Whilst in Indonesia, I wanted to learn as many traditional crafts as I could. As I was walking around Bali I noticed many beautiful stone and wood carved statues, souvenirs, and designs on the exterior of homes and temples. I had the opportunity to go into a woodcarving family compound to learn about their process. After seeing this, I wanted to learn the technique myself.
I did a bit of research and discovered Five Art Studio based in Ubud, within Keliki Village. They offer a number of different workshops taught by the owner, Wayan Suardana (Kojex), and other local artists. Some of the art classes offered include keliki painting, batik, silver making, wood and stone carving. There are also some classes such as Balinese dance and religious offering classes that allow you to learn more about the Balinese culture.
Unfortunately when I arrived the person who taught wood carving was not there but I decided to try keliki painting instead. Whilst learning the intricacy of keliki painting, I talked to Wayan about what he did and how he began his own studio.
(Photograph by Jeremy 2017)
Growing up in a family of artists, art was part of every aspect of young Wayan’s life. His parents owned their own studio and this is how he learnt to paint and draw at a very young age. Growing up, he learnt a number of other traditional crafts including batik. As Wayan is working with other local artists with different skills, he gets to observe and learn as well.
Wayan wanted to open his own studio in which he named Five Art Studio. He believes that the skills of various ‘traditional arts are being lost and forgotten’, and hopes to keep these art forms alive which is why he began offering workshops. The workshops are offered to people from all over the world who are interested and willing to learn about the traditional arts and culture of Bali. He hopes that they will remember these skills and take them back to where they are from. Wayan also wants to share his knowledge with the local children which he offers painting lessons and English lessons to.
It is agreed ‘that many of Indonesia’s traditions are indeed fragile and in jeopardy (Taylor 1994 p.7), however ‘we cannot seem to agree on, why this is so, or what needs to be done (Taylor 1994 p.7).’
From talking to my local Balinese driver I discovered that one of the causes may be due to the growing tourism sector. The driver’s father is a wood carver however the skills were never passed onto him as he had no interest in wood carving and wanted to work within the tourism sector. Similarly, his uncle changed professions to work in tourism. The skills involved in creating traditional arts in Indonesia is historically passed down through family. If the younger generation decides to continually refuse to learn these skills, they will eventually be lost.
Five Art Studio, Welcome to Five Art Studio, viewed 16 February 2017, <http://fiveartubud.com/>
Taylor, P. (ed.) 1994, Fragile Traditions: Indonesian Art in Jeopardy, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.
Wagner, F. 1959, Indonesia: The Art of An Island Group, Methuen, London.
Wayan 2017, Interviewed by Jessica Xie, Bali, 24 January 2017.
Five Art Studio n.d., viewed 16 February 2017, <http://fiveartubud.com/>
Taken by Jeremy 2017