Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

2 - Exploring One Artist’s Genealogical Imagination through the Cross-Cultural Projection of Miniature Worlds

Saturday, July 7
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Gulmohar, First Floor

Genealogies have supported artistic authority in colonial and postcolonial Indonesia. This paper explores the child artist, I Ketut Lungsur, from Sayan, Bali. The name Lungsur first emerges in the 1930s ethnographic writings of the then married couple: anthropologist, Jane Belo and ethnomusicologist, Colin McPhee. In the 1930s, Belo and McPhee came to Bali well-versed in the systematic use of projective materials - or “world techniques” - ways of evoking from children “pieces of creative behavior” through manipulating scale. As a nine-year-old boy, Lungsur is said to have “become part of their household.” He is one of many musicians in the famous “Club of Small Men” as convened by McPhee, but he is also described as the most talented of the artists in the drawing experiments conducted by Belo. This paper explores the parallel ways in which Lungsur’s “genealogical imagination” (Shryock 1997) is construed by foreign expats and by his own family. When we say, “the ayes have it,” the assumption is that the majority rules; but looking through Lungsur’s “eyes,” as this paper will endeavor to do, reveals strikingly contradictory modes of appraising the ambiguities of genealogical (and artistic) authority when securely localized in Sayan today. Inspired by the ground-breaking work on Bali by Margaret Wiener (1995), this paper challenges colonialist and academic claims by focusing on Balinese discourses as divined from Lungsur, and his extended family. 

Kaja McGowan

Cornell University, United States

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2 - Exploring One Artist’s Genealogical Imagination through the Cross-Cultural Projection of Miniature Worlds



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