Counter cul­ture

hellobali - - CONTENTS - • DEISHA TA­MAR

time wasters bucket list The art of be­ing idle

A NEW ART SPACE IN THE HEART OF UBUD OPENS IT DOORS TO THE PUBLIC AND IS READY TO REV­O­LU­TIONISE BALI’S ART SCENE IN A BIG WAY

Cata Odata, which means white heart in the old Ja­vanese lan­guage, is the brain­child of Ratna Odata and Dju­naidi Kenyut – two In­done­sian artists who bumped into each other in Surabaya.

“I was at this art sup­ply store and was just about to walk out the door with my things, when I stopped at this bul­letin board to read a flyer about an art ex­hi­bi­tion that was held by Kenyut. I asked the shop­keeper about it and he said I should ask the artist him­self, who ap­par­ently was sit­ting in the store as well. And so I did. That was how we started talk­ing, and then last year we came up with the idea of Cata Odata,” ex­plains Ratna.

The art space opened in June this year on Pen­es­tanan Street and oc­cu­pies a three­story build­ing, com­plete with a gallery, stu­dio and three bed­rooms for artist res­i­dence. Cata Odata is fo­cus­ing on artists from Bali and East Java, par­tic­u­larly Surabaya, Kenyut’s home­town, and they are cur­rently rep­re­sent­ing six artists, in­clud­ing Rio Saren, Romi Se­ti­awan, Imam Su­c­ahyo, and Anas Etan.

They are also in­volved in art projects at sev­eral other places in Bali, such as Par­adiso Ubud – a cinema, cul­tural cen­tre

and raw food restau­rant – in ad­di­tion to a fa­mous re­sort in Padang Bai.

Un­like other gal­leries or art spa­ces, Cata Odata doesn't just show­case works of art. Ratna and Kenyut try to build an al­ter­na­tive space for peo­ple to en­joy what's on show. “We want to build a space where peo­ple can just come and take plea­sure in what we have here with­out fear, and the artists are also wel­come to use our stu­dio down­stairs, just as long as they have a clear vi­sion of what they want to do,” ex­plains Ratna.

Ratna's and Kenyut's com­mit­ment to build­ing a com­mu­nity where var­i­ous artists can work to­gether with shared vi­sions and goals has al­ready been proven in their artist res­i­dency pro­gramme, where they would pair an in­ter­na­tional artist with a lo­cal artist to do a work­shop or project to­gether. Fur­ther­more, the guest artist could stay for free at Cata Odata's artist res­i­dence on the top floor, and be pro­vided with daily meals. This artist res­i­dency pro­gramme usu­ally lasts up to three months.

“Over the years, I've seen a lot of young artists who have big tal­ent and po­ten­tial. How­ever, be­cause of the gallery sys­tem to­day, which only cares about cap­i­tal or in­come, it's hard for th­ese young artists to re­ally get the ex­po­sure they need. That is why we want to build Cata Odata as a com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially through our artist res­i­dency pro­gram. We want to be a trend­set­ter, not a trend fol­lower,” adds Kenyut.

So far, they have in­vited artists from Canada and Korea to take part in the artist res­i­dency pro­gram. And this month, they will be work­ing with a dancer from Jakarta.

Ke­tut ex­plains that what makes Cata Odata spe­cial is that the space is also a place where peo­ple can learn from each other and ex­change their ex­pe­ri­ences.

“What makes our place re­ally unique though is that this is a home; this is our home. Both Kenyut and I lit­er­ally sleep here. This is the place where we live, cry and laugh. We have an emo­tional con­nec­tion to this place and to the artists we col­lab­o­rate with, be­cause when those artists come, they're com­ing to our house, not just some gallery. So there's that ex­tra emo­tional in­flu­ence here,” says Ratna.

Both Ratna and Kenyut have a strong art back­ground. Kenyut grad­u­ated from an art school in Surabaya called Seko­lah Me­nen­gah Seni Rupa, where he lived in an art stu­dio with other artists. “I re­ceived hands-on prac­ti­cal knowl­edge from the stu­dio where I lived, while the the­o­ret­i­cal knowl­edge I re­ceived from the school,” Kenyut rec­ol­lects.

Ratna mean­while has a de­gree in pro­fes­sional theatre set de­sign and per­form­ing arts man­age­ment. She chose theatre be­cause she sees it as a melt­ing pot for art, where all forms of art mesh to­gether and it is not just about one per­son.

Although they run Cata Odata to­gether, Ratna and Kenyut still work on their own per­sonal projects from time to time. Ratna was in­volved in a theatre project in Jakarta ti­tled “Daun Ter­akhir” last Novem­ber, where she also asked one lo­cal Ba­li­nese artist, Made Bayak, to fea­ture his works of art in the set de­sign. Kenyut was also re­cently in­volved in the first Langkawi Art Bi­en­nale in Langkawi, Malaysia, last Oc­to­ber.

“But again, even with our in­di­vid­ual projects, we still pri­ori­tise Cata Odata. Be­cause this place can only ex­ist through the com­mu­nity and the peo­ple who sup­port us,” adds Ratna.

Cata Odata

Jl. Pen­es­tanan Kelod, Ubud (op­po­site from Pura Dalem Pen­es­tanan) For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion con­tact: catao­data@gmail.com

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