Ubud, the Art capital of Bali

"Garuda and the Battling of the Beasts",1953, by I Gusti Ngurah Ketut Kobot, Tempera on Canvas  100 cm x 75 cm
“Garuda and the Battling of the Beasts”,1953, by I Gusti Ngurah Ketut Kobot, Tempera on Canvas
100 cm x 75 cm

Ubud has been a real Art Feast ! I went to several of Ubud’s lovely Art galleries ; Puri Lukisan, Agung Rai Museum of Art , Neka Art Museum and the eccentric Blanco Museum of Art, all of which were very enjoyable and set in beautifully exotic gardens filled with all types of Orchids and jungle greenery.

"Self Defence Dancers" by  I Wayan Turun, Tempera on cloth 1962 120 cm x 100 cm.
“Self Defence Dancers” by
I Wayan Turun, Tempera on cloth 1962 120 cm x 100 cm.
"Warrior's Divine Energy", by Anak Agung Sobrat 1960s. Tempera on canvas, 120 x  130cm.  The Baris dance depicts the various moods of a Balinese warrior, such as courage, alertness, swiftness and energy. A good dancer has a "taksu", a divine energy, giving the performance additional power and life.
“Warrior’s Divine Energy”, by Anak Agung Sobrat 1960s. Tempera on canvas, 120 x 130cm. The Baris dance depicts the various moods of a Balinese warrior, such as courage, alertness, swiftness and energy. A good dancer has a “taksu”, a divine energy, giving the performance additional power and life.

The Neka was the largest, set in three buildings, with displays of old Balinese paintings, expat and contemporary work. I enjoyed all the various styles of painting from the traditional highly detailed to the more modern contemporary approach.

"Rajapala steals Sulisih's clothes", by Ida Bagus Rai,  1987, acrylic and Chinese ink on canvas. 135cm x 251cm
“Rajapala steals Sulisih’s clothes”, by Ida Bagus Rai, 1987, acrylic and Chinese mink on canvas. 135cm x 251cm
"Village Landscape", by I Gusti Agung Wirinata . Influenced by Walter Spies' dramatic use of light and shadow.
“Village Landscape”, by I Gusti Agung Wirinata . Influenced by Walter Spies’ dramatic use of light and shadow.
"Landscape", by Arie Smit, oil on canvas 1993. 70cm x 93cm.
“Landscape”, by Arie Smit, oil on canvas 1993. 70cm x 93cm.
"Tropical Moon", by Arie Smit, oil 50cm x69cm.
“Tropical Moon”, by Arie Smit, oil 50cm x69cm.
"Irrigation  Temple",  by Dullah 1973, oil on canvas, 50cm x 60cm. Irrigation Temples are common in Bali, dedicated to water and rice fields, so important to Balinese life.
“Irrigation Temple”, by Dullah 1973, oil on canvas, 50cm x 60cm.
Irrigation Temples are common in Bali, dedicated to water and rice fields, so important to Balinese life
"Golden Rice",  by Made Kedol, 2013 3 x 300cm x 120cm
“Golden Rice”,
by Made Kedol, 2013
3 x 300cm x 120cm
Detail of "Golden Rice", by Made Kedol.
Detail of “Golden Rice”, by Made Kedol.
"Flight of Fancy", by Chusin Setiadikara, 1994  80cm x 65cm oil on canvas. As a woman daydreams in her garden the birds in her skirt soar up into the sky.
“Flight of Fancy”, by Chusin Setiadikara, 1994 80cm x 65cm oil on canvas. As a woman daydreams in her garden the birds in her skirt soar up into the sky.
"The Girls Ni Nyoman and Ni Ketut", 1976 by Rudolf Bonnet, Dutch.    Traditionally first and second born children in Bali are named Wayan and Made, while third and fourth are called Nyoman and Ketut. The prefix "Ni" is for female and " I " is for male.
“The Girls Ni Nyoman and Ni Ketut”, 1976 by Rudolf Bonnet, Dutch.
Traditionally first and second born children in Bali are named Wayan and Made, while third and fourth are called Nyoman and Ketut. The prefix “Ni” is for female and ” I ” is for male.
" Portrait of miss Gusti Made Tuwu" 1943 by Willem G Hofker, Dutch. Pastel on Paper  52cm x 35cm.
” Portrait of miss Gusti Made Tuwu” 1943 by Willem G Hofker, Dutch. Pastel on Paper 52cm x 35cm.
" Portrait of miss Gusti Nyoman " by Willem G Hofker, 1943. Study of a young Balinese Dancer.
” Portrait of miss Gusti Nyoman ” by Willem G Hofker, 1943. Study of a young Balinese Dancer.

