Sawidji supports traditional and contemporary artists whilst inspiring innovative adaptations. Knowledge sharing and collaborative product designs to allow our artists to continue their art for art’s sake.
For artists without economic independence, the creation of their art is not free. It may still be beautiful, but is compromised by the very real need to make a living.Sawidji Founder
First and foremost, Sawidji is about nurturing traditional artists to continue the practice and development of their talents. Therefore, in a changing market, traditional artists with limited exposure desperately need this support.
How we do this is by utilising different platforms and digital tools to share our artworks and designing everyday products inspired by our heritage that everyone can enjoy.
Everyday,we are learning something about art and new ways of adapting our skills to new designs. Just as important is sharing our knowledge that others may also learn about Balinese Art.
About Sawidji’s Objective
Firstly, a little about Sawidji and what we are about. We believe our artists need to go back to their art for no other condition than simply, to do their art. Far too often in small village communities, artists and art are both exploited.
It may be suggested that this stems one way or another to extensive consumerism. Unfortunately, the current practice often only regards individual profit and no regard for the longterm sustainability of our traditional artists.
Art With Heart
Its a subjective area, however, we are of the view that its difficult to create art with heart, when one is driven simply by the necessity to get paid. So many compromises to the artists individual creativity is tampered by the customer requirements.
Acknowledging the two NEEDS
So at Sawidji, we intentionally separate the two. Our need to make a living and our need to keep creating independent, authentic art. For the commercial aspect of art making, we focus on product collections. We collaborate on designs to expand our own skills and grow commercial viability.
Our goal is to create a thriving home for our traditional artists and for them to be financially secure. The purpose of this is so that these amazing individuals can continue to create independently or together the amazing works still waiting to come out from them.
Meet our group of artists at Sawidji
Knowledge Sharing is Survival
Another view we take is the importance of knowledge sharing as a means for our arts’ survival. In other words, sharing knowledge of traditional techniques that others may appreciate the depths of beauty created by our traditional artists. Secondly, it may inspire others to learn these techniques as well.
It would only bode well towards the sustainability of traditional techniques if more people were inspired to learn them. We would love to provide a means for others to learn in theory or practice the skills involved in our traditional arts.
Sawidji Artists Part of Sawidji Management
Finally, its important to emphasise, our gallery, our art and product designs are brought to you from us collectively , with complete transparency. Our group of founding artists collaborate on projects and bring our works to you with everyones well being in mind.
We operate on very simple principles. Honesty, Creativity, Empathy and Teamwork. First of all, safeguarding the artist.This means their work and labor is not misrepresented or exploited. They are the individuals Sawidji wishes to support, and introduce to the world. Because they are exceptional.
This may seem standard to the world’s developed art markets, but in communities where traditional artists and artisans are abound, many have experienced exploitation and misrepresentation to alarming degrees.
And so, we encourage you to take the time to go to our artists’ page and meet them. They are the reason Sawidji was formed. They are at the heart of Sawidji.
Now that we have shared what our values are, you may wonder how it came about. Sawidji Artist Collective is very much a community founded on long standing friendships. Together, facing a particularly difficult crossroad, brought to the fore by the challenges of 2020.
Industries have drastically been affected by covid-19. Prior to this artists have already faced a challenging decline in the demand for original artworks. Moreover, the present condition of Balinese traditional arts and its continued authenticity is open to debate. It is in a precarious state of transition.
Our artists have lived their whole lives reliant on their art for their livelihood. Art which had a market due to the influx of tourists to the island. That has been stripped away in a very short time. To make matters even more dire, the majority of traditional artists have no access to the internet . Or any exposure to e-commerce solutions. They are at sea without a rudder.
As a result of their isolation, their creative process has become almost completely driven by consumer tastes. In many cases, art is dictated by a commercial market driven by tourism. Hopefully, this is one way as a collective, the Sawidji incentive can provide an alternative way our artists can thrive. To be creatively independent again.
Tourism, Too Much of a Good Thing
So, as a result of tourism, these talents previously enjoyed international popularity for many years. Its safe to say, that popularity had both positives and negatives. For example, the impact of mainstream commercialism resulted in many forms of exploitation of Balinese art and its artists. This is certainly a negative aspect.
Today, the art market in Bali is impacted by the changes of tourism. As with the nature of trends, they come and they go. The artisans of Ubud are a living legacy of amazing generational skills.
Skills whose value has been determined by an industry completely disconnected from the arts. And ultimately, as a result, they are struggling to find anew their footing. Their place in a world where they are already half forgotten.