Art and ritual are as natural to the Balinese as the breath of life itself. Technically speaking, the words ‘art’ and ‘artist’ are not found in the Balinese language, and this reflects just how universally involved the Balinese people are with at least one form of aesthetic expression.
“Balinese people are born to do art,” Tjok Agung Pemayun says. Bold, visionary, and very vocal, Tjok Agung runs a batik company called Batik Pejeng. Batik is relatively new to Bali, having originated from Java. For Batik Pejeng, Tjok Agung personally designs every handmade piece, focussing on interconnecting geometric patterns. Using dyes from locally grown indigo and pomegranate plants, his creations are exported to the U.S. and other parts of the world.
Tjok Agung wasn’t always a batik designer. In fact, he was previously a financial controller, but decided to go into the business of creating batik after the 2002 Bali bombings left many locals, especially the women, without jobs. Art and culture became a natural way for Tjok Agung to create work opportunities for his community. “Ultimately, art and tradition are about the people,” he says.
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