This obituary was written by Datuk Seri Lim Chong Keat who used to have
a house in Bali, and a friend of Arie Smit. In the mid 70’s, I, too, used to have a house
situated a the village of Sayan, Ubud overlooking the beautiful Ayung River with the silhouette
of the Batu Kau volcano in the background. Not far was the village of Kedewatan with its beautiful
meandering walks, dotted with many studios of the ‘Young Artists of Bali’. These studios can be found
mushrooming along these sylvan desa walks of Kedewatan.
I happened to frequent this artistically engaged area of Ubud when this particular
artistic movement of painters, who were brought up by Arie Smit (and Datuk Lim), were still, then,
the rage of Ubud. We knew well some of the painters who double up as carvers, dancers, masseurs
and gardeners besides tending their plots of sawahs. One was Sekar, who also built our balais.
As mentioned by Datuk Lim, Arie did not impose his western aesthetics on his ‘wards’ – these young Bali painters.
Rather, he let them explore their own inherent creativity, bringing out their fresh and original vision of their
everyday life and culture.