H.E. I Gusti Wesaka Puja, Ambassador of Indonesia, and Dr Henrietta Lidchi of Museum Volkenkunde Leiden.
By Roy Lie Atjam.
The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in The Hague, in collaboration with the Museum Volkenkunde Leiden organized a book launch featuring, “Balinese Art Treasures of the 1940s; the rediscovery of a collection”.
The event took place at Aula Nusantara of the Embassy of Indonesia on Thursday, 5 December 2019.
The launching was attended by a good number of guests from various circles in the Netherlands including academics, scientists, cultural observers, historians, the diaspora and friends of Indonesia. Serving as a backdrop was the gamelan ensemble Barong and Drupadi Balinese dance from the Gamelan Mudra Svara group. The brilliantly illustrated book presents a unique collection of modern Balinese art from the 1940s. Besides the artworks themselves, the book provides the unusual history of the collection.
With the presentation of the book, Balinese artworks stored for decades at the Tropen Museum Amsterdam can finally be enjoyed by a wider public.
The book Balinese Art Treasures of the 1940s is about various high-value works of art consisting of various Balinese cultural objects totaling 130 pieces, such as wood carvings, paintings, objects made of silver, metal, and textiles.
These works of art are the property of the Indonesian Government and are still entrusted to the Tropen museum in the Amsterdam since 1955 by Dr The Great Idea Gde Agung, Former Prime Minister and Indonesian Ambassador to France after a successful exhibition was held in 1948.
The Indonesian Ambassador in the Netherlands, H.E. I Gusti Agung Wesaka Puja stated that the newly published book is expected to be a work that would contribute to the preservation and promotion of Bali’s cultural treasures in the world.
The Ambassador went on to say, “the publication of this book is an important step to disseminate information about high historical objects to the international community. It is a gift to the world and will be one of the important references in future, especially for observers and lovers of Balinese culture. The number of guests present here this evening testifies that a book like this has been long-awaited”, concluded Ambassador Puja.
Furthermore, the book presents great works of Balinese painters, among others: Ida Bagoes Made Nadera, I Goesti Ketoet Kobot, Agoeng Gede Meregeg’s Children, Ida Bagus Made Poleng, Ida Bagoes Made Togog, I Wajan Tohjiwa, I Made Djata and I Goesti Made Debelog and Balinese sculptors include: Ida Bagoes Njana, Anak Agoeng Gede Raka, and I Tama.
Dr Henrietta Lidchi of Museum Volkenkunde Leiden was the next speaker. She was followed by Dr Soemantri Widagdo, chairman of the Yayasan Titiafi Bali Foundation, who delivered the keynote presentation.
Dr Soemantri Widagdo is a chemical engineer by training, an innovative and creative culture builder by experience. Has been studying Balinese Visual Arts since 1994•1995-2015: Formerly the chief foreign curator and international liaison at the Museum Puri Lukisan, Ubud -Bali. In 2016: Created an artist incubator in Bali under the umbrella of Yayasan Titian Bali (Foundation)
Dr Soemantri Widagdo build his presentation on the following topics:
- to start he gave a brief history of Balinese art, 1900 – 1940
- The golden age of Balinese art 1920 – 1940
- What happened in the 1940s
- Bali was heavily impacted by the outbreak of the second world war: The invasion of Japan into South-East Asia, including Indonesia.
- The declaration of independence
- The early war of independence(1945-1949)
- What is happening now?
- Contemporary Balinese artists, are very dynamic:
Mokoh 1992Ni Gusti Kadek Murni Asih 2004, Nyoman Arisana 2017, I Wayam Aris sarmanta 2018, Art is very much alive in Bali.
What a fantastic exposure of Indonesian art, particularly Balinese art, by all means a successful event.
Courtesy: The Embassy of Indonesia, The Hague &Yayasan TiTian Bali (Foundation)