Established since 1962, Tonyraka Art Gallery was founded by A.A Gede Raka Wirayuda, an established carver. Previously named Raka Gallery, Tonyraka Art Gallery is one of the most prominent art galleries in Bali. Located in Ubud, this gallery is popular for its carving artwork collection for the past 30 years. Since 1997, the gallery has been run by A.A. Gede Raka Wirayuda's son, A.A. Bagus Tony Hartawan, who has managed to expand the range of art collections in the gallery including modern and contemporary works of paintings, sculptures and installations.
The gallery also represents works from international artists who have lived and worked in Indonesia, specifically Bali. Tony, who concerns himself with the lack of growth in local artists, has a new vision and mission for the gallery to not only just be a commercial industry but to be a valuable cultural entity. Tony wants to provide a platform to help boost the growth and development of artists, established and new, especially in Bali.
We had the utmost pleasure of interviewing Tony to get more insight on Tonyraka Art Gallery.
Q: Hi Tony, first of all could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
My full name is Anak Agung Bagus Tony Hartawan, and I was born in 1970. I studied architecture in ITS, Surabaya. I have been running the Tonyraka Art Gallery since 2003. I previously worked as an art dealer since 1997.
Q: When did you first have a passion for art? Is it something that you have been interested in since you were young?
My passion for art started when I was very young. Since elementary school, I liked collecting small, beautiful arts and crafts. I also liked drawing a lot.
Q: Tell us about something cool happening in the art scene in Ubud right now.
Honestly, there are not so many things related to art that is happening in Ubud. Ubud used to be known as the art village with lots of artists and galleries, but nowadays there aren’t that many galleries and art developments in Ubud. Ubud is now more popular with yoga and healthy food. Although there are still some exhibitions for contemporary art and traditional art held by some galleries.
Q: Having an impeccable taste in art is a priceless thing to have. But since you started, what has been the biggest changes in the art/ gallery market or taste?
Since I started following Indonesian art, especially in Bali, I have witnessed that the art, the market and the taste has become more global. The market is not only limited to tourists, there are many collectors from other big cities in Indonesia, as well from overseas that has international taste. The gimmick of the art market in Asia and Southeast Asia is the importance of art fairs which has played a big part on the changes in the art, art market and taste in Indonesia, especially in Bali. The contemporary art now plays the biggest part in the Indonesian art scene.
Q: Will you tell us more about Tonyraka Art Gallery?
Tonyraka Art Gallery was built by the artists with the idea to have a new platform of gallery that exposes a lot of young artists as well the established Indonesian contemporary artists. We wanted to represent them and to have our culture exposed to other countries.
Tonyraka has always been committed to be a part of the Indonesian art development especially in Bali and after 20 years we still hold that commitment. Now we have moved to new ideas by combining the art, design, and lifestyle, and we want to build Tonyraka as an oasis of art where creative people can meet and discuss ideas over coffee and food while surrounded with art.
Q: What sets your gallery apart from other galleries in Ubud?
We have a vision in doing our gallery just like artists with their art. We have programs and art activities, especially art exhibition. We do exhibit contemporary art especially for young artists. In doing all of the activities, I do it with passion.
Q: How do you select the artists you choose to exhibit? How much does your personal taste play a role in your selection?
There are many requirements needed to have an exhibition in our gallery, and I choose the ones that fit with my taste and my gallery platform. I also often create exhibitions with special themes where artists collaborate with the art curator.
Q: Which up & coming artist is your favorite?
Q: If you could own any artwork in the world, what would it be and why?
Basquiat and John Chamberlain because for me it is very expressive, fun and beautiful at the same time.
Q: How many art works are in your personal collection and which one is your most favorite?
Honestly I never count. To choose my favorite is really hard because I love all the artworks that I collect.
Q: What has been your greatest achievement thus far?
My greatest achievement is putting Tonyraka Art Gallery on the map. My latest achievement is building The Art Lounge that has recently opened, which I expect will become the melting pot of creative people in art and design merged with lifestyle. It is the living room of Tonyraka Art Gallery with all of its activities.
Q: Where do you see Tonyraka Art Gallery in 10 years?
I wish to see it become the oasis of art and the art destination in the next ten years.
Q: Lastly, what is next for your gallery?
At the end of this year, Tonyraka Art Gallery will open a new section for furniture and design. I hope it will bring more excitement for people to visit our place.
TONYRAKA ART GALLERY
GALLERY OPENING HOURS
Monday - Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm