Wayan Ariana

He is still young, but he aims big. Hailing from the village of Keliki, Wayan Ariana is one of not-so-many young and talented painters who is so eager to preserve his village’s art inheritance, the Keliki style. He is doing so not only through paintings, but also by giving the kids in his village free painting lessons and launching a book that features his traditional-styled works.
How did you initially get into the art world?
It started off as a hobby. And coincidentally, my village has been known so long for its art specialty which is the Keliki painting style. Therefore, I learned to paint in Keliki style from my cousin, Wayan Gama.
So, you are a self-taught artist then.
Yes, I am. I never went to an art school. In fact, I’m a graduate of Hindu Dharma Institute in Denpasar, majoring in Hindu Education. Just like I said before, it was my cousin who taught me to paint.
So, why do you choose to retain the traditional style amidst the popularity of modern and contemporary painting styles in the art world?
It’s because the number of its artists is getting smaller. Realizing this, I and some friends in the village decided to volunteer, teaching the kids to paint for free. I would say that Keliki style is an inheritance. It must be maintained, so that it won’t become extinct.
Though your art maintains this traditional style, do you add a bit of a modern touch into your works?
I do. Lately, I’ve created works that combine Keliki style and a bit of a modern twist. Keliki paintings usually portray the daily life of society and Hindu stories, as well as the gods and goddess. Meanwhile, the themes of my works are more related to today’s world. It gives social criticicism to problems that currently haunt the island, including the development, reclamation, waste problem and corruption. These works were exhibited last June. Then, I made a book out of it titled ‘Bali: Preserving the Paradise.’
Now, can you tell us a bit about your exhibition at Little Talks Ubud?
The exhibition is titled “Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudha Vadanti”. The phrase means ‘there is only one God, but the wise call it by many names’. In this exhibition, I created some paintings of the gods and goddess as there are many people are mistaken, judging Hindu to have many Gods. In fact, Hindu has only one God called Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa. However, it’s given names in accordance to its duties and functions.

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