Sacred Home, Our First Showing

Sacred Home presents works by Komang Suardiana. Accompanied by the Living Masks of Ketut Sukerta, the perfection of Harijadi’s black and white ink renditions. Your attendance welcomed by the bountiful flourish of Dewa Ketut Oka’s Flora Fauna.

Recently, I had a conversation with my team discussing what title we could give the collection of works that is up in our Gallery. Modest, our little space seems to hold something far bigger and meaningful to us than we imagined. Some insight as to why we arrived at ‘Sacred Home’.

Our Gallery has been there from early this year. We have had the results of our photography expeditions hang there as well as numerous other works by our members. Throughout the social distancing period of Covid, our team have had our own private sanctuary to enjoy each others’ works.

Our First Public Opening

We say this is our first exhibition. And it is. The first showing where our doors will be open. The first showing where we know it is intended for other eyes to see. We did not fashion it in the normal way, with proactive planning and deliberation. It did not take shape because we chose its shape. It took shape the way it did, on its own. We were merely helpers, tidying up a collection that in itself seems to have a pretty clear message on its own.

There for others to see what they will. And what I see, is a remarkable mixture of newness and age. Of questions and answers. Returning back to the magnetic power of Nature’s Balance, it seems to be infused in layers of interpretation right here in our modest space.

The Young Searcher

We have, in the front line the debut works of Komang Suardiana. A young man whose works reflect undeniable skill and talent. His mastery of realism is eloquently contrasted by the sensitive departure from it. I see the strokes of a man searching for answers on his canvas, searching for strength perhaps. With such sensitivity, he is searching intently for his own voice to come through the throng.

In his subject matter, Komang explores the intangible. What in Bali is known as Niskala, the spirit world. Through the combination of solid realism with minimalist lines and texture, which gives a partly abstracted view of the subject. He makes this dualism of physical and spiritual realised in his paintings. Poetically captured. The result is a visual feast, that enriches our senses and captivates.

Sacred Home
‘Naga Banda’

Here in Komang’s ‘Naga Banda’ he explores the cremation ceremony. The Naga Banda is a structure built to carry the deceased. Even more specific, the symbol of the Naga Banda is used only for those of the highest status. Officials or spiritual leaders or Kings.

This painting depicts power at its highest recognisable form and yet still in the final passage, will be nothing more than ashes.

The Solid Hand

Accompanying Komang Suardiana in our Gallery Room are the Living Masks by Master Mask Maker Ketut Sukerta. We have shared on several posts about the Topeng Babad and Barong Landung by Ketut Sukerta and here they grace our walls. The strength of the Mask Maker captured, his unerring assuredness honing for years to perfection, the hills and valleys of his masks.

A creative force capable of revealing the ancient faces that grace our lives. Watching over a searching, questioning generation.

Sacred Home
Ketut Sukerta behind a raw Sidakarya Mask.
Sacred Home

The old wisdom represented by the faces of our Topeng Babad and the Barong Landung, they are in the highest position in the room, overlooking, watching and observing from above. A very poignant insight of Bali today. Underneath the Topeng Babad masks, our white curtains are adorned with the memories of our team, who recall and share their first memories of witnessing the Topeng Babad for the first time.

The Ceremonial Masks of Bali carry with them the teachings passed down to each generation. A constant teacher for our communities, imparting life teachings and serving as a bridge that connects generations of our past to the present consciousness. They are guardians, villains, wisdom and ignorance, ambition and apathy. They present their case in the hope that their story succeeds in awakening self awareness.

So at this point, I see clearly a beautiful relationship between the paintings of Komang Suardiana and the Masks by Ketut Sukerta. Strictly from the congruity in their respective subject matter, complimentary and yet vastly different in form. However, also from the artists. The personal qualities and energy they respectively bring into their works and what we can derive from that as they stand side by side.

They both depict subjects of paramount meaning within the Balinese culture. Which is mysterious, spiritual and complex as well. One artist addresses these themes through the brushstrokes of a new generation. Free to explore, to ask question and search anew their own identitiy. This done in the unrestricted forum of contemporary art discipline. The other through clear, unwavering definitions. Rules of form passed down for centuries unchanged in the art of mask making. And yet they both unite, speaking the same language.

The Philosophy of Balance

Perhaps we may get a clue as to why that is, in the works of artist Harijadi. The ink drawings of Harijadi depict in black and white, light and dark, our Sacred Places. Our temples and trees, our Nature. Summing up all that is in the world by two opposing forces that meet in perfect symmetry. The ‘Kain Poleng’ of Bali line the wall and frame our pieces. The Natural Balance, a dominant facet of Balinese Philosophy presides here. Symbolically in the union of these two opposing shades. The abiding Rwa Bhineda, the philosophy of balance permeates through everything here.

And so, we arrive back at my question to my team. What title could I give this collection that will reflect the feeling we wish to share? It is clear that the works of our artists address the spiritual sanctity of their home. Through the depiction of formal and official ceremonies, manifestation of ancient teachings in the shape of familiar faces, or the precise beauty of dualism captured through ink. They are united in somehow arriving back at a central truth of the reality here. That there is much that is Sacred in our Home.

Sawidji Gallery is open by appointment. If you happen to be in the area and wish to see works by our artists or have a chat about our programmes or topics, please contact us.

Thank you from our Team

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