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Neka Art Museum

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Neka Art Museum offers Ubud’s finest collection of Balinese art curated to provide an overview of the development of the different schools and influences, including the works of foreign artists who have made Bali their home.

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If you know nothing about Balinese painting, then Neka Art Museum is a good place to start, while if you are well versed, you’ll be delighted by the diversity and quality of the works. And if you don’t really like art and have been dragged along by someone who does, the garden’s pretty.

Full Moon Ceremony. Arie Smit. Photo taken in or around Neka Art Museum, Ubud, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Full Moon Ceremony. Arie Smit. Photo: Sally Arnold

This museum is the private collection of local philanthropist, Suteja Neka, son of one of Bali’s most renowned carvers. His interest in collecting art was influenced by friendship with Dutch artists, Rudolf Bonnet (1895–1978) and Arie Smit (1916–2106). The museum was opened in 1982 and continues to inspire and educate visitors.

Pick up a map at reception which will lead you on a chronological journey through the history of the development of painting in Bali exhibited in separate traditional buildings. Each period is introduced with explanations in English and Japanese, and the individual artworks are well labelled with the whys and wherefores.

Self portrait. Affendi. Photo taken in or around Neka Art Museum, Ubud, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Self portrait. Affendi. Photo: Sally Arnold

The Balinese Painting Hall begins with the classical Wayan Style, named for the similarities with shadow puppets. Paintings are crowded with figures in three-quarter view, illustrating scenes from Hindu epics or folktales. Others are astrological charts, almanacs, or amulets sometimes painted on bark or handwoven cloth. Dating from the 17th century, this style is a living tradition and is still produced in villages across Bali. The Transitional Style depicts similar stories, but figures are a little more natural in appearance introducing light and shadow, with attempts at perspective due to Western aesthetic influences on Bali from the mid 1800s. Look for the lovely lyrical work “Life in Bali” by I Ketut Liyer of “Eat Pray ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,000 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Neka Art Museum
Jalan Raya Campuhan, Ubud
T: (0361) 975 074
Admission: 40,000 rupiah

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