Issue 11
Monday, 04 July 2016
Charles Darwin University
Scholar, art collector and curator Christopher Hill in 2014. Photographer: Rob Fyfe
Scholar, art collector and curator Christopher Hill in 2014. Photographer: Rob Fyfe

Bali art donation honours scholar’s memory

By Katie Weiss

The first Balinese artworks to be donated to the Charles Darwin University Art Collection honours the memory of an avid art collector, curator and scholar.

The 30 artworks were collected by the late Christopher Hill from Western Australia and span three generations of Balinese artists.

CDU Art Collection and Art Gallery Curator Joanna Barrkman said the artworks dated back to the 1930s and ranged from traditional styles of painting on ceremonial temple cloths and Chinese ink on paper, to modern styles of acrylic and paint on canvas.

Several of the donated paintings were by artist and healer I Ketut Liyer, who gained international celebrity when a character in the highly popular “Eat, Pray, Love” memoir and film adaptation was based on him.

“Bali is a major tourist destination for many Territorians and is rich in culture and artistic heritage,” Ms Barrkman said.

“The 30 artworks that form the Christopher and Mary Hill Collection will enable us to reflect on and learn about Balinese art.”

She said the Collection exhibited the diversity of art styles across various regions of Bali, such as Ubud, Kamasan and Bantuan.

Some works depict historically significant events shared by both Australians and the Balinese, including a painting of the aftermath of the 2002 Bali bombings by late artist I Dewa Putu Mokoh.

“This series of works depicts aspects of continuity and change from the sacred to the profane,” Ms Barrkman said.

She said many of the artworks featured in Mr Hill’s 2006 publication, “Survival and Change: Three Generations of Balinese Painters”, published by the Australian National University.

Works by one of the most influential and well-known artists of post-1945 Bantuan, the late I Wayan Rajin, also appear in the series.

The donation was made by Mary Hill and her children, Joanna and John, in memory of her late husband.