SCULPTURE of a grandfather with a rooster cage or with a fishing rod has been well-known and arguably become one of the most typical souvenirs of Bali. Its typicality can also be seen from the accuracy of the anatomical details on the human sculpture. Such artistic sculpture is made by craftsmen from Jagapati, Angantaka and Sedang (JAS) village, Abiansemal subdistrict. Unfortunately, within the past few years the handicraft was virtually extinct. The sculptors preferred to leave the profession and turned to become a farmer. Meanwhile, the active ones preferred to work on furniture.
Nyoman Sutapa, a sculptor from Angantaka village, said that reducing sculpture production occurred because craftsmen lost out excitement in working. He rarely got an order. Deterioration of the sculpture production in his area began to happen in 2003 after the Bali bombing incident that devastated the Bali tourism sector. Since then, the sculptor began to have decreasing order. After recovery of the tourism, the handicraft sector was not getting better, but it even declined.
This owner of Parisudha art shop told that due to long slump, the artisan gradually shifted to agricultural field. Before 2003, the sculptors could be found in almost every home, but now it was very difficult to do so. “Today, it’s difficult to find craftsmen, even their number can be counted by fingers. In the past local villagers were sculpting while farming. The reality today is even in the contrary,” he said.
To be known, Sutapa did not wholly work on the sculptures with high artistic value. At his workshop, he also made furniture for various purposes. Even, his furniture works were more dominant. According to Sutapa, the main obstacle of sluggish condition in the sculpture field should immediately be looked for a solution. Otherwise, such typical handicrafts would face extinction.
Craftsmen faced an obstacle in the matter of capital, marketing and human resources. Among the obstacles, the major one was marketing. Craftsmen were in need of assistance and facilitation of government. The government should not remain to keep silent and promptly take a strategic policy in the sector to generate the potential. For example, it could be resolved by realizing the synergy between tourism and craftsmen through a policy requiring the tourism industry to purchase the craftsmen’s product or by making a tourism route that passed through the center of crafters.
“Government has made an effort to reach the purpose. However, I think it’s very difficult because it is slightly late. If only the initiative to generate the excitement of craftsmen has been beginning or since 2003, I think the decline is not as serious as today,” he said.
Meanwhile, a craftsman from Sedang village, Gede Yoga, also revealed similar condition. The owner of the Yoga Sedana art shop also said that many craftsmen in the area shifted to be a farmer or carpenter. He said that JAS was formerly the home base of sculpture works in Badung Regency. They had almost the same motive of sculpture. Yet, the slight difference lay in the activity depicted, where the typical sculpture of Jagapati described a grandfather in relaxed situation. Then, that of Angantaka showed off a grandfather catching fish by conical net (pencar) while at Sedang the grandfather was depicted to carry a chicken cage.
He hoped that government could look for a breakthrough in overcoming the sluggish condition of handicraft sector at JAS, especially in the field of marketing. One of the endeavors, the government should provide training in information technology so that their product could be marketed to wider regions. This endeavor was considered strategic for crafters to compete against large investors. “At the moment, there has been a breakthrough of Badung Government that is planning to set up a marketing center. However, the artisans should also have technological literacy so as not to lose out in the competition against large capitalists,” he said. (BTN/kmb)
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