Painting : The search for place (I Gusti Nengah Nurata - 1989)

Title : "The search for place"

Artist : I Gusti Nengah Nurata

Year : 1989

Oil on canvas.

Dimension : 97 x 153 cm.

In the painting “Pencarian Tempat” (1989), Nurata presents a story of a spiritual journey in
a decorative surrealist style filled with imagery. In an arid landscape, punctuated by limestone mutating into demonic beings, there are trees growing under the scorching sun. A Brahmin is carrying a banner blowing in the wind sitting on his striding elephant, followed by a group of other animals. The dark sky and the figure of kala are camouflaged in cumulus clouds staring intently on the Brahmin’s entourage. And then there are predatory birds and animals ready to ambush. A dominating umber brown background enhances the magical air of the painting.

In the universal humanist aesthetic paradigm, many Indonesian painters developed their own personal lyricist style, including the surrealist style that prevailed strongly in Yogyakarta. Surrealism is characterised by subconscious, often ironic, imagery of personal as well as social lives of artists and the society. Painters take themselves into exploring the spiritual and religious realm, including, in this case, Balinese cultural values filled with stories and myths from holy scripture. This painting symbollises a search for human identity in the nomadic journey of the Brahmin. The rolling dark clouds represent evil spirits who continue to lurk over the purity of seeking. There is a strong religious dimension within this symbollic realm, representing the human subconscious in a true transcendent reality.