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Bali Painting Kamasan Style

12 September 2016

Nyoman Mandra poses a figure of painter carrying the Balinese classical school, fine arts of Kamasan Village, Klungkung Regency, belonging to typical style, has close relationship to the performing art, namely puppet shadow play. His expertise as an artist originates in his skill and profound knowledge on the storyline of puppet shadow as well as the history of painting art of Kamasan style where he was born.

It is undeniable that the art talent has flowed on this man of 1946-born from his grandfather Rambug, the best painter in the end of the nineteenth century. In the meantime, his uncle Nyoman Dogol was one of the celebrated painters of his generation. These two painters posed artists becoming the leader in the initial brushing of the famous Kerta Gosha Hall of Justice in Klungkung. The major resource of storylines depicted in the fine arts of Kamasan style is the epic Mahabharata and Ramayana. My prime motivation is to preserve the tradition of Kamasan fine arts, he said.

Reputation of Mandra was established in terms of two aspects namely dedication in maintaining the highest standard providing the classical status to Kamasan painting style and his capability to work innovatively and enchantingly in the tradition. Learning from great artists in the past, Mandra composed the style of traditional painting art of purely his own version. His works comply with the proportion and formulated-structure in traditional aesthetic and add his own unique touch in such style.

His works are characterized by high level of smoothness. He avoids many traditional images on severe conflicts for the sake of meditative approach to the roles of Hinduism gods in Indian great epics. His composition has a tendency to focus on typicality and more steady balance than practiced by his predecessors. Awareness on the very different composition he puts into account.

The works of Kamasan painters of the nineteenth century have complex composition, often less symmetrical and composed by related scenes. These scenes are separated by borders indicated by stone textures and other natural formations. At the end of twentieth century, the artists of Kamasan changed their awareness on the composition. They were also influenced by the awakening of fine arts having Balinese modem style that only depicts the scene of single storyline. It is here the awareness of Mandra on composition was felt truly different from his predecessors. A group of people and piles of figure in the works of his grandfather are superseded by the accurate and more symmetrical placement.

In order to indulge the painting enthusiasts and to know further about the tradition of the painting of Kamasan style, Mandra exhibits teens of his works for some one and half a month (7 Aug-30 Sep) at Griya Santrian Gallery, Sanur.