Currently on display at Santrian Art Gallery, Sanur, is ‘Kadaut’, the latest exhibition by seasoned Balinese artist, AA Ngurah Paramartha. Opened on 7 April, the exhibition features 13 paintings on canvas and the 3 installations, which will be on display until 31 May 2023.

‘Kadaut’ is the Balinese word for ‘captivated’ — a condition of being attracted or attached to something. It refers to the state in which artist Ngurah Paramartha found himself in upon producing the works for this exhibition. Hence the name for this body of work. The artist explains that ‘kadaut’ represents his observed experience whilst painting.

That initial brush stroke on the canvas and on the palette, that freedom at the start of a painting, it triggers some kind of ‘kadaut’ in him that urges him to present figures, tell a story, a narrative, inspired from wayang stories, tantri, history, archaeological artefacts, personal anecdotes. A compulsion to share a stream of consciousness. Same would say, this is the purest level of creative inspiration. 

The exhibition portrays a wide visual experience, with each of Ngurah’s pieces seemingly individual, solitary in their subject matter and message, the combining thread being the artist’s process. He admits that he did not pay attention to the rules of ratios or logic as he started applying colours through the strokes of his palette. Without an underlying theme to work towards, Ngurah instead allowed the creative process to perpetuate itself, giving it the freedom to ‘become’.

Visual iconography thus ranges from wayang to Mayan. For example, in “Facing the Goddess of Fortune”, which depicts the figures of Dewi Sita and Ravana, we see Ngurah’s interpretation of wayang, staying true to specific standard iconography (such as the shape of the crown, facial expressions and so on), but abstract and bespoke around these components. 

The wayang stories contained in the two epics of the Vedic civilization, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, for example, are presented by Ngurah in several of his works. One of them is in the work “Facing The Goddess Of Fortune”, which depicts the figures of Dewi Sita and Ravana.

AA Ngurah Paramartha (b. 1974) wasborn in Denpasar, Bali. He completed his art education at the STSI Denpasar campus. Ngurah has been actively involved in the Ten Fine Art art group which he has formed with nine artists of his generation since 2004. He has had solo exhibitions with the titles “Secret Desires” at Hideout Fine Art Ubud (2003), and “Life Exploration” at the Ten Fine Art Gallery Sanur (2011).

The exhibition is presented by Gurat Institute & Art Project; exhibition notes originally written in Indonesian by I Made Susanta Dwitanaya.

Kadaut is available for viewers everyday from 7 April to 31 May 2023 — open 10AM to 6PM. Follow Gurat Institute on Instagram for more information: @guratinstitute

Santrian Art Gallery
Jalan Danau Tamblingan, No.47, Sanur
0361 288181

Edward Speirs

Edward Speirs

Edward, or Eddy as he prefers to be called, is the Managing Editor of NOW! Bali and host of the NOW! Bali Podcast. He enjoys photography, rural travel and loves that his work introduces him to people from all walks of life.