In this light-hearted exhibition, Balinese artist, I Made Duatmika, has chosen a theme of central relevance to life in a major tourist destination: tourists.
While some may cringe at the "tourist" label, the truth is that the term aptly describes the pastime of most foreigners on the island! Ironically, less than a century ago, people were proud to call themselves tourists when that classification was the elevated and exclusive domain of the rich and idle!
Perhaps equally ironic, the first exhibition in which Made Duatmika participated as a high school student in 1991 was entitled "Visit Indonesia Year"
in celebration of Indonesia's last major international promotion of art and culture, including 3 major exhibitions that toured the world with great fanfare.
Now, in the intervening 20 years, the interest and study of "tourists" is perhaps even more germane, a fact demonstrated in the work of Balinese anthropologist Degung Santikarma who often satirically examines the expectations of tourists visiting their imagined "Paradise on Earth."
In terms of their titles and visual content, Duatmika's work in his current exhibition is free of social or political comment. A Mexican-like image of a hooded singer with a guitar riding a cow is called "Full Moon on the Beach." Even Bali's snarling traffic gets idealized in an image of a tourist on a Vespa with his girlfriend in a sidecar named "Suka-Suka" (Enjoying Each Other). In fact, the only image of a specifically identifiable destination in Bali depicts the holy spring at "Tirta Empul" in Tampaksiring.
A talented colorist with a flair for jewel-like asymmetrical compositions, Duatmika's canvasses can be compared to stained glass windows with secular scenes. It is clear that his wish is to express his joy and thanks through his art. Indeed, while there is a tendency for tourists to bemoan the negative effects of tourism, this should be tempered by the realization that there are many good effects as well.
A case in point and close at hand: the stimulation of the local art scene.
An Exhibition of paintings by I Made Duatmika
Ganesha Gallery at the Four Seasons Resort at Jimbaran BayJune 30 – August 1, 2011
Open Daily 9 am – 6 pm
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