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a tale from the island of the gods

Made Bayak

Made Bayak


a tale from the island of the gods

Written by Wayan Jengki Sunarta Translated by Rebekah Moore

Since the invention of plastic in the early twentieth century, this material has been a practical, pragmatic, and cheap commodity serving hundreds of purposes. But behind its advantages, plastic has also spread terror, horror, anxiety, disease, and the destruction of nature. Ground soil takes thousands of years to biodegrade plastic. When it is burned, the smoke poisons the air and our lungs. Unimagineably, styrofoam, that ubiquitous substance used to package food waste, causes cancer when burned, and it cannot be broken down in nature. To this day, plastic waste continues to wreak ecological havoc at the local, regional, national, and international levels. In Bali, plastic waste management was made a special agenda for Bali’s provincial government. On May 25, 2011, under the auspices of the Environment Agency of Bali (BLH), the government held a waste management seminar entitled "Plastic Waste-Free Bali 2013" in the Ksirarnawa Building, Taman Budaya. The government also created the “Bali Green Province,” guided by three basic campaigns, namely “Green Culture,” “Green Economy,” and “Clean & Green.” Green Culture aims to

A Tale From The Island of The Gods

122cm x 122cm Acrylic, ink, plastic trash, and recycled paper on plywood. 2013

increase understanding and awareness of the impacts and potential uses of waste. Green Economy aims to encourage entrepreneurs and the private sector to participate in waste management. Finally, Clean & Green is intended to overcome the problems of pollution and environmental damage affecting the socioeconomic vitality of the community. For example, in the Tabanan regency, the plastic waste processing plant PT. Enviro Pallet Bali processes 20 tons of plastic waste plastic per day, which is converted into pallets, pots, buckets, pallet goods, etc. Although there have been efforts by the government and environmental NGOs to manage plastic waste, the problem is difficult to overcome. One reason for this is the lack of public awareness on how plastic waste can destroy the natural environment. In Bali, one frequently witnesses the careless disposal of plastic waste, which then contaminates the rice fields, irrigation canals, ditches, rivers, gardens, mangroves, beaches, mountains, cliffs and ravines. Furthemore, in the alleys, main thoroughfares, traditional markets, and other public spaces of the city, people dispose of plastic waste anywhere they please. Many people casually discard plastic wrappings from public transport or car windows.

Bayak and Plasticology For some time, the problem of plastic waste has provoked the attention of artist Made Muliana Bayak. Bayak, who graduated from ISI Denpasar, has gained a reputation for intensely wrestling with and critically exploring ecological, social, cultural, humanitarian, and political issues—all within the context of art. His explorations include, not only visual art, but also music. As a guitarist, Bayak has shaped local indie bands Simulacra and Geekssmile. Bayak uses art and music as means and media to convey messages related to specific contextual issues. His solo exhibition at the

Griya Santrian Gallery, Sanur on January 2012, which gained significant public recognition, serves as an example: Through the medium of nuanced parody, Bayak criticized the exploitation of nature by capitalism and neoliberalism, in the name of tourism development in Bali. On the basis of the increasing awareness of Balinese about the need for plastic waste management, Bayak has created a series of art projects themed "Plasticology," a concept that fuses the words "plastic" and "ecology." Bayak premiered this series, which is based on mixed media pieces composed of plastic waste, in Gardenia Cafe, Sanur in December 2012. Now, Bayak launches a solo exhibition titled "Plasticology Reissue" at Ary’s Warung, Ubud. His future plan is to display other works within the "Plasticology" series, in other exhibit settings. Before plastic was a common commodity, Balinese used banana leaves as food wrappers. After eating the meal inside, they would immediately discard the wrapper leaves anywhere, and the organic waste would return to nature. Such littering habits settled into the Balinese subconscious and were handed down for generations. Now, although most food and beverages are served in plastic, littering continues to follow these old customs. The careless disposal of plastic waste has had dramatic negative effects and impacted many aspects of daily life. For example, many rice farmers use plastic rubbish to repel sparrows from their fields; the fallen remnants eventually contaminate the entire paddies. "If this sort of littering behavior is not changed soon, the entire island of Bali will be full with garbage,” says Bayak. “The island produces an average of 10,000 cubic meters of waste per day, but government agencies can only process 5,700 cubic meters. Much trash is left

