Citra Sasmita

Citra Sasmita is a young Balinese artist who hails from Tabanan. She is a gifted, talented woman who uses her art not merely to find an aesthetic purpose, but also to deliver her protest of patriarchal culture. What she has been creating is a collection of bold, provocative works, frequently portraying women and questioning their position in society.
How did you get into the art world?
I first got into it when I had the opportunity to create the illustrations for a book of short stories, as well as Bali Post’s weekly short stories in 2012. I was fond of visual art since childhood. I’m not an art school graduate, but physics which are related to exact science and that, in fact, has helped me in formulating ideas before I put it into a medium.
Can you explain your artistic process to us?
It’s not simply about how to display the visuals, but also how to provide something that is relevant and contextual to social problems today, so that it can be pondered and interpreted by the broader public. That’s where art has a multi-dimensional function, capable of covering the matters of space and time to be responded to by all senses. It’s not only about finishing two-dimensional images which can be seen only by the eyes.
You choose women as the subjects in most of your works. What is the background, and what do you want to convey through this depiction?
All this time, I’ve been intensely discussing the identity, stigma and sexuality which I represent through female bodies. I realize that as a woman, there are many things that have been buried in the area of domestication, both in terms of politics and history, as well as understanding people’s habits and their identity formation which are conditioned by the patriarchal system. It’s important for me to explore and understand these, and creating art is a very pleasant way to communicate the problems, as well as to analyze women’s issues.
And how do you embrace women through your art?
The success of a piece for me is the critique and curiosity, so that’s when the discussions and dialectics about these ideas happen. The female-themed works that I create often come from cases of violence, as well as the analysis in the social space that not all women are aware of. Through these works, I, as a facilitator, seek to build awareness and empathy for other women.

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