Keliki Village and Its Unique Art of Painting

Keliki Village, located in Gianyar Regency, Bali, is a hidden gem that offers a unique and diverse tourism experience. This village combines stunning natural beauty, a strong religious way of life, and beautiful traditional painting.

Oct 13, 2023 - 06:44
Sep 27, 2023 - 13:27
Keliki Village and Its Unique Art of Painting
Bali Nguni Boat (Photo Source: Pujangga Nagari Nusantara Channel)

Keliki Village, located in Gianyar Regency, Bali, is a hidden gem that offers a unique and diverse tourism experience. This village combines stunning natural beauty, a strong religious way of life, and beautiful traditional painting.

It is said that in ancient times, the area stretching from Taro Village to Campuhan Ubud, surrounded by rivers on both sides, was a dense forest. During this period, Rsi Markandya traveled from Sarwada Village (now Taro Village) to Payangan Village through Puakan Village. During his journey, he rested at Masceti Payangan Temple and designed a farming system that would later be inherited in Bali.

On his way south, he meditated and built Puncak Payogan Temple. Later, the journey continued eastward to Campuhan, where two rivers, Wos and Payangan, met. At this location, he established Gunung Lebah Campuhan Ubud Temple.

After that, he journeyed north, reaching a narrow hill area resembling black ants, which is now known as Bangkiang Sidem. There, he founded Jemeng Temple, which is now located in Sebali Village.

Continuing northward, Rsi Markandya traveled through a dense forest of castor oil plants and saw a flickering light in the distance. Upon investigation, he discovered that the light came from a burning castor oil seed. This place is now home to Ratu Lingsir Temple, situated in Keliki Village. The area, abundant with castor oil plants, was named Pajarakan Village, which is now known as Keliki Village.

Keliki Village is situated in the highlands of Bali, offering visitors breathtaking views of green rice fields, lush hills, and flowing rivers. It's a perfect place for leisurely walks or cycling while enjoying the natural beauty.

Keliki Village Cemetery (Photo Source: Pujangga Nagari Nusantara Channel)

The people of Keliki Village are deeply religious, and religious ceremonies are an integral part of their daily life. Visitors may have the opportunity to attend religious ceremonies, such as offerings at temples, religious processions, or religious dances. This is a great way to experience the religious and spiritual life of Bali.

It's important to remember that when attending religious ceremonies, visitors should respect local rules and etiquette. This includes dressing modestly, not disrupting the processions, and following the guidance of local residents or ceremony leaders. By respecting these traditions and religious beliefs, we can enrich our travel experience in Keliki Village and appreciate the deep cultural richness of Bali.

The art of painting in Keliki Village is one of the most prominent and famous aspects of this village. Keliki-style painting is similar to the Pitamaha style, better known as Ubud-style painting, and emerged as a response to the rapid growth of tourism in Bali. Keliki-style painting has its own unique characteristics in terms of artistic style, combining various elements from other painting styles like Ubud and Batuan. This is reflected in the choice of themes, often depicting daily life such as ceremonies, markets, farming activities, performing arts, and more. In terms of technique, Keliki artists use wet watercolor on paper, following the traditional Balinese painting style, especially Ubud and Batuan styles.

Keliki-style painting tends to be relatively small in size, often referred to as miniatures or postcard-sized paintings, which is its distinctive feature. Keliki's artistic style has unique characteristics and qualities related to ideas, themes, and visual expressions that give each artwork its specific identity. This is also supported by special techniques that give it its distinctive quality, making it recognizable as a particular artistic style.

Keliki paintings are renowned for the miniature techniques used in each artwork. Keliki artists create highly detailed and intricate works of art using natural watercolor paints. They often depict complex scenes on a very small scale, creating astonishing artworks with incredible details.

Paintings From Keliki Village (Photo Source: Pujangga Nagari Nusantara Channel)

Most Keliki-style paintings adopt asymmetric compositions, although some artists also appreciate symmetrical compositions, especially when creating ornaments or decorations within their paintings.

Keliki paintings generally depict stories from Hindu epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata. These motifs include main characters like Rama, Sita, Arjuna, and others, as well as antagonistic figures like Ravana. Each painting has a deep meaning and story related to Hindu mythology.

Keliki artists use natural watercolor paints that they create themselves from materials like plants, roots, and other organic substances. They also use very fine and thin brushes to create intricate details in their paintings. The process of making natural paints and the materials used are essential parts of Keliki painting.

Keliki Village has several art galleries that showcase the works of local artists. Examples include Sanggar Dewata Keliki, Galeri Wayan Keliki, and Bali Paradise Gallery. These are excellent places to view various Keliki paintings and even purchase some original artworks as souvenirs.

Despite emerging in the late 1970s, Keliki-style painting has persisted to this day, despite facing various challenges, including events like the Bali bombings, cholera outbreaks, and terrorism issues. However, the reduction in the number of foreign tourists visiting Bali has negatively impacted the demand for Keliki paintings, both from art galleries and other art markets.

In addition to observing Keliki-style art, some artists in Keliki Village offer painting classes for visitors interested in trying their hand at traditional Balinese art. This is a great opportunity to learn Keliki's unique techniques from the experts.

Bali Nguni (Photo Source: Pujangga Nagari Nusantara Channel)

In the village, there is also a well-known restaurant called "Bali Nguni." This place offers a unique experience to visitors with a large bamboo boat located amidst rice fields. Additionally, Bali Nguni has a "Rumah Bali Nguni," which serves as an educational facility about traditional Balinese homes, complete with parahyangan (a shrine) and palemahan (various rooms, including a kitchen).

The owner, I Made Merta, also offers Keliki-style painting classes and Balinese dance classes for children. This place was established with the goal of promoting Balinese art and culture while providing a memorable dining experience amidst the green fields. It offers various interesting photo spots and facilities for children to play. Although initially targeting foreign tourists, the pandemic situation has shifted the focus of this tourist attraction to domestic tourists and the local community.