Suara Rasa Perut (The Voice of the Feelings in My Stomach)
In this painting, Murni reflects on society’s standards of beauty and femininity imposed on women. High heels exemplify the pain and discipline that women have to undergo to meet those expectations: Murni herself admired high heels for their beauty, but could not wear them since they caused her great physical pain. However, Murni conveys the irrevocable hold that these items continue to have on how women come to see and value themselves by showing a high heeled shoe in the midst of morphing into a human figure.
Born in Bali in 1966, Murni’s early life was marked with hardship, movement and profound resilience. After surviving sexual abuse from her father as a young girl, she worked as a domestic worker in Ujung Pandang at the age of 10, a seamstress in Jakarta, then a jeweler in Bali before she embraced her calling as an artist. In her mid-20s, she trained under the tutelage of artist I Dewa Putu Mokoh, who taught her the Pengosekan School composed of pale earthy tones, thick black outlines and traditional motifs of flora and fauna. Murni, however, remained mainly self-taught as an artist. She eventually honed her own childlike style of strong curved lines and bright, bold colours; and broke away from traditional themes to embrace a deeply personal, interior subject matter—her traumatic past and wild, vivid dreams.
Since Murni’s death in 2006, her works have been hailed across the globe for their strength, originality, and ability to transcend stereotypes of other survivors of injustice. Her work has been exhibited in or acquired by prestigious institutions such as the Carnegie Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Singapore, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nusantara (MACAN), and the University of Chicago.
I Gusti Ayu Kadek Murniasih
Acrylic on Canvas
150 x 100 cm