Bali art scene on the ancient time was rooted from kamasan style. The name was taken from the village where it came from. Kamasan is in Klungkung regency (Eastern part of Bali). This kamasan style is two dimensional drawing which existed before 1920s. The drawing itself characterized Ramayana and Mahabharata epic at that time. This artwork was usually for the religious purposes or as ornament of temples. The materials for the painting itself was still traditional such as wood, cloth and tree leaf as the canvas, bamboo for drawing and using natural dyes. The painters during this period were anonymous.
Then the whole traditional art concept before 1920s changed into modern style and the materials used also changed. In 1920, the Balinese art got the influenced by western artists came to Bali such as: Walter Spies (German), Rudolph Bonnet (Dutch), Adrien Jean Le Mayeur (Belgian), and Donald Friend (Australian). The painting’s materials turned into canvas to replace the cloth, wood or tree leaf. Ink and paint to give color were introduced during this period. The painting purposes also expanded into broader usage which was not only for religious, or ornament of the temples. Then the individual expression appeared amongst the Balinese artists. One of the remarkable new styles of The Modern Balinese art artist is I Gusti Nyoman Lempad. The painting style in Ubud was shifted into the daily life and drama. The remarkable point for the painting was the focus changed into single focus, and the composition which was only for temples ornament into for the western collectors.
After the period, modern traditional art were developed which is signaled by modern tools used such as ink and canvas. There are three sources of modern art in Bali which has different tastes and characteristics in terms of theme and presentation; they are Ubud, Sanur and Batuan. Ubud then becomes the centre of the Balinese art after the 1920s. Some areas there developed their own art crafts; for instances: Ubud and Batuan (Sukawati area) which are well known for their painting. The neighboring areas; Mas is famous for their woodcarving, Celuk for their gold and silver smith, while Batubulan for their stone carving.
The Modern Traditional Painting which was developed by three regions which are Ubud, Batuan and Sanur area were getting famous in the world. These three places had set the difference in theme and presentation. Ubud painting used human figure, Sanur painting featured erotic human figures and animals, Batuan painting was less colorful and had a tendency to be busier. There are some museums both local and international which show Balinese modern traditional paintings:
Asia: The Asian Art Museum – Fukuoka, Japan and Singapore National Art Museum
USA: American Museum of Natural History – New York, United Nations – New York, Duke University Museum – Durham
Indonesia: Museum Sana Budaya and Bentara Budaya – Jogjakarta, Museum Puri Lukisan , Agung Rai Museum of Art, Neka Museum and Museum Rudana – Ubud.Europe: Tropenmuseum – Amsterdam, The Ethnnographic Museum – Vienna (Austria), The Ethnographic Museum – Basel (Switzerland).
Australia: The National Gallery and the Australian Museum – Sydney.
Slowly then Balinese art has influenced by the Contemporary art nowadays. The art scene in Bali now has developed into Contemporary art. Many young artists have borne to be young contemporary artists. There are many places that developed specific arts which have different tastes and characteristics which differ from one place to another. The local artists are getting wild in expressing their ideas. They are not limited by the tradition anymore. Their ideas are now expanded into wide imagination. In Bali, there are many emerging artists of contemporary art; such as Putu Sutawijaya, Chusin, Nyoman Wijaya, Sujana Kenyem, Teja Astawa.
Some existing galleries and museums that represent the Bali art scene nowadays are listed below:
Kendra Gallery. This beautiful art space is located in the heart of Seminyak, Kuta which is only 45 minutes from the international airport. This contemporary art gallery stands in the Uma Sapna Villa site area. The gallery itself is a part of the villas. This gallery has been known worldwide since it founded in June 2008. Kendra holds at least four to six exhibitions a year both from local artists and international ones. It aim is to support the young emerging artists as well as the established ones including young Balinese and Indonesian artists. They have several artworks from some Balinese young artists such as; Ketut Teja Astawa, Nyoman Wijaya, Chusin and Ida Bagus Putu Purwa.
Biasa Artspace. Supported by its clothing company, Biasa Artspace has made its own way to be well known in the art world and succeed to remain stronger since 2005. Biasa Artspace is a contemporary art gallery which also stands for supporting new emerging artists both locally and internationally. They now more work on art project recently with the emerging artists. They have made a break-through for Bali art scene. The space can be found in Seminyak area, just next to Biasa clothing shop.
Tony Raka, a gallery in Ubud. The gallery usually holds exhibitions for local Balinese artists. They are also supporting the young Balinese artist to be known locally and internationally. They actively conduct exhibitions for the artists.
Sika Art Galleries. It is located in Ubud area which is holding at least three exhibitions in a year. The aim is to support Indonesian art. This gallery is founded by Sanggar Dewata Indonesia Artists Foundation.
There are many more places that keep the sources of Balinese art all over Bali. Discover more yourself when you visit the island. Enrich your knowledge while having your extra ordinary holiday and obtain great experiences which remain uncover for you to feel and discover.