Brave New World or Brave the World?

 It’s happened!   NFT artwork now has a Bali epicenter at Legian-based Superlative Gallery. We’re talking about a physical, or “offline” gallery serving as a base and connection to the blockchain realm of Non Fungible Token collectibles. This startup offers a platform for Indonesian artists and musicians, putting their work instantly within the reach of the world’s investors and art lovers.

Launching their gallery with real-time talks and other events during January, Superlative is the brainchild of illustrator Arif Wijaksana, who sees huge potential for this medium, and encourages Indonesian artists to experiment with the process of creating NFTs. Enquiries into how long the pop-up location will be at Jalan Legian 99, are unanswered at press time. Displays there (large digital frame setups) look enticing and fun.

If you’ve been to a local non-air-conditioned art museum, you’ve likely cringed when discovering a moldy Walter Spies canvas or a rapidly fading Lempad drawing. In NFTs, we may see today’s Indonesian artists get their art on display without one nanosecond of deterioration.

I’ll leave it to others to judge if NFTs are really a good investment, chewing up valuable energy resources, or if the practice is not actually protecting artists. Opinion about this abounds on the internet, but for sure this is an industry in its infancy and various kinks and bugs will likely reveal themselves and beg to be worked out.

The group’s on Instagram and at Find artwork online in a veritable terracotta army of figurative artworks here:



34,000 art lovers can’t be wrong. The Indonesian watercolor painting community, KOLCAI, boasts membership well over that number, including artists, teachers, and collectors. For their annual exhibition, Awaken, curator Efix Mulyadi selected 161 paintings from a massive number of international and Indonesian artists’ entries. All works are in watercolor, a deceptively difficult medium.

Detail of YayatLesmana’s commentary on CoVid, “Smile Good” (watercolor, 2021) Courtesy Galeri Nasional

Awaken is an absolutely super exhibition, aided by Jakarta’s Galeri Nasional website.   Check out the overview, but select any work to change to impressive high resolution. Online now at



Add art to your travels! As countries are settling into more predictable visitor entry requirements, it is possible to get back into regional art tourism this year. While major art destinations like Taiwan and Hong Kong are presently allowing only legal residents to enter, their big art fairs will offer the world a major online presence.

Why do these big art shows matter?   There’s big money spent on making them attractive happenings. It’s not just for press and wealthy collectors.

Some dealers will ship a massive sculpture to an event such as Art Basel Hong Kong, already knowing that a museum has spoken for it; but the buzz garnered from such a display in the massive convention center, is worth every dollar for prestige gained.   Every level of visitor can see thousands of blue chip works under one roof, amidst a party atmosphere, before these are sold and shipped off to all manner of museums, mansions, and vaults.

Art event planners have now had two years of practice in creating great websites for remotely viewing galleries, installations, and individual artworks. This year, log onto the splashiest images and widest selection of inclusive performances and artist talks. With low personal attendance, very little goes behind closed doors now. Nose around these websites, if you can’t enter the countries, and you may be blown away by the quality of virtual gallery hopping.

Regional hot event, Affordable Art Fair Singapore runs February 25 – 27, but you can already purchase work online by visiting

Big-ticket international event Art Basel Hong Kong and more Asia-centric Art Central will happen in the same place, the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, March 24 – 26 and 23 -26, respectively.   Impossible to attend in person?   Hong Kong is closed to all but returning residents, who must put in a punishing 3 weeks of hotel quarantine.   Bali-bound can tune in to the running series of online events. Art Basel regularly updates:

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Hot ticket! The world’s top curators, critics, and art lovers will be flocking to Kassel, Germany, for the once-every-five-years Documenta, June 18 – September 25, when the city becomes a kunsthalle.   Jakarta’s own Ruangrupa art collective has been working for over a year as the Director of Documenta Fifteen, and their theme of lumbung (communal rice barn) describes a curatorial focus on values such as shared resources and equal allocation of time and attention.

See the world of the white cube joyously infiltrated by artivists (artist who are activists), grass-roots organizations, and principled art movements. This highly unusual and very egalitarian exhibition is already creating art world history, made by Indonesia!

Show support and discover the thrill of seeing Indonesian curators take the international spotlight. Germany has plenty of traveler restrictions in terms of testing and proof of vaccination, but they update their entry and quarantine requirements regularly. This is a reliable site which leads to correct governmental regulations:

Check out Ruangrupa’s attendant lecture series that have been going on for months and will continue. Next one is scheduled for 10 February.



Bangkok Art Biennale continues through February, with quite a few great online events.



Are you an artist seeking art competitions and exhibition opportunities? You’ll feast at CaFE (Call For Entry)

Many of what’s listed at CaFE are for Americans only, but a lot of the shows are open to entrants from any nation.   Good luck!


There are still some great ongoing (and easy-going) painting classes in the Canggu and Ubud venues of Geed, the prolific young artist whose work seems to be all over the island.

And check out the January 29 Linocut printmaking workshop from (Instagram).


By Renee Melchert Thorpe

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