Emerging from Childhood

When Putu Eka Saputra walked into the room at my friend’s place, he looked like he was entering a boxing ring. His strapping body and sinewed hands were more like that of a well-trained fighter of unarmed combat than of an artist. But when he spoke, it was in whispers. The shyness was apparent due to his lack of knowledge of spoken English.

His father, Nyoman Pageh, egged Putu on to speak to me about his work and dreams to sell his paintings in Europe, which he considers to be the ultimate destination for all artists.

When Putu talks about his work, there is a hint of childlike innocence that disarms the listener and the staccato English sentences seem to flow like his paintings.

Asked about his technique, Putu replies that he is allergic to oil paint and therefore only uses acrylics. He says that inspiration comes from children for they are constant reminders of his childhood days in Campuhan, when the trees outnumbered the people. He talked about swimming in the river, climbing trees and celebrating Galungan. The decorations, food and new clothes ignited his passion for living. These external stimuli have prompted him to replicate the pictures of childhood in his mind onto canvas in an attempt to create lasting impressions for generations to come.

Since 1995, Putu’s paintings have been exhibited at numerous venues in Bali. Today he has received an order from a buyer in the United States and is busy. He believes children are truly a gift from God.

Putu wants to have an exhibition of his latest works sometime early next year. He hopes that his paintings will convey to viewers the essence or soul of mankind, which is the child.

His father, cousins and uncles are accomplished artists and sculptors who at times remain on the periphery of the art world.

Putu’s work is worth seeing and experiencing. Maybe one can find one’s lost childhood masked by the many hues of acrylic paint flowing across his canvases. (MU/BT)

Putu Eka Saputra can be contacted on 0813 37725181 and 0361 975433.

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