Constellations of Being - Sinta Tantra Exhibition

By vira
8/11/2022

ISA Art presents an exhibition featuring the new series of work by Sinta Tantra, “Constellations of Being”. The series tells the story of the UK-based artist’s family history. She started interviewing her Balinese mother and father since before the pandemic and continued to work on the paintings in the last 2,5 years.

From the interview, Sinta learned a lot about her parents and grandparents from both sides. Their life was not easy but there were quite many sweet memories as well. In three of her paintings, “Taksu”, “Taman Ujung” and “Two Cousins (Batu Bata)”, Sinta told the story about her great grandfather who was one of the sculptors of Taman Ujung Water Palace. He was a great artist but he got paid with a pomelo tree instead of money, which was probably a common practice back then.

"Two Cousins (Batu Bata)"
"Taksu (A Reincarnation)"

She expressed her adoration to her paternal grandmother, who was known to be the prettiest girl in the village, in a painting titled “Indah Ripon (Black Magic)”. The grandmother admitted that she had black magic and was put under a spell in marrying her husband, Sinta’s grandfather. In the interview video, Sinta’s father said that Sinta looks and works hard just like her.

In “Remben (Purusa)”, Sinta tells the story about her paternal grandfather who inherited everything in the family but lost it all to his gambling addiction in just one dramatic night. From then on, the grandmother had to work super hard to support their family. The painting is predominated in dark colours, symbolising the dark side of the grandfather.

"Remben (Purusa)"
L to R: "Taman Ujung", "Indah Ripon (Black Magic)", "Harsiam (Broken Eggs)"

Sinta reflected the roles of women of Bali and Indonesia in general that are underrepresented and continue to be confined in to conservative rules. As an artist, she is often expected to create works of typical Asian women. She is challenging the stereotypes and creates artworks the way she likes it. She is known for her fascination with colour and composition, and used a lot of geometric forms. Not quite the stereotype of artworks that many would expect from a Balinese descent. Having that said, in the new series Sinta experimented with some figurative elements, inspired by the Balinese artist Nyoman Lempad. This was one of the things that she discussed with curator Sadiah Boonstra, who was involved since the ideation stage of the series.

Sinta created her paintings on linen with tempera paints and 24 carat gold leaf. Gold absorbs light, whilst reflects and shines, continually shifting as the light fades from day to night, which allows for shifting meanings experienced by viewers. The exhibition is displayed with her installation inspired by Lee Ufan, which includes Balinese cut rocks, flowers, gold glitters, a picture of Mount Agung and pomelo fruits.

“Constellations of Being” is running until 30 September 2022 at ISA Art & Design gallery in Wisma 46 Kota BNI, Jakarta.

"Constellations of Being 1, 2, & 3"
L to R: Deborah Iskandar of ISA Art & Design, Sinta Tantra, Sadiah Boostra

Also read: Sinta Tantra on Designing iD's Front Cover

<em>Sinta’s work on the cover of Indonesia Design’s 14<sup>th</sup> Anniversary Edition, 2017.</em>

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