Keduanya make me gila (Both of them make me crazy)
Acrylic on Canvas, 152 x 101 cm

I GAK Murniasih’s vision is often labelled as disturbing and deeply biographical, yet there is also humor and pathos that we can see throughout her paintings. Born in Tabanan Bali, Murni’s prolific artistic career was cut short due her illness and subsquently death in 2006.

Acrylic on Canvas, 200 x 50 cm

A mostly self-taught artist, Murni was not particularly constraint by academic conventions in her painting. While she also learnt her technique through her mentor, I Dewa Putu Mokoh yet she developed her own style that marked her as one of the important women artists in Indonesia. Both her artistic style and her willingness to tackle difficult subject matter such as pleasure and sexuality, has inspired other young female Balinese artists to pursue a career in visual arts.

In my opinion, if my paintings happened to touch on so-called taboo subjects, why should I be ashamed? I don’t want to place any limits on the creative process

I gusti Ayu Kadek Murniasih

Murni’s art is profoundly tied to her tragic, yet courageous life. Born into poverty in Tabanan, Bali, in 1966, she suffered sexual abuse as a young girl, worked as a domestic worker at age 10, divorced her husband despite allegedly being the first woman to do so in Bali, fought and eventually lost a battle with ovarian cancer just before turning 40. Yet, her art brimmed with unhinged creativity and imagination. In the mid-1990s, Murni shocked the Balinese art world through her bold depictions of the female body, sensuality, and the depths of her subconscious—unwittingly breaking social mores and taboos in Bali.