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CDU Art Collection and Art Gallery

TAKSU: the art of Bali

Recent gifts to the CDU Art Collection
Taksu exhibition thumbnail

For the first time, Darwin audiences can view the diversity and splendour of Balinese art in an exhibition that will open to the public at Charles Darwin University (CDU) Art Gallery on Thursday, 24 October.

Taksu: The Art of Bali – Recent Gifts to the CDU Art Collection profiles recent gifts to CDU by two of Australia’s most prominent collectors and connoisseurs of Balinese art, Christopher Hill (1944-2014) and Michael Abbott AO QC. Highlights include early 20th century sculpture, ceremonial textiles and painted temple cloths, performance masks, and shadow puppets and paintings, that demonstrate the inextricable links between Balinese ceremonial life and creativity. 

Acting Curator Kellie Joswig said the Taksu: Art of Bali exhibition continued the long-held tradition at CDU Art Gallery of creating events that interrogated the meaning of art in the context of the cultures in which it was made.

“We are delighted and very grateful to the donors of these works for providing the CDU Art Collection and Art Gallery with the opportunity to preserve and display such significant and stunning artworks,” Ms Joswig said.

Enhancing CDU’s collection of works from the South-east Asian region, the first art from Bali was acquired in 2016 when 30 works were gifted by the family of avid art collector, curator and scholar Christopher Hill. Among them were three paintings by esteemed artist and healer I Ketut Liyer, who gained international celebrity when a character in the popular film Eat, Pray, Love was based on him.  

A further 20 works were gifted in 2018 from the collection of Michael Abbott AO QC, including a keris (ceremonial dagger) with an elaborate carved sheath and stand, and a selection of rare masks worn in dance drama performances and sculptures that depict fantastic beasts and mythical animals.

A full set of vintage shadow puppets, known as wayang kulit, was also gifted, featuring characters and celestial weapons from the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabarata, as well as from other traditional Balinese stories.

The exhibition is curated by Kellie Joswig and Dr Joanna Barrkman and also features loans from private collections, the Art Gallery of South Australia and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

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