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'Unknown Friends' at the Alila Ubud

An Unique Exhibition of the Diaries and Drawings of Donald Friend at the Alila Ubud Gallery October 19-26, 2008.


Bali News: 'Unknown Friends' at the Alila Ubud
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(9/29/2008)

Almost 20 years since the death of Australian artist and diarist Donald Friend, Alila Ubud is proud to present an exhibition in Friend's honor entitled "Unknown Friends" from October 19-26, 2008.

Born in 1915 in Sydney, Australia, Donald Friend was a rare and precocious talent whose life's work embraced both images and words. Although a brilliant artist, one of the greatest legacies he left was his collection of diaries, which he began writing as a teenager.

Educated in the arts in Sydney and London, Friend live a nomadic existence that brought him to Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Bali where he lived from 1968 until 1980.

The Ubud celebration of Friend, a major arts figure in the history of the island, will showcase drawings and paintings mainly held in private collections in Bali, which have never before been exhibited or published.

An unrepentant pagan and hedonist, many of Friend's paintings present images of young men; models, many of whom he formed attachments befitting a self-described "middle aged pederast who's going to seed."

Ridiculed and rejected by many while alive for his unabashed decadence, his painting are today widely praised for their unparalleled draftmanship, described grudgingly by Robert Hughes as "one of the two finest draughtsmen of the nude in Australia."

Prior to his death, Friend donated 44 separate diaries to the National Library of Australia. They have since been edited and published in four volumes spanning his entire adult life, including his days as a student, his adventures in Europe and Africa, his experiences in the army during World War II, and his legendary years in Bali in the 1960s and 70s.

Today, the diaries are regarded as a major literary work, placing him in the company of history's most highly regarded diarists including the likes of Samuel Pepys, James Agate and Andre Gide.

Accompanied by many examples of Friend's illustrations and paintings, the diaries paint not only a picture of the artist's fascinating and often flamboyant life, but also present unique insight into the social and cultural backdrop of bygone eras.

"Unknown Friends" will be opened on the October 19, 2008 by H.E. the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Bill Farmer, and will be marked by the presentation of a film about the artist, and a special reading from the diaries by distinguished Australian actor Terence Clarke.

For more information about the exhibition, please contact: Linda Wiryani, Communications Executive, Alila Ubud at telephone+62-(0)361-975 963.


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