BICULTURALISM'S INFLUENCE ON THE VISUAL CULTURE OF SOUTHEAST

Biculturalism is an integral part in analyzing the contemporary and modern artwork of Southeast Asia.Regardless of the country, every part of Southeast Asia has its own history with a complex timeline of western influences that have an impact on the style of each country's art.This essay will focus mainly on Bali in looking specifically at how western influences have shaped the visual style that has since become identifiably specific to Southeast Asian artists in these two countries.There are several various ways that the National identity of these countries in relation to its historical colonial origin have, throughout history, influenced artists in both the content and style of their art but this essay will be focusing on three specific categories of influence: visiting western mentors of the visual arts, the consumer tourist market and its demand on specific pieces of art in Southeast Asia, as well as specific artists and their struggle for their own national identity.
Looking at art in Southeast Asia in the twentieth century, one begins to notice a development of technique and style, specifically in Bali, around the nineteen thirties.This has been attributed to the influence of visiting artists, namely Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet, both of whom "made their homes in Bali in the late 1920's" (Geertz, 6) .Prior to Spies' and Bonnet's arrival in it becomes difficult to trace back the styles found in the modern and contemporary art of Bali.If one were to compare the traditional paintings found in Bali to the works made in the nineteen thirties and thereafter one would clearly see a difference in style and technique.In the traditional paintings discussed by Geertz one sees "stiff figures stand[ing] against white backgrounds…There is no differentiation between foreground and background; all the figures are on one plane" whereas the paintings made in Bali in the nineteen thirties…

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