In Memoriam Arie Smit

Arie Smit

Arie Smit loves Bali. His aesthetic traces and history on Balinese art play an important role. Artists and art patrons went into mourning when he passed away on 23rd of March 2016.

ITS–Arie Smit, an artist from Netherland, passed away on 23rd of March 2016, 08.30 p.m, when he was 99 years old.  Artists and art patrons condole over the loss of him. In Bali, Arie Smit—his complete name is Adrianus Wilhelmus Smith—is one of famous international artists who play prominent roles.

Arie Smit is the founder of Young Artists group in 1960 at Penestanan, Ubud. As an artist, he was also very supportive. He gave some painting tools and materials to young artists in Ubud, and he taught them to paint as well.

To the youth in Ubud, Arie Smit explained that notions of art can stem from anywhere, but the easiest inspiration comes from daily life. Hence, those teenagers painted around rice fields, temples, traditional markets, etc. Some of them become well known artists nowadays. They are I Ketut Soki, I Made Sinteg, I Nyoman Tjakra and many others.

Young Artist cautiously expanded to be a prominent artists group of Bali art world. This group does not refer to the traditional pattern of wayang (puppetry) as the senior artists did. The most dominant character is the bold playing of colour, especially bright colour, wider ideas about daily life with naïve style. This group had more members thanks to Arie Smit.

Arie Smit loves Bali very much. He has been living in Bali since 1956. He liked to socialize with local people. He loved to walk around the village and observed all traditional and religious ceremonies. He taught children and teenagers how to draw and paint. He used to visit young Balinese artists and discussed about their art works.

Arie Smit became a close friend of Pande Wayan Suteja Neka, one of art patrons in Bali and the founder of Neka Art Museum. In the beginning of 1970’s, Suteja Neka asked Arie Smit to live in his house. It shows how important the position and art works of Arie Smit, as a tribute, Suteja Neka built a pavilion for him and his works at Neka Art Museum. This pavilion showcases the history and art journey of Arie Smit, various achievements of forms, imagination and notions of him on his art works.

Most of Arie Smit’s art works depict Balinese daily life as subject matters, as well as figures of Balinese people, temples, rice fields, and traditional lifestyle. With his impressive touch, he brought his own style. His aesthetic character represented stiff forms and solid colour yet frequently uneven on his canvas. He had naïve style as well. He offered various styles and achievement, yet art lovers would always recognize the character of his art works.

Written by Don Dulang (Wayan Suardika)



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