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I Gusti Nyoman Lempad: His works and services.

in Blog
January 3, 2022
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It is not known exactly when he was born, but many sources say the third of four children was born in 1862, and was married when the Krakatoa volcano erupted in 1883. He breathed his last on April 25, 1978, at the age of 116. It was not difficult to find the residence of the painter I. Gusti Nyoman Lempad. You just walk along 500 m towards the East of Ubud Palace and will see the sign board.

Whoever you ask, surely knows where his house is. Lempad has become a part of Balinese painting. He is a never-ending source of inspiration for the next generation of art. The history and development of Balinese painting cannot be separated from it. Lempad can’t read, because he didn’t go to formal school, but he can write his name on his paintings just by imitating. Although his father was an engraver, he did not have his father’s skills. But from a Brahmin who lived in Puri Lempad he got his ability. This Brahmin mastered various fields, such as; building designers, sculptors, painters and experts in customary regulations. From him Lempad learned everything about dance, religion and society.

When he was 40 years old, he helped Walter Spies build his house in Campuhan, Ubud. One time, Spies saw Lempad’s painting on a piece of paper, he admired it and paid for it with a shirt, cloth, etc. He then advised Lempad to keep painting whatever was in his head and to stay focused on his painting style. According to Lempad, meeting Spies was a gift, because he had been taught painting techniques. Lempad finally concentrated on wayang painting, taking the themes of Ramayana and Mahabharata. His style uses black paint on white paper that produces a nice shape, magical and strong and looks unbreakable.

Many people did not know what was going through Lempad’s mind when he drew a brush on paper. Throughout his life Lempad was never far from wood, paper, pencil or Chinese ink. One of the attractive aspects of his work is imperfection. He enjoys all of his unfinished work, for from there he can perfect according to his inspiration. Although the tools he uses for painting are very simple. But that’s where we can see the power of the line and the precision. It rarely accentuates color, except to introduce accents or to amplify certain shades. He works on the themes of Jayaprana and Dukuh Suladri, for example.

Lempad was also active in the formation of Pita Maha, an arts organization founded by Tjokorde Gde Agung Sukawati, Walter Spies, and Rudolf Bonnet in 1935. This organization had been led by Spies and a number of Balinese artists until the 1950s. Pita Maha introduces western painting styles to young Balinese artists and introduces their work to overseas visitors. Through exhibitions at home and abroad. Lempad’s characteristics are clearly seen in each of his works, although simple, they contain a unique identity. His works influence Balinese painters to this day. No one can imitate him except his grandson Gusti Nyoman Sudara, a teacher at the SMSR (Secondary School of Fine Arts) in Ubud, where he teaches classical Balinese Studies. Received an award from the Indonesian government on the 25th Indonesian Independence Day, in the form of a gold medal and Rp. 100.000,- which he gave to his grandson to buy a motorcycle. Other awards were the Udayana Prize [(1975), and the Dharma Kusuma award (1982). Lempad and his works are also documented on film by Lome Blair and Yohanes Darling in collaboration with Australian television. The Lempad documentary film received the award for best documentary at the 26th Asian film festival in Yogyakarta (1980). Meanwhile, Sanggar Dewata Indonesia named its award the Lempad Prize, which is given to someone who is concerned about Balinese art. We can see his paintings at his home, Ubud Palace, Ubud Neka Museum, Denpasar Art Center, Tropen Museum (Amsterdam), Rijkmuseum voor Volkenkunde (Leiden), Museum fur Volkenkunda Basel (Germany).

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