Pengosekan Artistic Lineage

Nestled in the heart of Bali, within the village of Pengosekan, located near the cultural centre of Ubud, we find the enduring legacy of the resilient family of artists associated with I Wayan Gedot. Their stories are not locked away in dusty books but rather breathe life into the present, where generations of Balinese painters are nurturing the artistic values of their ancestors while breaking geographical barriers, with their fame even reaching the British monarchy. In this place, familial ties are representations of mutual love and shared conviction, dedicated to preserving the family’s artistic heritage. It’s a setting that nurtures artistic expression, just as it did during the cultural resurgence of Bali in the Pita Maha period.
The threads of this living narrative are intimately intertwined with the influential Pita Maha movement, an artistically significant chapter in Balinese history that brought about a transformative shift in its artistic development. Among the honorary names of Pengosekan painters, including I Gusti Ketut Kobot, I Gusti Made Baret, Dewa Putu Mokoh, Dewa Nyoman Batuan, IGAK Murniasih, and Dewa Putu Sena, emerges the unique artistic dialect of I Wayan Gedot, a self-taught artist who built his proficiency through keen observation and hands-on experience.
I Wayan Gedot’s humble beginnings were marked by self-taught learning, his name often found prominence in the Dutch colonial showcases, particularly at the Batavia Kunstkring. His works often highlighted and invited peace into any scene, whether he depicted the foliage-riddled landscapes or the simple acts of village life. A cascade of tropical imagery—an array of plants, lively squirrels, monkeys, and birds—adorned his works. Gedot’s organic representation of everyday Balinese life brought a sense of warmth to his canvas. His artistry involved intricate brushstrokes that authentically embodied rural Balinese life. His seamless blend of nature and man, adorned with calming palettes, breathed life into his canvases, inspiring the following generations. These mundane yet eloquent themes deeply influenced his pupil and son-in-law, I Ketut Gelgel—a noteworthy artist who also happened to be married to Gedot’s daughter, Ni Made Pastini.
Gelgel initiated his artist’s journey when he became part of I Wayan Gedot’s family. Under Gedot’s watchful eye, Gelgel spent over two decades honing his craft. He embraced Gedot’s distinctive use of colour, learning to portray Bali’s traditional techniques on a canvas as if by magic. Gelgel’s tireless practice and observant nature helped shape who he was as an artist. His unique ability to handle colour and form made his work unforgettable. Gelgel met the Dutch artist Rudolf Bonnet during this period of artistic growth, a critical event that changed the trajectory of his artistic career. Bonnet, enticed by Gelgel’s budding talent, expedited Gelgel’s entrance into the prestigious Puri Lukisan Museum. This acknowledgement was exceptional, placing Gelgel’s work in the company of the most respected artists in Balinese history.
Gelgel’s love-filled marriage to Gedot’s daughter, Ni Made Pastini, entrenched him in the artistic legacy of Pengosekan. Pastini played a crucial role in preserving the artistic heritage of the family. She was known for her engagement with the Seniwati collective of Balinese women artists. Her role, while unseen, was a cornerstone of her husband’s illustrious career. Furthermore, Ni Made Pastini and Gelgel’s child, Nyoman Darmawan, continues to weave the narrative of their artistic heritage.
Raised in an environment rich with creativity, Darmawan was exposed to artistic expression at an early age. He drew inspiration from both his grandfather and father, and he developed a unique artistic approach during his studies at the Institute of Art Indonesia. His artwork melds together respect for divine power and the spiritual journey of procreation. While they are different in their significance, both aspects contribute to the overall narrative. Nyoman Darmawan honours his roots while exploring contemporary narratives. Showcasing his evolved path at the Nonfrasa gallery, he incorporates traditional techniques into modern dialogues. His children continue the family’s artistic lineage, preserving the past while contributing to an ever-adapting art form rooted in the timeless village of Pengosekan.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s royal visit in 1974 brought global attention to Pengosekan. The Queen visited this tiny village as part of an official state visit to Indonesia. The British monarch’s admiration for two Balinese paintings led to their acquisition during a previous visit by the British ambassador to Indonesia. These artworks were created by I Ketut Gelgel and I Nyoman Karsa and purchased directly from Mangku Made Gina’s house.
Today, Darmawan paints a legacy that acknowledges its roots yet also strives to narrate modern tales. His children—Putu Kiti Muliadewi, Kadek Agustina, and Komang Ayu Diah Purnamadewi—are continuing the family’s artistic lineage by expressing themselves in their unique ways.

The artistically inclined families of Pengosekan carry a rich heritage of art that respects their traditions while embracing and incorporating present-day perspectives. This journey is the essence of A Brush with Tradition: a story that seamlessly threads together episodes of history, culture, and art that continue to shape the fascinating narrative of Balinese and global art history.