On 17 December, the day before my Ketemu Aja! session, the Ketemu team took a day trip to Negara. Never mind that I was actually really tired and should have probably rested, cos I doubt I would have another chance to go Negara before I left.
Negara is the capital city of the Jembrana Regency which is where Murni originated from. While there, we met with Punia Atmaja and Santana Putra of POOT (Perkumpulan Orang-Orang Takberguna), an artist collective that does these tongue-in-cheek artworks, including a whole series of keychains which were made in response to someone asking where they can purchase some tourist-type commemorative products of Negara.
We also met with writer and curator Pak DS Putra, and the conversation turned to the cultural influence of West Bali in Murni’s works. From the perspective of someone from West Bali, the overt sexual depiction and motifs in Murni’s works are not exceptionally transgressive. Sex, the vagina, and the penis are culturally common visual tropes in that part of Bali. The erect penis sculpture protruding from one of the pillars of the gazebo was the perfect case in point.