Aris Samanta is about to launch his first solo exhibition. Richard Horstmann reports:
Batuan is situated in the southern central region of Bali, 15 minutes south of Ubud. It’s earliest known records are dated 1022. Over the past 3 centuries its artists have played a vital role in performing the rituals of the state that were in high demand from the royal courts of the kingdom of Gianyar. To fulfil the requirements they became proficient in music, dance, craving and painting. The high concentration of artists in Banjar Pekanddelan, the central part of the area, and previously home to the King’s artists, remains a unique characteristic of Batuan today.
Batuan painting is held with special esteem within the context of Balinese art. They have endured and evolved through the highs and lows of the ever-changing socio-political, economic climates that has shaped the island during the past 90 years. Beginning in the early 1930’s, when foreign influences were instrumental in the changing course of traditional painting in Ubud, the Batuan village artists began to develop a unique style of their own.
Often dark and moody sketches in black ink, the compositions were generally dense and crowded. The colour ranged from the pure white of the paper, or canvas to deeply saturated dark tones, together creating striking contrasts. The imagery, layered in patterns, appeared to pulsate in visual rhythms out from the painting in waves. In the 1970’s the style was revolutionized, the compositions became larger, highly detailed, dynamic and colourful with universal themes. Of all the genres of Balinese modern traditional painting this style is the most internationally renowned.
There now is a new generation of young artists that hail from Batuan. Their talent is exciting, confirming the future of the genre is in good hands. Twenty- two year old Aris Sarmanta exhibits nine paintings in his first solo exhibition REBIRTH, open 13 May at TiTian Art Space in Ubud. A finalist is the 2016 TiTian Prize, Sarmanta’s extraordinary talent was highlighted in 2015 Wow! Batuan, group exhibition at Ubud’s Museum Puri Lukisan.
For lovers of Balinese traditional art this exhibition offers an opportunity to witness the new era of Batuan painting, and is a MUST SEE.
Tapak Dara – Unity
Bali Not For Sale
Continues through 15 July 2017
Open House 13 May 9am – 5pm / TiTian Art Space – Jalan Bisma 88, Ubud, +628113988444
Words & Images: Richard Horstman – Art activist Richard Horstman (b.1964 Melbourne) first visited Ubud in 1986. The former sculptor is a journalist, writer, art tourism presenter and behind the scenes doer in Bali art scene. Dedicated to contributing to the development of Balinese and Indonesian art, he regularly contributes to the Jakarta Post on a range of art related topics and may be contacted at: email@example.com