Soemantri Widagdo, 2008

Soemantri was born and raised in Java, Indonesia. In 1983 he immigrated to the United States to pursue advanced studies in Chemical Engineering.

His interest in Balinese Art started with a visit to Bali in 1994, where he met Mr. A.A. Gde Ngurah Muning, the curator of the Puri Lukisan Museum in Ubud, Bali. Muning introduced him to five painters from three generations of artists of Bali: A.A. Gde Meregeg (1907-2001), Ida Bagus Made Poleng (1915-1999), I Wayan Gedot (1920-2001), A.A. Gde Raka Pudja (b. 1930), and I Nyoman Kayun (b. 1945 ).

Since then, he has been a student, patron and an avid collector of Balinese Art. He has been active as the US liaison for the Puri Lukisan Museum. In 2001, he helped organize a posthumous exhibition to honor the Balinese Maestro: Ida Bagus Made, which was held at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. In 2008, he organized the Ida Bagus Made and the Pitamaha exhibitions to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Puri Lukisan Museum. He is a coauthor of the exhibition catalog: “Ida Bagus Made – the Art of Devotion”

It is my intent to share my knowledge in Balinese Art and aesthetics to a wider audience. Art and life is one in Bali, for it is inseparable in the life of the Balinese. Balinese art is an active expression of their beliefs: an act of offering to their Gods, the giver, sustainer and destroyer of life.