Balinese artist Nyoman Nuarta who is based in Bandung, Indonesia expouses a deep Balinese Hindu spirituality in his art. Yet the themes of his art are contemporary and political. He deals with the disharmony of man with man, with nature and with the cosmos. He highlights the exploitation of nature, the poor, injustice, and man’s inhumanity with man. Nuarta works with copper and with bricks and mortar. His works range from monuments to smaller artworks. His monumental statues include the massive Patung Garuda Wisnu Kencana (Badung, Bali), 60 meter tall Monumen Jalesveva Jayamahe (Surabaya), and Monumen Proklamasi Indonesia (Jakarta). His smaller artworks are displayed at the NuArt Sculpture Park in Bandung which contains his gallery and workshop.
Well known in Indonesia because of his outspokenness and his art, Nuarta is relatively unknown outside Indonesia. He is regarded as a major contributor to the Indonesia New Art Movement. However, he is often verified for his provocative political views and his view of the destruction of natural resources, poverty and injustice in his beloved Indonesia.
Personally, I find his mastery use of space in the sculptures displayed in Bandung as refreshing as Rembrandt’s use of light. His sculptures have multiple layers of meanings. Though an extract art, its realism is horrifying as it reveals the true human condition. Each layer brings us deeper into the horrors and wickedness of the human tradition. I came away shaken by his commentaries on what is happening in Indonesia and the rest of the world.
two orang utan huddled in fear as a forest fire destroy their jungle
a woman netted in mesh wire, the hollow spread out body becoming one with the copper-mesh
RUSH HOUR II (1992)
The rush to nowhere. The hurried and the busy.
The 1998 Jakarta Tragedy during the collapse of government system called ‘Orde Baru’, many women were raped during the chaos. Nuarta presented a sad story about a Chinese woman who was one of the rape victims. The tragedy ended with many of the women committing suicide.
SEARCHING FOR GOD (1988)