Art is part of my being. Always has been. As a child I was drawn to the workshops of all the fabulous painters who were able to bring my culture to life with a piece of canvas, a few brushes and some paint. Art got under my skin and it stayed. My fascination and passion for the Arts, in particular the art of painting developed into what I chose to be in life: A collector, protector and developer of the Arts.
After I saw the collections of The Puri Lukisan Museum and The Neka Museum I knew that my future was determined. I was fortunate in buying and selling paintings and starting to collect. That must have been around 1980. I trained myself in seeking paintings that moved me, paintings I really connected to and that reflected the depth and sensitivity of the artist’s soul. I always felt a spiritual connection to the art I bought.
The result of my collecting passion is now on display in the Museum that carries my name: Museum Seni Agung Rai / Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) and includes works not only by leading Balinese artists like Ida Bagus Made Poleng, AA Gede Sobrat, I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, I Gusti Ketut Kodo, AA Gde Meregeg and Nyoman Meja, but by artists from all over the Indonesian archipelago. You will find renowned names as Affandi, Sudjono, Srihadi Soedarsono, Raden Saleh and many others, but also work of upcoming masters I put my faith in like Putu Wirantawan. Since the beginning of the 20th century the culture and natural beauty of Bali moved and inspired numerous foreign artists to produce great works of art. Some of them stayed for a few months, others spent their entire life on the island. The ARMA collection includes works by Rudolph Bonnet, Arie Smit, Le Majeur de Merpres, Willem Dooijewaard, Willem Hofker, Hans Snel and Donald Friend. Walter Spies was a visionary who build bridges between The Western and Balinese culture and has therefore a special place in our collection.
To guarantee and sustain its continuity, the Museum is managed by The ARMA Foundation. The funds raised by the Foundation (including your welcome contribution) are used to contribute to our efforts in treasuring, promoting and developing the Arts and Culture, not only of Bali, but of all Indonesia. For me, what has been accomplished up till now is just a beginning. My dream of continuously being able to contribute in preserving and growing the art of Bali. In particular of Ubud, is still very much alive. I am delighted that your visit to ARMA helps you to share my dream with me. May Ubud remain the artistic centre of Bali for generations to come.
Finally, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to all who have supported me in the establishment of ARMA. Thank you for your ideas, commitment and loyalty to the ARMA cause. Praise and prayers of thanks to Almighty God Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa, because it is only by God’s grace that what we envisioned has been realized today.
Om Santi Santi Santi Om
Ubud, March 2015
Founder of ARMA