The sculptures of Balinese artist, Ida Bagus Putu Gede Sutama, mirror the
reality of his home located near Sanur Beach. For thousands of years, the tides and
currents of the Strait of Badung have washed flotsam and jetsam to the shores of Sanur, supplying villagers with a livelihood closely tied to the sea and temples.
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One of the most picturesque sights of Sanur are the colorful jukungs
– triangular-sail outrigger canoes lining the beach. With bowsprits Carved in the shape of elephant fish, the same sea that gave birth to these mythological creatures is the source of Sutama's
inspiration. These ships, like the humans who sail upon them, have lives of limited duration before the break up to become the colorful flotsam that lines the beach.
The Balinese have long been sensitive to the 'magical' properties of the mediums used to create sculptures. Spirit and life imbue all things. It is a therefore only natural for Balinese artists to visualize faces and torsos hidden within the inanimate objects. Sutama's elephants are inverted jukung
rudders whose long handles have become trunks. Discarded masts transform into birds and transoms into cubistic masks.
While each of sculptures is unique, they are all bound by Sutama's love of distressed color. The boats are repainted every year with bright layer after bright layer of thickening paint. The passage of time and wear unevenly strip away sections of paint. A marred green surface reveals sub-layers of blue and yellow. The effect is not unlike ancient walls plaque with thousands of posters, evoking a certain timelessness.
There is also a magical element in these transmutations. Sanur has long had the reputation as a powerful centre of magic, both black and white, in its nature. Local priests tread the narrow, precarious space between the natural and supernatural world. Thus so, the sea which surrounds Bali is the literal and figurative frontier separating Bali from the outside world. As an artist Sutama seeks to transform the mundane into the mysterious with a sparkling smile and enigmatic wink.Flotsam and Jetsam
An Exhibition by Ida Bagus Putu Gede Sutama
The Ganesha Gallery at the Four Seasons Resort, Jimbaran Bay
October 8 - November 2, 2009
Open Daily 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.
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