Budi Agung Kuswara

b. 1982, Indonesia

Budi Agung Kuswara or ‘Kabul’, was born in Sanur, Bali in 1982. He graduated with a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the Indonesia Institute of Arts (ISI), Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He is well-versed in traditional Kamasan painting used to decorate the island’s temples and the houses of aristocrats.
As a child, painting was a readily accessible mode of expression, which allowed Kabul to explore his feelings and ideas about identity and life. “My perspective was different to the traditional cultural identity and I came to understand that I didn’t fit in with the mainstream… So I learned to follow my own path.”
He views materials as a living characters and technicality as a mere vehicle in representing the character of every material. He is therefore not limited to objects or subjects when approaching notions of existence, appreciation and inclusivity of the surrounding social environment.
Charmed by Orientalism and how exotic images led to supposed ideas of Bali by Western schools, Kabul started using an old printing technique to explore his ideas about cultural identity, while creating new inroads in Balinese contemporary art.
In 2017, he was one of the nominees for the International Public Art Price in Hong Kong & won the Tujuh Bintang Gallery (Yogyakarta) Art Award “THE DREAM (The Power of the Dream) in 2009. He has undertaken residencies at Bamboo Curtain Studio, Taipei, Taiwan (2016), Fukuoka Asian Art Museum, Fukuoka, Japan (2012), and TAKSU Kuala Lumpur, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2012). Kuswara lives and works in Bali, Indonesia.
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