No matter where you are in Ubud you’re never far away from an artisan whether they be painters, carpenters, weavers, musicians or those crafting batik patterns. Even the wafting incense in the open dining room at Uma by Como seems to sway in time to the smoky jazz playing in the background.
But beyond the handcrafted villas and lush grounds, are entire villages dedicated to creating exquisite art. Batuan Village is famed for its painting style of the same name depicting village life and history while drawing on Hindu mythology. The drawings in black ink often painted in vibrant colours, are so fine in design many of the artworks take years to complete. The gallery showcases almost 1,000 pieces of 3rd and 4th generation artists, and I’m drawn to a market scene valued at USD 45,000; it does not surprise the President of Indonesia shops here.
A few minutes away a new generation of budding artists are hard at work producing equally intricate artworks at the Keliki Painting School. I ask my guide Anom Suyadnya, Uma’s Activity Specialist what sets the artists apart in Ubud and he replies with, “Tourism is thriving so there are many opportunities for artists. For example, the Ritz Carlton in Ubud features Batuan art in every room.”
My question seems rather obvious watching the Keliki students at work who are mainly boys. I can’t imagine many 11-year-olds in the Western world working with such dedication and talent; they’re as mesmerising as they are inspiring.
Carmen Jenner was a guest of the Como Uma Ubud
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