Wednesday, January 4, 2012

ubud and the artists

Batik-making is one of the few art activities you can see in Ubud.

After we had breakfast at Ibu Oka in Ubud, we went to have a look at a few of the art places around the area.

Ubud has been the centre of Bali's art scene for centuries. When you drive around Ubud and its neighbouring areas, you'll see many many specialty shops making all kinds of art, from stone-carving, wood-carving, statue-making, paintings, jewellery-making, you name it, they've got it.

Do you know what that means, folks?

That means Ubud is where you find all those essential Balinese souvenirs.  Some can be quite cheap and nasty, so it's wise to take your time exploring. A Balinese local would come in handy in this situation. They'll be able to point out where you can find some authentic souvenir that are also quite affordable.

Our first stop was a silver jewellery making factory. The attendants explained to us how they make the silver trinkets, which took all but 5 minutes. Then, they left us to explore the huge jewellery shop. I didn't like any of the jewellery displayed, so I didn't buy any. I didn't even take any pictures, because I was that unimpressed.

Next, our driver took us to a co-op gallery, where you can browse the paintings that are painted by local Balinese artists. The place is called Semar Kuning I. They have quite a few of pretty paintings there. If you like any of them, you can haggle the price and buy them for a reasonable amount of money, just like we did.

It was explained to me that the gallery is run by a co-op of artists, which means no middle-man taking an extra cut, thus all profits go directly to the artist, and paintings are more affordable.

Since we weren't allowed to take any pictures inside the gallery, I took pictures on the outside instead. This carving is just a small section of the external wall of the gallery. Very pretty.

Some of Semar Kuning artists, sitting outside the gallery, having a quiet chat. More wall carvings in the background.

This was the house next door!

There were no walls separating the two properties. The carvings there are even more elaborate & sumptuous. Some serious skill goes into that, very ornate. This type of carving can be seen in most of the traditional buildings in Bali.

On our way to our next stop, we saw a cremation ceremony taking place. We didn't want to intrude and stop, so I just took few quick pictures from the car. This cremation ceremony is called Ngaben and it can be quite elaborate depending on how wealthy the family is.

Scenes like this and other kinds of ceremony are happening every day, everywhere in Bali. The Balinese are a spiritual lot.

Next stop was a batik factory & shop. At the back of the shop, a few ladies were busy making batik at varying stages. An attendant explained the elaborate process to us.

I was just happy observing the ladies intricately painting away. But Hubby ended up buying a red batik shirt for my dad.

This one is not a batik process. It's ikat, a process of making fabric by weaving.

If this is something you'd want to see, the shop is called Sari Amerta Batik Bali, at Jalan Batu Bulan 88X, Gianyar.

An intermission picture, another rice paddy on our way to our next stop. They're everywhere! It won't be right if I don't take a few pictures here and there.

Our last stop was Don Antonio Blanco's sprawling residence, which has been turned into a museum.

The Don was a Spanish American painter. He came to Bali in 1952 and got hitched to a famous Balinese dancer, he went on to produce some of his best works, and became very famous specialising in the female form. Again, we can only take pictures of the outside, so you would just have to go there yourselves to see his work.

The museum is open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm, closed on public holidays.

To be honest with you, I kind of like the work of Mario Blanco (Antonio's son) better. They were housed in the museum as well. It's more interesting to me and is not as abstract as the older Bianco's.

Now that we've expended a lot of energy gallivanting around Ubud, we were in dire need of food inserted into our bellies, stat. So, we went to none other than the world-famous eatery, Naughty Nuri's. Read all about it in my next post.

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