Bandung is known for its modern and contemporary art scene. Roemah Seni Sarasvati sees this as a challenge when it organized a Classical Balinese Fine Art titled “Selaksa Makna dalam Keindahan Rupa” (Thousand of Meanings underneath the Fine Beauty) by capturing Ramayana and Mahabharata as inspirations. Will this exhibition be welcomed?


There are many things we can learn from how Balinese people respects tradition, especially on how they use stories with moral values such as Ramayana and Mahabharata in their arts. In big cities, modernism leads to the abandonment of traditional arts as they are positioned as kitsch. Therefore this “Selaksa Makna dalam Keindahan Rupa” exhibition organized by Roemah Seni Sarasvati in Bandung hopes to re-visit the spirit from Balinese people in preserving their tradition, because through tradition, we could prevent the decaying of the city.

  • Bandung and Bali are two areas valuable to the development of arts and culture in the country. Yet only Bali is able to preserve traditional and spiritual values in its arts. Meanwhile, Bandung is gradually known for its modern/contemporary arts. Can these two art centers of Indonesia walk side by side?
  • Balinese classical fine arts are closely related to their local narrative from the wayang stories up to Panji legend. This can be seen in Bali as well as in Japan and Persia. The further development of modern and contemporary art however moves away from this relation.
  • In Indonesia nowadays, artists tend to leave traditional art – especially those based on narratives. Those who are inspired by narrative and created their contemporary interpretations – are seen as outdated, regardless of the potential of using traditional art to give birth to new arts and to serve as filters of civilization.

Classical Balinese fine arts are rich with moral and spiritual values as well as delicate details that should be preserved. To ensure its existence, it should be intensively introduced to various art events in the world. Even though there are no more new works produced, since the artists passed away, classic Balinese fine arts should be appreciated. Classical fine arts should be part of Indonesia’s identity. Its diversity has significantly influenced the development of contemporary arts in the country.

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Indonesian version