A gentle artist of note from Ubud
Everyday in Penestanan, Ubud, we pass I Wayan Pugur. A gentle, old, artist, busying-away in his workshop between the rice paddies. He looks up over the rim of his glasses and smiles a wide smile with soft eyes. Sometimes, when he’s finished painting for the day, you’ll find him playing out with the taxi drivers at the other side of the valley. There’s something eternally mischievous about him.
Stopping to peruse his art in more detail one day in June, we started to find out a little bit more about him…
A meeting of destiny at the home of Walter Spies
A humble, cow farmer who’s lived his entire life in Penestanan, I Wayan Pugur tended to the private cattle of primitivist, German painter, Walter Spies. It was at Spies’ home, now the famous Tjampuhan Spa, where Pugur met his art-mentor in 1963, Dutch expressive, landscape artist, Arie Smit.
One of Arie Smit’s ‘Young Artists’
Developing as one of Smit’s ‘Young Artists’, I Wayan Pugur’s abundant scenes of the real Bali, swiftly brought joy to museums and exhibitions throughout South East Asia. Under the distinguished patronage of government ministers and supported by Smit, Pugur’s work reached national galleries in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia and earned repute from collectors in the US and Europe.
A steady hand in a changing world
Penestanan has changed around him, but quietly, I Wayan Pugur still paints rice paddies, traditional ceremonies, Balinese farm life, fishing boats, bountiful harvests and thriving communities. His bold acrylics on canvas are scenes that embody the extraordinary energy, wealth of nature and abounding gratitude that permeates his Island of the Gods.
A one-village man
Pugur thinks he was born sometime around August in 1945. Islanders of his generation are never quite sure. With four children and nine grandchildren all living in Penestanan, I Wayan Pugur continues to paint from his workshop by his family compound. Arie Smit, his friend, teacher and most fervent advocate, sadly passed in March 2016.
Balinese expressionist landscape oil paintings
Pugur’s joyous, colourful artwork captures his Bali. Harvesting of the rice paddies, women carrying offerings and the abundant jungle. Sri temples brim with presada and there’s a real sense of community, gratitude and the powerful natural and often mystical energy of Bali.
A new audience for I Wayan Pugur’s art
At The Mat Movement, we’re helping I Wayan Pugur find a new audience for his artwork beyond Penestanan. With the passing of Smit, he no longer has the same connections to galleries, museums and exhibitions that ensure new shop windows for his art. Check out the shop we’ve made him on Etsy with some examples of his bounteous acrylics on canvas. Enjoy, share and enjoy a 15% discount when you mention The Mat Movement.