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Nyoman Gunarsa: Pouring Tradition into Life Through His Artistry

  • Sep 23, 2023
nyoman gunarsa

Nyoman Gunarsa is an artist born in Klungkung, Bali, on April 15, 1944. He is an alumnus of the Indonesian Academy of Fine Arts (ASRI) in Yogyakarta and later became a fine arts lecturer at his alma mater. Gunarsa actively participates in various art exhibitions, both in Indonesia and abroad.

His brilliant works have earned him various prestigious awards, including:

  • Pratisara Affandi Adikarya Award (1976)
  • Best Work in the Biennial Indonesian Fine Arts Exhibition (1978 & 1980)
  • Lempad Prize Award (1980)
  • Silver Medal in the First Biennale of Yogyakarta Painting Arts (1988)
  • Dharma Kusuma Cultural Award from the Bali Regional Government (1994)
  • Satyalancana Culture Art Award from the President of the Republic of Indonesia (2003).


Since 1967, Gunarsa has been actively holding solo exhibitions in various places, such as the British Embassy, Jakarta (1967), Arcade Gallery, Kuala Lumpur (1971), Blance Gallery, San Francisco (1991), Blance Gallery, Osaka (1982), 21 Gallery, Singapore (1995), Opera-Gallery, Paris (1996), and Hamburgische Landesbank, Hamburg (1998).

Gunarsa was the founder of Sanggar Dewata Indonesia, which uses the island of Bali as the main theme in each of its members' works. In addition, he founded the Nyoman Gunarsa Museum of Contemporary Painting in Yogyakarta in 1989, as well as the Nyoman Gunarsa Museum of Classical Painting in Klungkung, Bali, in 1994. These museums not only house paintings but also valuable historical objects and keris.

Before his passing in September 2017, Gunarsa created a painting of an important Indonesian figure, President Joko Widodo, titled "Jokowi Minum Jamu." His final painting, "Alangkah Indahnya Indonesia Jika Semua Presiden Bersatu," depicted President Joko Widodo as a puppeteer playing with puppets, accompanied by figures of previous presidents who are also present in the painting.

Gunarsa is a contemporary Indonesian artist who combines Balinese and Hindu folklore with expressionist figurative forms. He is skilled at depicting traditional dancers, musicians, and important figures, with each work conveying a wealth of emotion on his canvas.

He once stated, "Painting lines as I sing, placing colors as I dance," a sentiment reflected in the beauty of every line's curve and the harmonious blend of colors in each of his works.

painting nyoman gunarsa
Lot 058 | NYOMAN GUNARSA | Puppet Show, 2007 | Oil on canvas: 150 x 200 cm. 
SGD 13,000 - 22,000

The beauty of his painting philosophy is also evident in four paintings that depict Balinese art and traditions with stunning strokes of color. In the painting "Puppet Show," Gunarsa depicts a wayang performance, with the puppeteer taking the central role in this captivating display. On the left side, you can see the dancers who participate in this wayang performance, accompanied by sinden (singers) and gamelan players who provide the musical backdrop to the performance.

balinese painting
Lot 059 | NYOMAN GUNARSA | Sepasang Penari, 2010 | Oil on canvas: 150 x 173 cm
Est. SGD 7,000 - 8,500

Three other paintings capture the beauty of traditional Balinese dancers. Gunarsa skillfully captures the graceful curves of the dancers' bodies, allowing us to imagine the dancers as they gracefully perform traditional dances. The combination of colors showcased by Gunarsa also breathes life into these four paintings.

balinese dancer painting
Lot 060 | NYOMAN GUNARSA | Balinese Dancer, 2009 | Oil on canvas: 95 x 95 cm 
Est. SGD 3,400 - 5,400
nyoman gunarsa painting
Lot 061 | NYOMAN GUNARSA | Dancer, 1999 | Oil on canvas: 95 x 95 cm 
Est. SGD 3,000 - 5,000

Our live auction is scheduled to occur between September 1st and September 24th, 2023, concluding with a final live session at 02:15 PM Jakarta Time (GMT+7). We are pleased to accept bids through various channels, including in-person bids, telephone bids, written bids, and online bids via our website: 

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