Saturday 20th September saw the launch of yet another major book on legendary Balinese artist I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, this time penned by six highly regarded experts on Balinese art and culture. Intrigued, we went along to the press conference at Puri Lukisan Museum in Ubud. - by Rio Helmi

The Puri Lukisan Museum, the original art museum of Ubud started in the early 1950s under the patronage of Ubud’s royal family of Puri Saren, has published a weighty tome:  Lempad of Bali, the Illuminating Line.

The need for, and significance of, a publication of this nature cannot be understated, as those close to Lempad were imminently aware.  As Bruce Carpenter pointed out, this book had always been one of the great wishes of the late I Gusti Made Sumung, Lempad’s son, and of the late John Darling, who was something of a Sumung protegé.


Museum Puri Lukisan's chief curator, Soemantri Widagdo

The works represented in The Illuminating Line, which is in fact a catalogue raisonné to accompany one of the most important exhibitions of Lempad’s art, are all of outstanding beauty and power.

Then there are the authors - all leading scholars in their fields - who undoubtedly did more than simply write their texts. It is impossible to imagine such a group of experts not significantly contributing ideas and information to this project. 

To begin with, John Darling’s long involvement with the Lempad family spanned decades, he practically lived with them. Indeed John Darling’s text is seminal to this book. Though his text is published posthumously, John’s contribution bringing Lempad to the world can not be underestimated, and the film Lempad of Bali that he made with Lorne Blair has become a classic.

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