Preview – Fragrant Wood Gallery collection of Balinese wood carvings
– by Brendan Fairweather
Fragrant Wood Gallery is set to debut its rare collection of Balinese wood carvings to the public Nov 15. The intricately carved masks and sculptures were acquired privately through years of study and extensive travels through Bali and Indonesia. The collection, built over the last 15 years, will be the largest in Western Canada.
The Gallery, established in 2011, has been showcasing Chinese and Balinese work, but recently started focusing on the latter when staff noticed that a niche was developing. We contacted manager and curator Estelle Fu who explained, “We are moving towards the direction of having only Balinese works but still have some root sculpture and aloes-wood here in the gallery. At the time when the gallery owner brought root sculpture to our gallery from China, we didn’t have a clear direction and were not branded as a Balinese art gallery.”
The carvings are crafted from tree species native to Bali such as crocodile wood, boxwood, teak wood and sandalwood. Many of the pieces were inspired by nature and Balinese religious ceremonies. In addition to his work for the public, artist I.B Oka also carves a mask every 210 days for a religious ceremony that takes place in Bali in celebration of Mother Earth.
The gallery has been working closely with authentic Balinese artists and continues to build new relationships to grow the collection. Artists I.B. Oka, Ida Bagus Anom Surywan, A.A. NG Suta Wijaya and A.A GD Raka Cipta will all have work on display and for sale.
Fragrant Wood Gallery is located at 2233 Granville Street.