On the morning of 20 December, Ruth, Savitri and I made a drive down to BatuBelah Art Space located in KlungKung to have a chat with I Wayan Sujana, aka Suklu. Pak Suklu also happens to be a lecturer at ISI Denpasar and knew Savitri from her student days there. This was the first of 3 catch-up sessions that were to happen that day for Savitri.
I found it a bit strange to meet Pak Suklu, the way I always find it a bit strange to meet artists whose works you have seen in person or have been following. And I had seen Pak Suklu’s paintings before this at Komaneka Fine Art Gallery. I think people, or at least me, have a tendency to personify artworks. Then to suddenly meet the actual person behind these artworks is usually somewhat a bit of an uncanny encounter.
BatuBelah Art Space is the brainchild of Pak Suklu. Its beginnings came about much earlier in 2007 as Komunitas Batu Belah, an informal network of programmes that engaged with the youths in the community of Batu Belah. In 2009, Pak Suklu also headed the Apa Ini Apa Itu arts festival. And eventually, in 2011, BatuBelah Art Space was set up in its current location where it also supports a residency programme. The grounds of BatuBelah Art Space is sizeable and artists coming through in the past had made full use of it by experimenting with and creating large sculptures and installations which are now all assembled across the grounds.