Exactly one year after the passing away of his father on Valentine’s day 2013, Dewa Putrayasa and friends have organized an exhibition at the Museum Puri Lukisan Ratna Warta. Richard Horstman reflects:
Dewa Nyoman Batuan, born in Pengosekan, Ubud 1939, was an icon within the world of Balinese art.
He was an effervescent character with a cheeky smile and a twinkle in his eyes, an encounter with Batuan was always a joy. Sadly he was taken from us, aged 73 in early February 2013.
Within the narrative of Balinese modern traditional art the villages of Ubud, Batuan and Sanur captured the most attention. However, Pengosekan, just south of Ubud has its own tale, along with the distinction of producing some truly unique artists.
Dewa Batuan had a vision for his village of Pengosekan that manifested into the Pengosekan Community of Artists in 1970. Through his entrepreneurial endeavor he was to help establish a market for the local paintings that was able to contribute enormously for the well being of the community of poor farmers.
At Ubud’s Museum Puri Lukisan, the Pengosekan Painting Exhibition, titled “Dewa Batuan and the Community” opened on the 14th February and continues through until 10th April 2014. The exhibition pays tribute to Batuan and his enduring legacy. Including more than 40 works all painted by students of Batuan and his older brother Dewa Putu Mokoh, both Batuan and Mokoh were students of Pengosekan’s most famous artist Gusti Ketut Kobot (1917 – 1999).
In the early days in Pengosekan artists began painting in the two dimensional Balinese Wayang style revealing stories from the Hindu sacred texts. Next they experimented in a “new” 3D format tales from local daily village life, characterized by vibrant market and ceremonial temples scenes. However the signature style of paintings that evolved from Pengosekan in 1980’s was the Flora and Fauna style that depicted Balinese wildlife set in beautiful environmental scenes.
Batuan too made his own mark on the development of Balinese painting in the mid 1970’s when he adapted religious tales, along with personal narratives and that of daily life into compositions that followed the symmetrical formats as derived from the Buddhist mandala. The structure of the mandala was a perfect vehicle for Batuan, an award winning artist as well as being internationally known, to express the philosophies of his Balinese Hindu culture.
1. Dewa Putrayasa, Dewa Nyoman Batuan’s son in front of the painting he did of his father. (photo Rio Helmi)
2. A sample of the “flora and fauna” phase of the Pengosekan Community of Artists. (photo Richard Horstman)
3. A classic of the Mandala painting style that Dewa Nyoman Batuan introduced to Bali. (photo Richard Horstman)
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