Keliki — An Artists’ Village in Bali
I’ll admit it — the phrase “artists’ village in Bali” does not conjure up the best image.
Overweight women in flowing caftans, crystals, chanting, a dog-eared copy of Eat, Pray, Love on the bedside table, Peruvian flute music in the air. Not my personal cup of tea.
Well, Keliki was nothing like that.
As all guests of the Alam Sari do, I received a tour of the village. Keliki has preserved its unique style of painting for generations.
Putu, my guide, took me on a walk through the village, which began with a stroll through rice paddies.
The ducks get fed, the fields get cleaned up — it’s a win-win situation. (“The ducks are the vacuum cleaner,” Putu told me.)
At that point, we returned to the town and visited a home where artists lived.
A typical home in Bali is a series of buildings for different members of the family (large extended families live together), with a separate kitchen, places for working, temples to honor deceased family members, and altars with offerings. Life in Bali is intensely spiritual.
I did get to peek at their kitchen:
And then it became time to see their artwork.
The method of painting in Keliki has been intact for centuries, passed down through families.
The above painting took six months (!!) to complete.
Here’s a close-up:
The painting is done in several steps — first, drawing and outlining, then adding detail with pen and ink, and finishing with watercolor.
The painting below illustrates the steps:
The paintings in Keliki are absolutely beautiful. I wasn’t in the position to buy original artwork, but if you are, I highly recommend taking the time to visit Keliki. It’s a 20-minute ride or half-day walk from Ubud, and it will get you away from the overly touristed, marked-up galleries.
I’m glad I got to explore this little part of Bali that I would have otherwise overlooked!
My tour of Keliki was included with my complimentary stay at the Alam Sari. All opinions, as always, are my own.