The stark profile of the volcanic mountains Agung and Abang dominate the work of the children of isolated Desa Ban, who have created images of "their Bali" in black & white Chinese ink. It is a Bali most viewers would attribute to the island 100 years ago. In these mountainside hamlets, where villagers eke out a subsistence living on steep slopes covered with volcanic sand during the eruption of Mt. Agung in 1963 that killed over 10,000 people, little has changed with time. Homes are still simple structures and the only water is collected from the roofs of their simple homes. East Bali Poverty Project (EBPP) has brought new hope to the regions, with appropriate technology to bring water to the villages, and new schools that are bringing light back into the life of the young ones.
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Inspired by an up and coming young Yogyakarta artist, Suratmin Bagus Priyo, who volunteered his time for 2 days in September 2008 to train the children in the East Bali Poverty Project schools, these children have taken the techniques taught by Bagus and used them to share their take on reality. The paintings of tiny hamlets, terraced hillsides, and a life far from the bright lights of modern Bali, could all have been painted in the moonlight.
In his own words, Bagus was inspired by EBPP's
"generosity in pouring energy, time and money into all kinds of efforts to raise the quality of life of fellow beings living in poverty." His trip was a "great opportunity to share life's experiences as a young artist teaching my art style of Black and White-Chinese Ink painting with young children living high on the slopes of Mt. Agung, the revered volcano that had blanketed their homes in ash; these children were accustomed to being at the mercy of an environment that makes even survival an achievement."
The exhibition of 40 Black & White Chinese ink drawings and a limited number of color paintings will be held at Three Monkeys Cuisine and Art Café
on Monkey Forest Road, Ubud from June 14 through the end of July 2009. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the paintings will be used to support development of the children's art work to help them develop professionally, with the goal of establishing their own professional art cooperatives. The balance will go into a fund for the young artists themselves, who are all enrolled in EBPP's
senior high school program and dream of becoming professional artists, to inspire them to continue developing their art skills and enable them to purchase their own art materials.
Alongside the art works will be a display of vetiver grass hand crafted products that have been developed through training with some of the world's top designers from Thailand, as well as designs inspired by Linda Garland, President of Ubud-based Environmental Bamboo Foundation.
Vetiver, introduced in 2000 to prevent erosion in the arid volcanic ash landscape, has stabilized all of the steep dirt roads and enabled the children to develop lush organic vegetable and herb gardens. It is hoped that the development of handicraft skills with the roots and the dried grass will open up further avenues for future economic development.
The opportunity will also be taken on the opening night, June 14th, to present the new "Teacher's Guidebook"
to accompany the "The Art of Learning by Doing,"
a bilingual handbook for teachers that provides tools and exercises in lesson format that can be implemented in class to enhance both language, art, and personal skills. This book enables teachers to prioritize the importance of health, hygiene and good nutrition for good education, incorporating into daily lessons the importance of children learning to express themselves in both art and language, and opening their eyes to ways in which they can attain results hitherto considered beyond their reach."Mountain Villages in Black-and-White Ink"
Children's Art & Handicraft Exhibition
14th June through the end of July 2009
Three Monkeys Cuisine & Art Café, Monkey forest road, Ubud
Open Daily 4.00 pm – 7.00 pm.
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