The works of the late I Dewa Nyoman Batuan are indeed unique. The artist from Pengosekan Village, Ubud, Gianyar District, is famous for his mandala-concept paintings. His contribution is also very large in terms of culture. It is the reason for Desak Putu Yogi Antari Tirta Yasa to present a Visual Biography Book and Documentary Film to I Dewa Nyoman Batuan. “I hope these two works can inspire younger generation to make creativity,” she said on the sidelines of the screening of the documentary film and the opening of the exhibition at the ARMA Museum in Ubud, Thursday (Aug 24).
Apart from the launch of a visual biography book and screening of a documentary film entitled Back to Origin, a painting exhibition was also opened which presented the works of I Dewa Nyoman Batuan. There are a total of 19 paintings on display which are his works from 1975 to the works before he died in 2013. “There is a painting entitled Mandala When I Was a Child (kid story), up to the last story before he died. In each of his paintings, there are always written poems describing the story of the work,” said Desak Yogi.
The writing in each work is used as a way to curate with his friends. Apart from being a painter the late I Dewa Nyoman Batuan was also a writer. He has a background as a teacher, but it was abandoned and preferred to become a peddler. “During the process of making films and books, he left a lot of notes. In fact, there are writing book and independently printed books, so I and my friends did research by re-reading all the writings, so that we found these paintings that actually tell our own lives,” she explained.
Production of books and documentaries was supported by the extended family of I Dewa Nyoman Batuan, the family at Banjar Sigaran-Sedang, and resource persons, such as Tjokorda Raka Kerthyasa, Mangku Made Gina and Anak Agung Rai who were friends of I Dewa Nyoman Batuan. Artist Adi Siput translated I Dewa Nyoman Batuan’s paintings into contemporary dance. “Meanwhile, the Indonesia Institute of the Arts Denpasar has supported me by lending me a studio that allows aesthetic images to appear in films as well as Selonding Rasasvadana in today’s performance,” she said.
The biography book carries a profile of I Dewa Nyoman Batuan, the story of his life journey and especially the concept of his paintings and photographs of his paintings. If the film is a documentary from the point of view of closest friends to I Dewa Nyoman Batuan, it tells the story of Dewa Nyoman Batuan. There are his wife, relatives, and the people closest to him who told stories about Dewa Nyoman Batuan.
Desak Yogi explained that maestro I Dewa Nyoman Batuan was chosen because he had received awards including the Wijaya Kusuma Award from the government. His works are mandala paintings, of which not many painters have raised these mandalas, so he deserves to be made a maestro. “Tourism development was also inseparable from the intervention of I Dewa Nyoman Batuan together with Anak Agung Rai (ARMA), Mangku Made Gina who played a role when Queen Elisabeth arrived in 1974. At that time, Queen Elisabeth visited Mangku Made Gina’s house, after that Pengosekan was booming. So, Pengosekan’s paintings are bought a lot,” she admitted innocently.
Yogi urged that these two works could be realized due to the support from the Cultural Endowment Fund, commonly known as the Indonesiana Fund. This fund is provided by the government for supporting development, achievement, and channel expressions for cultural figures. “I am grateful to be one of the winners and beneficiaries of Indonesiana Fund in 2022 in the Maestro Work/Knowledge Documentation Program. “In my heart I promise, if my proposal passes, I can present something for my grandfather, I Dewa Nyoman Batuan, in 2023, which is the tenth anniversary of his passing,” she said.
I Dewa Nyoman Batuan’s paintings still have hundreds more in his house. The painting still exist because the family does not intend to sell then, but keeps then in its own gallery. Apart from that, many of his paintings are showcased in museums in Bali, and some were bought by collectors and some others were given for free to his colleagues. “The process of making this book and film took about a year. I started with research from existing texts, and collected interviews and then processed them again until I was able to find the themes to be raised,” she concluded happily. (BTN/015)