The Thin Line Between Religion & Corruption

120cm x 122cm Acrylic paint on recycled paper and newspaper collageon plywood. 2013

on the curbs or in illegal dumps. This fact is really alarming.” With the realization that plastic waste is a critical problem as his point of departure, Bayak utilizes the plastic waste generated by his own family to create works of art, including painting collages and installation pieces. Bayak beliefs strongly that such small actions, starting with himself, have the potential to influence others. Everyday, with the help of his wife and son, Bayak collects the plastic waste around his house to be used in his artwork. "The idea first arose with my first solo exhibition in Ubud in 2008. There was a challenge to transform waste into works of art. I tried to find a technique that would allow the rubbish to remain as artwork, even after the exhibition concluded," explains Bayak. In the context of the “Go Green” discourse, campaigned by the government throughout Bali, artwork from plastic waste could be the most obvious implementation of an ecofriendly concept. Bayak has consistently promoted this technique and creative process through art exhibitions, workshops in schools, and various collectives concerned about the environment. For example, during the BaliSpirit Festival in 2013, Bayak provided daily workshops and live painting activities, demonstrating how to turn plastic waste into works of art. "Within my family, I set an example for how to manage plastic waste by making works of art. My son sees and emulates me by collecting plastic waste in our home. Now, he is able to sort the garbage and set aside that which can be used for artwork. Little things like this can actually just start with an individual and his family," says Bayak.

New Propaganda But Bayak’s works not only contribute to discourse on plastic waste management; they also provide social and culture commentary. The icons displayed in his work evoke Bali’s exotic past which, from the Dutch colonial era to the present day, are exploited by the cultural propaganda of the tourism industry. In addition to being one of the biggest contributors to waste in Bali, the tourism industry has also negatively impacted the overal ecological, social, and cultural health of the island. The construction of tourism facilities often proceeds with no regard for Balinese spatial concepts or needs. The result: custom is ignored by tourism investors, village boundaries are violated, sacred art is rendered profane— as sacred objects of the temple are sold as collectible antiques—and prostitution in dimly lit cafes proliferates the island. Tourism propaganda that exploits and exoticizes Bali has also ignored its dark side and the many tragedies of Bali. Because tourism only benefits from the image of Bali as a beautiful paradise, it must always avoid reality—including the dark and tragic events that have occurred at some of the island’s most popular tourist destinations. Related to such issues, Bayak cynically constructs “new propaganda,” chiefly to rebuild the image of exotic Bali from plastic debris. The visual works of “Plasticology” are laden with messages of satire and parodies of a Bali overidolized by the tourism industry. Hopefully, art lovers will comprehend the message conveyed by Bayak’s artworks of waste. ***

*Wayan Jengki Sunarta is a graduate in Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Letters, Udayana University. He has also studied painting at the Indonesian Institute for the Arts (ISI) Denpasar.

The War That We Never Win

125cm x 125cm Permanent ink on plastic trash. 2013

The Dance of Virgin

65cm x 75cm Spray paint on plastic trash. 2013

The Curse of Brahmana Keling

65cm x 75cm Spray paint on plastic trash. 2013

Barong and Keris Dance

75cm x 65cm Spray paint on plastic trash. 2013

The Barong

75cm x 65cm Spray paint on plastic trash. 2013

Rarung - The Dance of Anger

104cm x 136cm Permamnent ink on plastic trash. 2012

Rerajahan Series

35cm x 50cm Permanent ink on plastic trash. 2013

Rajah Number 1 Siwanatharaja

Sangkala [Time] Eternal Combat

Baris Tunggal - The Balinese Warrior Dance 65cm x 75cm Spray paint on plastic trash. 2012

