavenly garden of the gods about to drink the elixir of immortality (tirta amerta). He is spotted by Ratih, goddess of the moon at upper right; she alerts Wisnu (just below), who prepares to hurl his spiked and razor-edged discus (cakra) at the intruder.


The work was selected by Larasati from about 20 pieces in the recent Museum Puri Lukisan exhibition, “Ketut Madra and 100 Years of Balinese Wayang Painting.” Larasati chose the painting in part because this scene from the Kala Rahu story is rarely shown in Balinese art and in part for the clarity of the representation of all the attending deities.

Ketut Madra had four apprentices in 1973. It was the traditional way for a young person to learn to paint. The student would live at the master’s house, help to prepare canvas and tools, and learn the ancient stories of the wayang kulit and the technique of capturing them on paper and canvas.

Dewa Nyoman was Madra’s most talented student that year by far. For a large work on canvas such as this, his assistance, under close supervision, would include adding shading to the line and then some of the color after the fully inked drawing of each element had been completed by Madra.

There were five bids for the work and the auction hammer fell at 19 million rupiah.

I still don’t know who bought the piece.

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.



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.


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.


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.


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


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…


And Ketut and me as the show began.


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.


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. 


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).


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

The two photos above show two paintings by Ketut Madra depicting the story of Kala Rahu.

The first was taken at his sanggah or family temple in Banjar Kalah in Peliatan in 1973. The second is an installation shot of the same pair of paintings in the exhibition “Ketut Madra and 100 Years of Balinese Wayang Painting” at Ubud’s Museum Puri Lukisan from October 7 to November 7, 2013.

The paintings were retired from temple service in the mid-1990s after 20-plus years and replaced with new ones. The top photo is part of a series shot by Barbara Miller as the family renovated the sanggah in preparation for its odalan.