About Ketut Dana

Ketut Dana was born in March 1973 in Banjar Kawan in Mas, Ubud. The village of Mas is an area well renowned for its exceptional wood carving skills. Here, Ketut learned wood carving from his father since childhood. From years of practicing his skill, his pieces have intricate details. It shows a high degree of sophistication that is recognisable to any observer.

Ketut Dana. Artist Profile Sawidji Artist Collective.

Saya senang bikin patung Buddha. Karena dari belajarnya saya sudah ambil patung Buddha dari awal. Pernah dengar cerita Buddha itu, dari orang yang kaya. Dan Karena ingin melepas semua dari yang duniawi, itu ingin menyatukan diri kapada Tuhan dan melepaskan semuanya . Itu yang disenangi saya. Di Balinya juga ada sejarahnya. Buddha Awatara keturunan dari Dewa Wisnu. 

Ketut Dana

I am happy making the Buddha statue. Perhaps because I learned this early from the very beginning. But once I heard a story about the Buddha. That he was a wealthy man. However, he wished to let go of everything worldly and wished to be one with God, that he wished to let go of everything. That is what I liked about it. In Bali there is also the history. Buddha Awatara, the descendant from the Lord Vishnu.

How we met Ketut Dana

Ketut Dana was introduced to Sawidji through our own member Wayan Konco. Having been in the same community for many years. One of the things that Wayan Konco hoped to encourage was for Ketut to begin wood carving again.

Because, despite his skills and evident talent, Ketut is another example of how the real artisans and creators of our fine works are exploited by a system that does not acknowledge the real creators of our wonderful pieces.

A Common Fate..

He had stopped carving due to a downturn in popularity. And had begun to work in construction for some years. On one of Wayan Konco’s visits to Ketut’s home, what was left of his pieces sat on dusty shelves but still called his attention.

For many years Ketut Dana worked in art houses and his works are sold by established galleries. He himself in the background as a labourer. During these times when the major art houses are closed, our artists and artisans feel somewhat homeless. Disconnected. Whilst they are in fact the creators, the talent behind many of our finest galleries.

Memories of a Wood Carver

One of his cherished memories is having his statues requested by a well known gallery, Ida Bagus Tilem, when he was just still in high school. Because the gallery had an excellent reputation. Any sculpture that was accepted there, meant that it was an exceptional piece. Ketut made very small, intricate little Buddhas from Sandalwood. It was these pieces that was sought after by the Gallery.

Small Perfections, Big Impact

That being said, the ability to create such small detailed pieces, also means that there is an extreme level of control over his skills. It truly is a testament to the level of mastery he has over his craft.

Perhaps it was these years perfecting the tiny Buddha statues requested by a famous gallery, that also shapes Ketut Dana’s skills over the years. Turning natural pieces of wood into the beautiful, perfect creations we are fortunate to have with us at Sawidji.


Ketut has experience working with sandalwood in the past, when there were no restrictions on this species of wood. Now, he prefers working with crocodile wood. In his experience as a carver, he has never seen crocodile wood be ravaged by any parasites. He feels it is a strong wood, and yet supple to shape. Its beautiful clean white colour is also something that compliments the fineness in his work beautifully.

Present Day

Ketut Dana had left behind carving due to the declining market. The closure of many art houses means an uncertain future. Ketut is fortunate to have the skills to earn a livelihood for his family as a labourer. However, the wood sculptor in him is ever present. He is happy to have a reawakening of inspiration. He feels joy again at being able to take up carving in his extra time and have the creative energy back in his life.

Ketut Dana

I am truly happy to be able to make wood carvings again. As for the statues I make now, there is hope they are wanted by someone. I feel inspired to create something new again.

Ketut Dana

And so, Ketut Dana has joined Sawidji towards a fresh direction. Sawidji Gallery is honoured to have him join us. Most certainly, we are excited to have future collaborations with someone who so humbly has much more beauty to share.

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