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A Balinese encounter

A Local Encounter that Changed my Perspective - Master and student

INDONESIA | Friday, 19 April 2013 | Views [366] | Scholarship Entry

I left the tourists and my city-slickerness behind in Ubud, Bali the day I joined the locals in craft. A rickety, old scooter with another warm-hearted local drove me up and down the hilly bamboo-lined roads to Lodtunduh - my inhibitions and expectations drifted away with every bump in the road as my eyes roamed the ever-green fields of rice-paddies. I opened myself up to the new experience that awaited me at WS Art Studio.

His hands may have been dry and weathered but artist Sulendra expertly prepared his table for my lesson in Balinese painting. We sat across from each other, cross-legged on bamboo mats at the back of the studio which overlooked pokey fields of sugar-cane. Soft rain fell intermittently while the hens and roosters clucked and crowed around us. Aromatic ginger and lemongrass tea refreshed my palate along with freshly-prepared deep-fried pineapple as I surrendered myself to his painting instruction.

We caught the attention of a young crippled boy who worked his arms across the studio to drag his legs and rest beside us. He concentrated on my tuition despite his stifled breathing - every stroke of my pencil and every swish of my brush. Sulendra, a qualified artist who displays his works in galleries across Bali startled me out of my complete immersion when he declared that I had natural artistic talent. I was humbled before this master.

After three hours of sketching, outlining, and color-layering, I produced a blushing red and orange hibiscus flower in its glorious foliage - traditional Balinese style. It took a gloomy, electric sky roaring with thunder to shake me out of my most sublime experience on the Island of Gods.

Tags: Travel Writing Scholarship 2013

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