Ubud Diary presents the first solo exhibition of I Ketut Gelgel, one of the senior painters recently in Ubud.
This first solo exhibition is very meaningful for I Ketut Gelgel, because over the decades he has painted many paintings since the 1960s but never has a solo exhibition eventually his paintings are collected by many galleries and museums, even the Queen Elizabeth II of England have his painting in the palace collected in 1973.
I Ketut Gelgel is one of the senior painter recently in Ubud. He is the son-in-law of I Wayan Gedot, one of the master painters in Ubud. His wife, Ni Made Pastini, is also a painter and a daughter of I Wayan Gedot. For more than 25 years he learn to paint from I Wayan Gedot, where he later also met Rudolf Bonnet who also guiding I Wayan Gedot through the Ubud Painters Group (Golongan Pelukis Ubud). At first Rudolf Bonnet visited I Wayan Gedot for a meeting, he accidentally met Gelgel and immediately liked Gelgel's paintings. Rudolf Bonnet then collected Gelgel’s paintings and took it to Puri Lukisan Museum. After that, Gelgel has been regularly visiting the Puri Lukisan Museum to discuss his paintings with Bonnet from 10 am to 3 pm.
Not only through Gedot and Bonnet, Gelgel also received many painting lessons from the environment and other Maestro painters in Ubud such as Ida Bagus Made Poleng, where he often visited Ida Bagus Made Poleng's house to ask questions about objects, techniques and how to paint. Nevertheless, Gelgel's own life journey is the most important thing in the process of his work. Gelgel’s paintings often depict his childhood life, a struggle that he will never forget.
I Ketut Gelgel was born in Pengosekan, Ubud in 1944. He was given the name “Gelgel” because his mother gave birth to him three days after returning from the Odalan ceremony at Gelgel Temple, Klungkung, Bali. In a very young age, his mother passed away so his father and grandmother have to take care of him. Gelgel's father, I Ketut Merta, who also a priest, always encouraged Gelgel to become a painter so that he could paint his mother on canvas even though at that time he was still very young and could not paint.
Gelgel's passion for painting was witnessed by the author, who has visited him several times since
2018 after completing cataract surgery. I Ketut Gelgel is always in front of the painting when at home, day and night he always paints. His paintings are an inseparable part of his life, which always makes him happy to see the mother figure in his paintings. He has never forgotten the figure of a mother who means a lot to him. Not only the figure of his mother, he also put himself there as a small child who always accompanies his mother.
Currently in his old age, Gelgel is accompanied by his mother-in-law who he continues to care for with all his heart along with his children and grandchildren. A family that means a lot to him. Not all of his children and grandchildren continue to paint, but his third child, I Nyoman Gede Darmawan (Kwek) and his grandson Ni Putu Kiti, continue to paint until now.
Richard Nixon Tambalo
Manager & Curator of Ubud Diary