Whose Canvas: Nyoman Sujana Kenyem

Nyoman Sujana Kenyem has known art ever since he could remember. Living a life in the silence of Ubud, his art revolves around nature, harvesting its inspirations from the elements that create his environment.
What themes do you pursue?
​After I graduated from university, my ideas were and still are about nature. The environment of where I live, as well as its culture. It all has been my inspiration. Until now, I’m still exploring what’s in nature. It’s like, there is a mystery that I can’t solve yet.
How has your art changed over the years?
​My earlier works were abstract. For my final project in university, I even took a fragile, old wall as the theme of my abstract works. I started this ‘style’ of painting in the 2000s, and took bamboo as the main medium in my early series.
How do you portray nature in your work?
​I always observe what’s in nature, I take a reflection of myself, and I start to paint. My latest series contains a depiction of stone. I often see the stones as my place is very near the Ayung River. And what always comes to my mind afterward is their toughness. When they are hit by water, they don’t move and stand still. I then relate this to my own character, as I will be tough when I’m doing my passion. It’s not like, I merely paint the stones that I see, but I reflect them on myself and interpret it on my canvas. In a nutshell, it’s always about nature and myself.
And finally, how can you describe the characteristics of your work?
​It’s these small people that have to be on all my works. They’re inspired from the leaves flying freely in the air. And why are they made small? I always imagine that humans are actually small in this world. Therefore, these small figures represent us, the humans.

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