Jumat, Mei 15, 2009

Craft Industry Sinking Behind Other Countries

“Give a Balinese man a piece of wood and he will create a beautiful carving or a statue. But don’t take him to the forest or he will cut down all the tress and produce handcrafts.”

These word illustrate a common perception of people of Balinese ethnicity. Although not all Balinese have the skill and talent to become artisans, such as description is true of Made Tatib, 48, who has been a woodcarver for the last 30 years. His love of carving is evident in his works, which are of high artistic merit and very “saleable”. Indeed, he has made enough money to build a beautiful Balinese-style house and to send his children to universities in Denpasar and Surabaya, East Java.

“But, that money was made a few years ago when there were a lot of tamu (foreign buyer or visitors) coming to Bali. Since 2001, Bali has been through a series of crises and only a few people have visited the village to buy our products, “ he said.

In the village of Mas in Gianyar, some 25 kilometers northeast of Denpasar, there are dozens of perhaps hundreds of artisans like Made Tatib. The village is Bali’s major centre for modern woodcarving. They offer mass-produced item, made of cheep wood and priced at less than a dollar. There are other exquisite woodcarvings made of ebony or sandalwood price at over US$100 and some works valued at over a thousand dollars a piece. A number of artisans have made good money through exporting their carvings, particular to Japan and Australia.

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