Dewa De Wardana
"Bali is an island of artists and artisans. There is no equivalent word for 'art' in the Balinese language because art is our way of life and part of everything we do.""Bali is the best place in the world to live! I was born here on April 6, 1976. My city is the artistic and cultural center of Bali and that has given me the extra creative energy needed to work as an artisan.
"I'm married with one daughter, who was born in 2009. Since I became a father, I've felt much more responsibility… to my family… my wife, my daughter and my parents, as well as my wife's parents. Fatherhood has helped me appreciate what sacrifices my parents made for me. I love watching my daughter grow up and I hope to provide a good education for her and any more children I have. I want to help her go after her dreams.
"My work reflects everything that I love about Bali and my early childhood influences of nature and art. My early learning of organic farming has helped me appreciate the processes involved in batik using organic natural dyes, such as indigo. My love of drawing and painting has led me to live in an artist community where I can draw on the talents of my neighbors and collaborate to create a viable work model.
"I was an only child and grew up in a rural village in the mountains of central Bali. Both my parents are farmers, as are most of the people in the village. Our only transportation was our feet! I used to walk five kilometers to elementary school. Throughout my childhood, I loved art and always did well in school competitions. I wanted to go to art school, but my parents couldn't afford to send me or even pay the regular school fees after 6th grade.
"I love the mountains. As a child, I used to climb the mountains and cross to the other side. Today, I still like to sit overlooking the beautiful mountain scenery and play my guitar or harmonica. I feel comfortable and in harmony with the natural beauty surrounding me, and this has provided inspiration for the songs I have composed as well as my art work.
"Someone working at a nearby Yayasan came to our house and invited me to live and learn there. Yayasan is a non-profit organization for research in the development of the art of living. I learned composting, how to recycle paper, organic farming and about birds, especially the swallow. I also received English lessons. I lived at Yayasan almost three and a half years.
"Then, at the age of 16, I moved to Lovina and worked at a number of small jobs before finally moving to an artist village. It was the first time I saw art galleries and museums, and so many beautiful paintings!
"One of the galleries hired me as a model and I supplemented my income by working as a model for many artists, including Arij Smit. I also had a job at a printing company. They recognized my artistic skills and asked me to help with drawing designs for their customers. I was fortunate to have people hire me, and recognize and encourage my artistic skills.
Today, I organize experienced artists from the village to paint my original designs on silk chiffon scarves and shawls. They all are talented! I ask each artist to sign the finished scarf so shoppers will know they have purchased an original and unique work of art to wear. They all come from my home village where they grew up painting in their families of artists. Now they apply their skill and paint to silk instead of canvas.
"We use 100 percent silk chiffon. The fabric paint is environmentally safe and non-toxic for the hand painted designs. The batik scarves use indigo and other natural dyes made from indigenous plants organically grown in Bali. "I can craft the pieces but now I work with the various artists throughout the process and develop new designs. I want to encourage and support other artists as I was encouraged. No one is using these arts in quite the same way. We mix contemporary design with traditional technique. It is important to me to see these traditional arts continue to showcase the talent here in Bali.
"Both our hand painted and batik scarves use artistic expression that has been identified with Bali for generations. Bali is an island of artists and artisans. There is no equivalent word for 'art' in the Balinese language because art is our way of life and part of everything we do. From our daily offerings to the gods, to our ceremonies and dances, to our handicrafts, to our paintings and textiles (including hand woven ikats and hand stamped batiks) are all expressed in a unique artistic form. All these expressions of art have been passed down from one generation to another and have formed the rituals of our daily life."