SIKA Gallery visit

SIKA Gallery, Ubud Bali

Today I had the opportunity to visit an exhibition of several contemporary Indonesian artists in renowned painter Wayan Sika’s Gallery here in Ubud, Indonesia. My time here in Indonesia is coming to an end , so I want to make the best of this time here by exploring the inspiring local art scene.

What struck me first is the very varied shapes of canvas used by the artists and a truly contemporary feel to traditional Indonesian subjects like village life or religious themes.

I Nyoman Suarnata is exploring the hexagonal shape that is appearing in the traditional basketweaving of Indonesia. Every household has a variety of baskets. The large hexagonal cavities are seen in baskets holding the loud cocks in every yard, they are used in every field to transport husk and used as lampshields. I found it original and interesting how the artist used this shape for the canvases depicting spontaneous scenes from a basket weaving village.

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These cube canvases are aimed at looking three-dmensional:

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I found it interesting how the artist uses one plane in color, one monochrome and one in black and white. Here I think the shape contradicts the subject though, as the baskets are all round, and it also lost the connection to the hexagonal.

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In some portraits Nyoman Suarnata lets the structure of the basket shine through, working on several layers. I am inspired by this layering of shape or pattern and main subject- something to explore.

Ngakan Putu Agus Wijaya is painting on round canvases, like here in his works “Night” and “Black and White”:

There is a fairytale character to his animal paintings that appeal to me and I think the round shape works beautifully with these stories the paintings are telling, making it more playful and eliminating the sense of what is up and what is down.

I Putu Nova Ruspika Yanto’s paintings really live from the three- dimensional canvas :

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The owner of the gallery- Wayan Sika has experimented with various supports like wood and metal, and shapes, like here a headshaped canvas:

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In this exhibition he presented mainly rectangular paintings though- but always with a layered, interesting surface created by gauze or other added materials:

Wayan Sika is also painting the “Yoga” theme that I want to explore for this part of the course, through an Indonesian Hindu viewpoint.

This very clear “yoga /meditation/ religious” symbolism is exactly what I want to try and avoid in my exploration of the subject , and then I must admit that I am very drawn to it. The mandalas- the round shape- the exploding light beams- yes, I am drawn to it all. It will be a tricky path to navigate between pre concieved symbolism and kitch and a real expression of my own experience and exploration .

Visiting this exhibition today has inspired me to go past the obvious rectangle of the paper. It also made it clear that I need to tread carefully not to fall into obvious symbolism while exploring the subject of human movement through yoga poses.

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