Congratulations goes to Balinese artist Made Wahyu Senayadi, winner of the Bronze Award in the Established Artist Category of the UOB Indonesian Painting of the Year Award 2021. ‘Spirit of Friends’, Senayadi’s painting, was selected from 41 finalists by a jury of art experts and honoured during a virtual ceremony on 30 October 2021 in Jakarta.
At a glance, ‘Spirit of Friends’ identifies as a milieu of light and dark-coloured, tight rhythmic lines defining an abstract composition. Closer inspection reveals the tiny lines as Barong figures repetitively scrolled throughout the picture and a background layer depicting a more extensive abstraction of the Barong’s head. The unusual work stands alone amongst the other finalists’ offerings. Senayadi distinguishes himself by creating a fresh visual language and at the same time opening a door into a world that most of us take for granted. ‘Spirit of Friends’ describes the veil between worlds.
“Upon receiving the news that I had won the Bronze Award for the Established Artists Category, I couldn’t believe it,” Senayadi told me. “At the time of registering for the competition, my only intention was of qualifying to exhibit at the UOB event. “Spirit of Friends is inspired by my condition of being visually impaired, making it difficult for me to see. Therefore, the aesthetic technique I have created is a therapeutic medium to train my focus.” The Barong theme within ‘Spirit of Friends’, Senayadi explained, is symbolic of the powerful spirit and support he has received from friends and family, continually encouraging him on his artistic journey and not to despair over his sight impediment.
The annual competition and national art award introduced by UOB Indonesia and initiated in Singapore in 1982 is part of UOB Indonesia Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), supporting arts development. One of UOB’s objectives is to motivate Indonesian artists to continue to develop the nation’s arts and culture, celebrating the richness of Indonesia locally and globally.
The UOB awards have evolved over the decades, honouring artists in Southeast Asian countries and are now an annual highlight on the regional art calendar. This year the event invited Indonesian artists and the general public to submit their artworks online from 29 April to 7 August 2021. The UOB Indonesian Painting of the Year 2021 jury consists of Agung Hujatnikajennong, senior independent curator and lecturer at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), art collector Natasha Sidharta, and internationally renowned contemporary artist and founder of the Cemeti Institute of Arts and Society in Yogyakarta, Mella Jaarsma.
“Innovation and experimentation are the main criteria the jurors use to select the UOB Painting of the Year winners,” Mella Jaarmsa told me. “The award does not necessarily focus upon the genre of painting, yet more upon the artist’s ability to create an image rich with meaning. Therefore, the concept is important along with the chosen material. Senayadi’s concept is original. He has endeavoured to recreate his own experience for others to appreciate and have insights into his visual realm. ‘Spirit of Friends’ is a visual language on the border of seeing something or not and what is possibly visible.”
Despite his visual challenges during the past five years, Senayadi has excelled in his artistic pursuits. In 2018 he was recognised as one of Nine Finalists in the TiTian Prize, a biannual art award presented by Yayasan TiTian Bali (Bali Art Foundation) recognising Balinese talent innovation within the visual arts. In 2019 Senayadi distinguished himself with eye-catching and ingenious works made from natural coconut fibres, ‘Menanti Keberuntung/Longing #1’ and ‘Buta Bongol/Deaf Monster’ during ‘Mahardika’, a group exhibition at TiTian Art Space in Ubud.
The works are reproductions of traditional Balinese prince and warrior costumes and the Barong painstakingly made in refined detail.
A graduate in Fine Arts from the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) Denpasar, Senayadi has exhibited two and three-dimensional works in exhibitions, including two solo shows, throughout Bali and Java since 2005. He represents a new wave of Balinese artists dedicated to innovating within the contemporary format experimenting with conventional and non-conventional media. “I am very grateful for having my work recognised in the UOB Painting of the Year Awards,” said Senayadi, born in 1985 in Marga, Tabanan, Central Bali. “Through this award, I trust it will help provide a bridge to the goals that I want to achieve in my career.”
The UOB Indonesian Painting of the Year 2021 virtual award ceremony was attended by Sandiaga Salahudin Uno, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia. During a press conference, he stated that the Indonesian creative economy currently is positioned in the top three in the world after the United States and Korea in terms of percentage of GDP. “The government, through the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, will continue to facilitate the development of the industry by building a strong creative economy ecosystem from upstream to downstream. Thus, this can encourage creative economy actors and drivers to contribute more to the country’s economy, ” he said.
Senayadi’s painting ‘Spirit of Friends’ will be exhibited online in the virtual space at Art Moments Jakarta Online 2 (AMJO2) from 22 November to 21 December 2021. In addition, The 15 winning and finalist works of the UOB Indonesian Painting of the Year Award 2021 can also be enjoyed offline at CAN’s Gallery from 3 to 5 December 2021.
Images courtesy of Made Wahyu Senayadi & TiTian Art Space.
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