Made Bayak Muliana Gianyar, 27 June 1980 Education

ISI Denpasar ~ 1999-2005 (Indonesian Institute of Art, Denpasar Bali) SMSRN Denpasar ~ 1996-1999 (Denpasar High School of Art) Residence Br. Penaka, Tampaksiring, Gianyar Bali 80552 Address Br. Sakih, Guwang, Sukawati Gianyar Bali 80582 p. +62 361 299767 / m. +628174763566

Art Project

Echo Mural with akarumput and community around Bali 30 July - 2 August 2011. Sound for Nature II a collaborative Visual art and music for benefit programs for saving Borneo Orangutan with NGO WALHI and SAWITWATCH 17 December 2011 at Seamens Bar Sanur Bali. Workshop for Kids with Sumatran Orangutan Society school project at Australian International School, Kerobokan Bali, 23 April 2012. Bali Urban Farming Mural Project at Bali International School, May 2012.

Artist in Resident 2004 Uncensored at Ruang Rupa, artist initiative art space Jakarta 2006 Art Forward at Sanggar Luhur Sudjana Kerton, Bandung Indonesia.

Solo Exhibition 2008 Art For Artists Sake Solo Exhibition at Sika Gallery Ubud Bali. 2010 Art As a Medium for Change collaborate multimedia exhibition at Art Café Seminyak Kuta Bali. 2011 Upeti Untuk Macan Asia (Tribute To Asean Tiger) paintings & music party solo exhibition for Geekssmile’s second album art project at Serambi Art Antida. 2012 Artists Don’t Lie solo exhibition at Griya Santrian Gallery Sanur Bali.

Plasticology at Gardenia Boutique Guest House & Coffee Shop, Mertasari Beach, Sanur Bali 2013 Plasticology Reissue at Ary’s Warung, Ubud Plasticology :: A Tale From The Island of The Gods at Lestari Gallery - Seminyak Bali

Selected Group Exhibition

2013 The Hidden Code at Mayya Gallery, Frankfurt German. Louis Vuitton Sovereign Art Prize at Espace Louis Vuitton, Marina Bay, Singapore. 2012 Arm Our Family is a self curation exhibition at Warung Yayaa Sanur Bali O’Neill 60 Years of Innovation a Global Art Tour curatted by Monster Children at Mantra, Petitenget. 2011 Political Art from Far East Tour-exhibition work in Polandia Biennale in Hanover, German. 2010 Do it / Du it exhibition at Pozan Biennale September in Polandia. 2007 Neo-Nation, Jogjakarta Biennale 2007 Exhibition at Taman Budaya Jogjakarta. 2005 Waspada!! Exhibition at CCF (Centre Culture of France) Jakarta. 2005 Taxu Art Clinic Urban / Culture CP International Biennale 2005 at Indonesian Bank Museum Jakarta 2005. 2002 Continued Development An uutdoor installation exhibition at International Earth Conference at Nusa Dua Beach Bali. 2001 Nokia Art Award at National Files Museum Jakarta 2000 Nokia Art Award at National Museum Jakarta

Awards 2000 Top 20 Finalist of Nokia Art Award 2000 Deparsenibud Award pantings contest. 2001 Top 20 Finalist of Nokia Art Award 2001. 2010 20 Nominations Bazaar Art Award at The The Ritz Carlton Pacific Place Jakarta, Indonesia. 2011 Finalist of e-Idea Competition: Sustainable Design Category and Project Presentation at British Council Indonesia. 2012 Youth Change Makers Summit and Project Presentation at Asia-Africa and Indonesia Menggugat Building In Bandung, West Java. 2013 Louis Vuitton Sovereign Art Prize Finalist

Celuluk Leak From Bali

135cm x 87cm Permanent ink on plastic trash. 2013


Art Space & Management

Made bayak plasticology lestari gallery  
Made bayak plasticology lestari gallery  

Made Bayak's solo paintings exhibition at Lestari Gallery, Seminyak Bali: "Plasticology :: A Tale from The Island of The Gods"