The Heart of the Matter

I have recently been reading a book published by the Museum Puri Lukisan in Ubud, Bali, about the famed Balinese painter Ida Bagus Made Poleng.  The book was compiled as part of the 50th anniversary of the museum, and includes contributions by several notable writers about Indonesia and Balinese Art, including Adrian Vickers, Benedict Anderson, and Kaja McGowan.

The other night, I was having dinner with some family and friends.  We started talking about Facebook.  I’ve continued to resist joining, but everyone at the table said I should, saying it would be great for promoting my art and photography.

Throughout the text about Ida Bagus Made, the authors address his refusal to sell his work in the tourist art galleries that have populated Ubud for decades.  He felt that most consumers wouldn’t understand his intentions, and thus would not truly honor the ritual, spiritual, and aesthetic intentions of the work.

I admire his ideals, and in my better moments feel with similar conviction that what I truly strive for with my photography is something more essential.


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