a Balinese family of artists

This picture was taken in 1978 near Ubud. Please excuse the large image size, but there is lots of nice detail in this shot - the highly detailed paintings, the patterns in the sarongs and the crumbling plasterwork.

The colours under the shady verandah were lovely and earthy so I got Ketut and his children to pose for me again.

A younger, thinner,
fresher faced,
blissfully happy
if more

Art in Bali is very much a part of everyday life. In this family, the sons are following in their father's footsteps. Ketut passes on his skills in much the same way a carpenter might teach his children the family's traditional vocation.

In Bali, art is not so much a question of the ability to create original works, but of acquiring the craft skills to be able to copy what has gone before. It is more or less something that can be learnt like any other trade. The paintings in the background of the 'young artists' style, were of course destined for the tourist trade.

I once asked a young man if he was an artist too, since everybody else in the village about him seemed to be involved in creative endeavor. His reply amused me. "Tidak, saya tak kuat duduk". To translate this literally, "No, I'm not strong in sitting". Balinese artists paint for long hours sitting cross-legged on the floor. Well, I guess it was as a good a reason as any.

or meet a master
© david.atkinson@rmit.edu.au
created 29 october 1998