Puri Lukisan, again with beautiful gardens, showed mainly traditional paintings, beautifully detailed scenes of Bali life and mythical stories. I met up with Sandy Infield for the day, who runs Art hideaways, art holidays in Bali. The rest of that day we spent mooching around Ubud’s little shops seeing all sorts of unusual and beautiful handmade creations and tourist knick-knacks. It was a fun day and lovely to have company.

The Antonio Maria Blanco Museum and Art Gallery.

Colourful parrots and Cockatoos greeted me at the Blanco Museum.
Colourful parrots and Cockatoos greeted me at the Blanco Museum.
The Grand entrance to Blanco's Museum.
The Grand entrance to Blanco’s Museum.

The next day I ventured to the Blanco Museum, it was very close by so I walked down the narrow cutting of a road managing to avoid the scooters and vehicles. I climbed back up the other side of the rock into the Garden of Blanco and was greeted by a group of parrots and Cockatoos in all colours and shades, I was offered to hold one, but no thank you, they were huge ! The entrance to the building was ridiculously extravagant as was the inside.

Detail of entrance stairway.
Detail of entrance stairway.
View of upper interior, Blanco Museum.       I was rather naughty because no photography was allowed, but it had to be seen, and as I was alone I managed to take a few without flash.
View of upper interior, Blanco Museum.
I was rather naughty because no photography was allowed, but it had to be seen, and as I was alone I managed to take a few without flash.

The Renaissance styled Gallery was filled with Antonio Blanco’s paintings, almost totally of nude women, some on paper others in oil.

A typical Blanco frame, (although they were all different ). Nude, Eve.
A typical Blanco frame, (although they were all different ). Nude, Eve.

His style was figurative and fairly loose in technique, I didn’t think many of them were that well drawn and I thought some were really awful ! His self designed frames were more elaborate than many of the artworks they contained and in many ways were more interesting than the paintings.

Homage to Dali and time passing, by Antonio Maria Blanco.
Homage to Dali and time passing, by Antonio Maria Blanco.

Don’t misunderstand me, I very much enjoyed visiting the museum, it was elaborately kitsch and showed the eccentricity of a Spanish artist self styled in the 1950s as the Dali of Bali, who he much admired. He was obviously a really outlandish, colourful character, well loved by the Balinese.

Portrait with a Driftwood frame. blanco.
Portrait with a Driftwood frame. blanco.
Blanco's Studio.
Blanco’s Studio.
In Blanco's Restaurant, a photo taken by a French woman I got talking to in the Museum.
In Blanco’s Restaurant, a photo taken by a French woman I got talking to in the Museum.

Unfortunately I was unwell for a few days in Ubud with what’s known as “Bali belly”, so two days I spent resting in bed. It meant I felt rushed to do all the things I wanted to do in a shorter time. I think I have been very lucky not to have experienced it earlier in Yogjakarta, when I had so much on and people to meet.

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One thought on “Ubud, the Art capital of Bali

  1. Dearest Marina,   How exciting! I’ve just received your lovely Buddha postcard from overseas. Magic. Thank you. I am so impressed by all your antics and hard work; the award couldn’t have been given to a more worthy and diligent person. my Mate!   Sounds like you’re having such a good time, and really getting stuck into all there is to be seen. I’ve got the feeling this won’t be your only visit here. …. Bet you’ll have itchy feet (so to speak) now you’ve had a taste of being an explorer extraordinaire. I am so proud of you.   Now make the very most of all the hours left and just wish you had squeezed me into your rucksack. By the way I love all the Buddha statues – I’d stupidly forgotten that you’d be surrounded by my favourite images.   I can’t wait to hear all about your exploits. A massive hug and big kiss Kirsty xxxxxXXX

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