Between Bali and Java: An Exhibition Exploring a Golden Harvest of Art

‘Bridging Two World: Art by Seven Emerging Artists From Bali’ is on display at the Galeri Hadiprana, founded in 1962 by Hendra Hadiprana. (JG Photo/Dissy Ekapramudita)

‘Bridging Two World: Art by Seven Emerging Artists From Bali’ is on display at the Galeri Hadiprana, founded in 1962 by Hendra Hadiprana. (JG Photo/Dissy Ekapramudita)

Hendra Hadiprana is known for his dedication to Indonesian art and interior design through his Galeri Hadiprana, which was founded in 1962.

His daughter, Puri Hadiprana, can attest to seeing that dedication first-hand.

“From the beginning, he relentlessly impressed on our clients the importance of art in a residence or work space,” she said.

Galeri Hadiprana has a long-standing reputation for highlighting Indonesian art and this year is no different. The gallery is playing host to “Bridging Two Worlds: Art by Seven Emerging Artists From Bali,” a special exhibition to mark the 15 years of friendship between Hendra and seven artists from Bali — Ketut Susena, Made Duatmika, Made Gunawan, Made Hantaguna, Putu Bonuz Sudiana, Waya Bawa Antara, and Waya Sadu.

“My father got to know these seven artists either before they graduated from the Indonesian Arts Institute in Bali or soon after their graduation,” Puri said. “At that time, my father was going to Bali almost every other week, which offered him plenty of opportunities to meet and exchange ideas with them.”

Puri added that the friendship built them grew rapidly, perhaps because of the special chemistry they shared, or because of a feeling of community that united them all.

US artist Bruce Granquist documented the story of the Bali artists and Hendra for the exhibition’s accompanying guidebook. Granquist said that the exhibition is a story of eight people who have worked together over the last 15 years to bridge the gap between different worlds — Balinese, Javanese, artists, gallery owner and interior designer.

“These eight people over the years have built a fine bridge of understanding between inside and outside the studio, and have together produced a substantial body of compelling artwork. This exhibition is a celebration of their success,” Granquist wrote.

Modern painter Hantaguna, who was also part of the gallery’s golden anniversary exhibition last year, said he is honored to be included in this exhibition because of the respect he has for Hendra, or Om Henk, as he is also known.

“Om Henk is like my inspiration and also a teacher. He gives advice about good composition, the depth of my painting and more. He helped me to create more good paintings since 1998,” Hantaguna said.

‘Golden Harvest’

The major theme of “Bridging Two Worlds” is “Golden Harvest.” The artists have included their best works incorporating the topic of agriculture in Bali and throughout Indonesia.

Curator Wayan Seriyoga Parta said that harvesting is the important final step in agriculture. He added that in the history of human civilization there are various rituals from around the world that celebrate the harvest. These rituals often express people’s gratitude for the bounty.

The artists featured used this topic and then applied their own artistic interpretation, Seriyoga said.

“Wayan Bawa Antara, using a realist approach, depicts harvesting by bringing in Dewi Sri, the rice goddess or the goddess of fertility. He interprets harvesting as an offering and a sign of respect to Dewi Sri, who protects farmers and makes the soil fertile so that it can produce bountiful harvests for the welfare of mankind.”

The curator added that using the rice goddess as inspiration came from Bawa’s personal background — his Balinese culture has many traditions linked to agrarian elements.

In addition to Bawa’s work, there is also an interesting painting from Gunawan. Like Hantaguna, Gunawan was also part of the golden anniversary and has known Hendra for a long time.

A trio of paintings from Gunawan titled “Elephant’s Love: Trilogy” received a lot of attention during the exhibition opening.

“Through this trio of paintings I wanted people to know that I have a desire to exist peacefully together with all of God’s creatures — the trees, nature and also animals,” the artist said. “If we don’t disturb their ecosystems then we can live peacefully together.”

He said he chose elephants as his topic because he although they are big animals, they are not greedy. He also chose them because he wanted to pay tribute to the love between a mother elephant and its child. They remain in constant contact, and mothers treat their children with the right balance of firmness and tenderness.

“Elephants can go against lions or tigers, but they choose to live peacefully. Even though they have a big body and lots of hard ivory, they are not carnivores,” Gunawan said.

The exhibit runs until March 16.