When we visited Erlinda’s cousin Tessie in Ubud, Bali, we bought a painting that depicts the island’s religious ceremonies. The painting is by Made Sarma, a friend of Tessie’s whom we also befriended.
The day after buying Made’s painting, we visited a museum displaying a painting with a much different take on Bali’s ceremonial life. Its toppling tower suggested a satire rather than a celebration of island culture.
Now that we’re home in the States and living with Made’s painting, I’ve changed my mind about the museum’s version. Its tower isn’t toppling from decay; it’s riding upon an enormous dragon being drawn in procession. The painting is celebratory after all.
The museum’s painting bursts with energy, while our painting conveys the serenity of the Japanese kimonos Made learned to paint in Kyoto. His kimono training reveals itself in his painting’s background of forests, rice terraces, mountains, and clouds—especially the clouds.