Balinese artist I Made Moja collaborated with Gamelan Sekar Jaya to create The Creatures of Balinese Mythology–exploring, in particular, monkeys and frogs, which appear repeatedly in many guises and contexts throughout the mythology, folklore, and iconography of Bali. Existing genres of Balinese music evoke the sounds of monkeys, frogs, other animals, and mythical figures.
The finished work was a live performance that included displayed and projected paintings created by I Made Moja especially for this project; Balinese dance; live gamelan music, newly composed by master Balinese artists in residence and performed by Gamelan Sekar Jaya’s ensemble of 25 musicians; shadow lighting designed and implemented by Moja; and narration. Master artists composer Ida Bagus Made Widnyana and dancer/choreographer I Ketut Wirtawan worked closely with Moja to develop the piece. The Creatures of Balinese Mythology was presented at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco’s Samsung Hall as part of a major 2011 exhibit Bali: Performance, Art, and Ritual.
I Made Moja is a painter, dancer, puppet maker, and shadow-play artist from the village of Batuan, a traditional arts village in Bali known for its classical music and dance, fine woodcarving, and unique painting style. Widely known as a visual artist, he also specializes in the classic Balinese masked-dance forms of topeng and jauk.
Gamelan Sekar Jaya is a 65-member ensemble of musicians and dancers, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, that specializes in the performing arts of Bali, Indonesia. Formed in 1979, the ensemble has grown to be recognized as “the finest Balinese gamelan outside of Indonesia.” It has worked under the direction and guidance of very gifted Balinese performing artists.