About Kadek Sudiasa

Kadek Sudiasa is a traditional dancer especially of the Bali Mask Dance, Gamelan musician, wood carver and mask maker. He also has a unique skill in playing and making the Balinese Rebab. Originally from Mas, Ubud, his experience in traditional dance theatre and mask making is a source of wonderful knowledge for Sawidjis’ artist community.

Kadek Sudiasa photography by Dewi Dian Reich

I learned Tari Bali from the age of 5 and also worked as a carver from 6th grade. to highlight the difference in the popularity of wood carving, I was already able to buy my bike in primary school from the earnings I made from carving.

Kadek Sudiasa

Early Background

Kadek Sudiasa’s early education already began with a specialisation in dance and music. His schooling majored in performance arts and karawitan (the study of Gamelan and Vocal performance). Though he wanted to continue studies into senior high school majoring in dance, a soccer accident prevented him from pursuing dance for several years. A knee injury made it impossible for Kadek to dance. However, this accident placed him on a path that would later reveal its multi-dimensional depths and benefits. Due to his love of music, and being unable to dance, Kadek still pursued his love of music through the Gamelan orchestra.

Kadek Sudiasa and the Balinese Rebab

It was during this time that Kadek was introduced to the Balinese Rebab instrument through a friend. Having a keen fascination for it, he borrowed this instrument to study it further. With such a curious mind and flexible skills, Kadek taught himself how to repair and eventually make this instrument himself. Perhaps due to his already deep knowledge of traditional music, he mastered the Rebab and became a sought-after teacher and maker of the instrument.

Learn to Play Balinese Rebab Sawidji Gallery with Kadek Sudiasa

I borrowed this from a friend and I learned myself.. rebab was broken. I didnt know where to take it so I fixed it myself .. I bought the leather from cow from the stomach.. I fix it and returned it ,, I made my own rebabso I was making these instruments from 1997…

Kadek Sudiasa

Returning to the Dance

Despite grimmer predictions, Kadeks’ injury did heal and he was able to practice Balinese dance again by 1998. He then continued his dance studies in Petulu. Under the tutelage of teacher Pekak Tutur. At this time the Balinese Sacred Masks were still something very remote in Kadeks’ personal experience. It was his curiosity again, that led him to the study of masks. A self-taught mask maker makes much more remarkable his artistic achievements. For they have gained a reputation for their artistry and inherent ‘life’ and energy.

Kadek Sudiasa and Sanggar Tirta Sari & Genta Buana Sari

As he is now able to dance he joined the Sanggar Tirta Sari & Genta Buana Sari, a community of traditional musicians and dancers. It is here that he felt most at home. Presently, Kadek is still active in Peliatan as a musician and dancer. Under the management of Gung Anak Agung Gede Oka Dalem.

Being part of this community meant Kadek Sudiasa travelled often with the orchestra. Domestica and International exchanges in Japan and Jakarta. This was almost an annual excursion before the Covid Pandemic affected Bali.

A change in the road..

That was my journey before covid was pretty regular every week maybe 4 times dancing for tourist ,.. works  at temples.. rebab was very popular.. after covid.. we returned back to our basics..

Dreaming of the Mask…

I dreamed of the masks. These dreams kept coming back. The Mask of Rangda.. and other masks kept appearing to me in dreams.. so I began to make masks again. Topeng Rangda. Topeng Keras.. without a teacher…I just looked at a photograph with my technique.. gulak..it was finished.. logam Jawa. I was asked if it was for sale but I did not sell it because it was my first piece…

From there I began to carve masks again.. since the pandemic. I began to carve masks again, and I started to get a lot of orders. I have been asked to make many different masks. Some of these are Topeng Wayang Wong, Hanuman and Sugria.. I learned by observing masks that are already there. by existing examples. Most orders are private requests. I have carved over 70 masks since covid pandemic…The masks that appeared in my dreams helped me to survive through the past few years..

As a creative person and as Balinese you cannot take away our traditional arts. It is part of our lives.

Kadek Sudiasa

Sawidji Studio Art and Photography

Sawidji Studio explores the beauty of our traditional dances through Fine Art Photography, with the ManButur Suantara series ‘The Spirit of Legong’.

Related article of ‘a Legong Rhapsody, a Dance Throught Time’ discusses the advent of moving pictures and the recording of time and its impact in the development of contemporary art.

Explore other Sawidji Artist and their Stories

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