A burst of Balinese colour is just what we need in this dismal weather – and artist Sinta Tantra has delivered exactly that with her mesmerising new commission, The Eccentricity of Zero.
Installed on 23 May in Holland Park, and free to experience until 4 November 2013, this is one of many public works for the British artist of Balinese descent who has had public works commissioned all over the world, including the London Olympics.
What’s so fascinating is that all of Sinta Tantra's pieces were in some way influenced by her time spent living in Bali. Here, we’re delighted to interview her about her latest exhibit, and discover exactly how the vibrant island of Bali manifests itself in her work.
Can you tell us more about your latest piece, The Eccentricity of Zero?
It’s a public art sculpture in Holland Park, London, for the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and the Royal British Society of Sculptors. The two organisations are working closely together on a three year collaborative project celebrating female sculptors in the arts. It's not the biggest project in terms of scale but it's definitely been the most interesting one because it’s the first time I've worked closely with a structural engineer. The sculpture consists of two circular coloured glass panels which people can walk through – it’s a fun and interactive piece with pools of coloured light on the ground that change as the sun rises and sets.
How were this work and your other pieces inspired by Bali?
I would say generally speaking all my work is Balinese inspired. My relationship to colour has been heavily influenced by my living in Bali. Colours seem to 'vibrate' or 'pop' out more there – it’s all to do with the geography and where the island sits on the equator. I try to bring similar colour dynamics into my work.
Which part of Bali do you/your parents hail from?
My father comes from a very small, very remote mountain village called 'Jangu', situated North East of the island in the province of Karangasem. My mother's family originally came from Java but migrated to the town of Tabanan, Bali in the early 1900's. It’s an interesting cultural mix - my father's side is Balinese Hindu whilst my mother's side is Balinese Muslim.
Do you still visit Bali?
Yes, I travel every year to visit friends and family. I work as an artist in London but for the last year or so have been developing projects in Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia namely Hong Kong and Korea. My dream would be to live part of the year in Bali and part of the year in London – as much as I love Europe, winters here can be long, dark and chilly!
Bali is known for its vibrant arts scene – particularly in the cultural capital Ubud. Is there anyone else in your family involved in the arts?
Yes, my sister is a scientist by day and a Balinese dancer by night! Balinese dancing is very expressive and quite angular using fingers, eyes and head movements to convey emotion and narrative. I like the ritualistic aspect of it too as it is an artistic medium steeped in religion and spirituality. I actually had some Balinese dancing lessons as a child but I was never any good at it - there are so many things to remember all at once.
You’ve had your works exhibited, and been commissioned all over the world (UK, America, Luxembourg, Australia, Netherlands, France, Algeria, Germany, Indonesia, China). Where else in the world would you like to see your work?
There are of course lots of places in the world that I would love to visit but as an artist exhibiting work, I'm more concerned about building individual relationships with people rather than seeing specific places as 'destinations'. It’s always such a honour to be invited internationally that you don't really mind which part of the world you are exhibiting in. As a holiday destination though, I hear that Bhutan is very beautiful and off the beaten track - ancient temples, landscapes, religious culture – perhaps this is what Bali was like many years ago.
Como Hotels were lucky enough to have you speak at one of their events recently. How were you involved, and what was it about their resorts that appealed?
I spoke of my art, my background as an artist; living in London and how my Balinese background has influenced my work. In terms of luxury, I don't think you can get more high-end than Como Shambala, Bali. I like the idea of total peace, relaxation and wellness.
What future projects can art-lovers look out for on their travels?
Well there are quite few, some confirmed and some in the pipeline both in the UK and abroad: an annual exhibition in Jakarta, Indonesia called i-CAD which opens this August -celebrating Indonesian artists and designers; an outdoor courtyard commission for Bristol's Royal Infirmary Hospital, UK scheduled for Spring 2014; a collaborative exhibition with sculptor and friend Nick Hornby, in Choi & Larger Gallery in Cologne, Germany which launches Summer 2014.
Many thanks to Sinta Tantra for allowing us to interview her, and replicate images of her works. To find out more about her art, go to http://sintatantra.com/