Painting by 

I Wayan Karja 

at Tjampuhan Hotel

Paintings by Wayan Karja

1-30 September 1992


Campuhan, Ubud, Bali. 

Wayan Karja was born in Penestanan Kaja, UBUD, BALI. His interest in art began at a young age and by the time he was 5 years old, he was already doing oil paintings on his own. A keen observer of nature, the motivation for his painting came from his love of the tropical foliage around him, the lush jungle vegetation, and flowers. Later in his childhood, his father worked with him to teach him more about painting and encouraged him by making art materials and supplies available. Karja attended and graduated from SMSR, the High School of Fine Art in Denpasar, where he learned to paint in the traditional Ubud Style. He won the award for the best student at the end of his third year there.

By now, seriously committed to becoming an artist but wanting to express his own voice, Karja enrolled in the Fine Art and Design Department at Udayana University in Denpasar. At this point, through the study of art history, Karja came under the influence of Western artists and his work took a major change in direction. Inspired by such artists as Monet, Van Gogh, and Matisse, he started incorporating elements of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism into his work.

Upon graduating from the University in 1990, Karja began teaching Art and Art Appreciation at the High School for Fine Art in Ubud. Around the same time, he built and opened the Santra Putra Art Studio & Gallery in the Penestanan rice fields. Here he has been painting and exhibiting his work surrounded by the nature he loves. Terraced rice fields at the edge of the jungle, gardens full of brilliant red hibiscus, delicate lavender orchids, and fragrant frangipani, all connected by a series of lily ponds.

Karja is both a landscape and figurative painter and his paintings have many sources of inspiration: his gardens, the rice fields, temples, beaches, water, and Balinese dancers to name a few. Very much an individual, his work depicts his personal view of the subject he paints.

A deeply spiritual person, Karja's art acknowledges the mind/body/spirit connection. His paintings of waterlily ponds are not just about waterlily ponds but about waterlily ponds. They are infused with calmness and serenity. They shimmer and glow with sunlight. He celebrates their existence and his connection to them as having come from the same source.

Karja's paintings of Balinese Dancers clearly demonstrate his enchantment with his subject. Using a harmonious array of colors and broad sweeping brushstrokes, these paintings are alive with rhythm and movement.

They are truly gestural in the tradition of Willem de Kooning, a painter whom Karja admires. These figures are so full of life and motion that you feel as if they might step right out of the canvas and give you a private performance. 

Wayan paints with the spirit of the best Balinese art. His work reflects "Taksu" Art with spirit. David Cooper, 1992.