"... a highly developed, although informal Baroque folk art that combines the peasant liveliness with the refinement of classicism of Hinduistic Java, but free of the conservative prejudice and with a new vitality fired by the exuberance of the demonic spirit of the tropical primitive" – Covarrubias (1937)
A trip to Bali in 1994 marked the beginning of my interest in Balinese Art. During this trip, I visited the Puri Lukisan Museum, in Ubud – Bali, the home of the finest collection of the pre-war modernist paintings and woodcarvings. Mr. Muning, the curator of this museum, introduced me to five painters: A.A. Gde Meregeg (1907-2001), Ida Bagus Made Poleng (1915-1999), I Wayan Gedot (1920-2001), A.A. Gde Raka Pudja (b. 1930), and I Nyoman Kayun (b. 1945 ). I purchased a tiny painting by I Kayun from his wife, when Kayun was in Japan with a gamelan ensamble of Peliatan. The painting depicting the Sidakarya Dance became the seed of my collection.
Kayun paints many small jewels as a way to meet his daily expenses. He paid the same attention to details as to his much larger works. Another fine example of his small-size paintings is shown below.
Since then, I have been visiting Bali regularly and have become a serious student and patron of Balinese Art. During these visits, I have met many painters who have shared their knowledge and perspectives on art, life and Balinese culture. My knowledge of Balinese painting’s aesthetics was a result of my close association with the late Ida Bagus Made Poleng, perhaps the most famous traditional Balinese painter of the 20th century. Over the years, I have had the privilege of collecting some of the finest examples of Balinese painting and woodcarving. I have devoted my time and efforts to help the Puri Lukisan Mseum, the home of the finest collection of modern traditional Balinese painting. My search for exceptional works of art, especially those produced during the transitional period during Pitamaha era (1930s – 1942), has taken me from Bali to Singapore, Holland, Germany, Switzeland, South Africa and the United States.
I Nyoman Kayun (b. 1954) Calonarang (1989), Acrylic on canvas, 25 x 20 cm
I Nyoman Kayun (b. 1954) Sidakarya Dance (1994), Acrylic on canvas, 25 x 20 cm