A giant on the Balinese contemporary art scene for decades, Pande Gde Supada needs little introduction. As always, the newest series is a cause for celebration of the evolving creativity of this talented artist and influential teacher.
In his latest, “Spiritual Dialogues,” Supada turns to meditation, a theme that stands at the heart of Hindu and Buddhist philosophy, religion and art. Ironically, although a dialogue (an act that requires interchange between at least two parties) would seem an impossible task while engaging a discipline that demands solitary contemplation, in practice, meditation sparks inner dialogue with the greater whole – the cosmos, if you like.
Indeed its aim is the obliteration of the wall of illusion between the natural and supernatural worlds resulting in unification - an experience known as enlightenment or realization in the West or moksa
in the east.
While the concept is simple, as anyone who has attempted meditation knows, the path to inner peace is more easily conceptualized than manifested. In Supada’s case, the difficulties and joys of his own convoluted inner-dialog has provoked a series of images that serve both as a form of documentation of a very personal exorcism of doubt and fear.
Remarkably the images themselves dwell upon the human condition, especially the relationship between mother and child. In a traditional agricultural society like Bali, motherhood is of special relevance that is associated with fertility and cornucopia. His images may also be references to the Balinese folktale of Men Brayut
, a poor but loving peasant mother with full breasts and countless children. While the Madonna-like image may seem beneficent, like dreams and the underworld it also harbors a dark secret for Men Brayut
traces her origin to Hariti
, a child-devouring ogress converted by Gautama Buddha into a saintly guardian of children.
Supada’s sophisticated, ambivalent journey to achieve unity and balance between the inner self and the oftentimes raw and dangerous forces of nature is also mirrored in his composition and style. While the lines that delineate the pleasant rounded forms are curvilinear and fluid, the textured surfaces and hues are mysterious and even challenging. Are these archetypes dredged up from ancient cave walls within the artist’s mind or latter-day graffiti full of pathos and vinegar? While the answers to such questions may never be answered, the artist has achieved great success in shining a light upon a dark and lonely path.
Paintings by Pande Gde Supada
Ganesha Gallery at the Four Season Resort at Jumbaran Bay
December 1 2011 – January 9, 2012
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