About Bali Arts
This web site offers a view of the Bali I’ve inhabited for 45 years, as well as links to people and projects I work with there, plus a few I simply admire and respect.
I first arrived in Peliatan, Bali in January 1973 and stayed for a year. Working with a local foundation focused on preservation of traditional Balinese culture, I found friendships and fascinations that continue today. I also collected new and old Balinese paintings and antique keris, most of which I'm now returning to Bali and Indonesia.
In the summer of 1974, I curated “Legendary Paintings of Bali,” my first exhibition of the island’s remarkable wayang art at Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum, supplementing pieces I had collected with related materials from the Fogg and other New England museums.
Despite a yearning to figure out how to make a living through work in and with Balinese art and culture, I soon found myself working on political and strategic communications for research universities and the nonprofit sector. By the late 1980s I began returning to Indonesia and to Bali more often, especially in the 1990s while working at UC Berkeley.
More frequent visits began in 2009 and the following year I agreed to return my collection of paintings to Bali for an exhibition in Ubud. With the 2013 opening of “Ketut Madra and 100 Years of Balinese Wayang Painting” at Ubud's Museum Puri Lukisan and publication of the catalog of the same title, I found I could do at 68 what I could not figure out at 28.
I'm now working with five collaborators in Bali, including Anggara Mahendra who shot the photo below, on a second book, Keris in Bali Today.