Understand Balinese art – it’s easy with this new book.

It happened in Gleebooks in Sydney on Saturday afternoon. Eagerly awaited by connoisseurs of Balinese culture, art-lovers and academics, Balinese Art – a comprehensive survey of paintings and drawings in the past 200 years appeared in the bookshops in Australia.

This lavishly illustrated volume by Professor Adrian Vickers is the fruit of his long interest and research on Balinese art that commenced in the 1970s.

The book was launched in Australia by Professor John Clark – a prominent scholar of Asian Art History at the University of Sydney. In his address he pointed out how timely it is for this book to inform and inspire the imagination of readers in the early years of the Asian Century.

This reaching out to Asia is embraced, at least nominally, by our political leaders, and more pragmatically by business people, scholars and many ordinary punters who embarked on discovering Asia with its enormous cultural diversity and richness.

The book was launched earlier in Bali and in Singapore. Now Australians can obtain their own copy just in time to indulge in perusing and reading this handsome volume during festive season. The book is the most comprehensive and up to date account of history and evolution of Balinese paintings and drawings.

In some ways it is also a fitting conclusion of the three-year research project “Understanding Balinese Paintings: Collections, Narrative, Aesthetics and Society” directed by Professor Vickers and involving collaboration with the University of Sydney and the Australian Museum. So, I went to Gleebooks and enjoyed the enlightening and witty presentations in the convivial atmosphere of like-minded people.

I got my own copy of the book from the rapidly diminishing stock and thought what a wonderful gift it would make. I will go back to buy a few more copies.


Adrian Vickers is Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Sydney, where he is Director of the Australian Centre for Asian Art and Archaeology.