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Historic Pita Maha Artworks to Return Home: Indonesia Prepares for Significant Repatriation

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BNN Correspondents
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Historic Pita Maha Artworks to Return Home: Indonesia Prepares for Significant Repatriation

In a momentous move, Indonesia is preparing to receive hundreds of historical artworks from the Pita Maha group, originating from Bali. These pieces form part of a larger repatriation effort by the Dutch government. Predominantly comprised of paintings, the collection is set to arrive in Jakarta tomorrow, as confirmed by Bonnie Triyana, a member of the Repatriation Team, at the opening of an exhibition at the National Gallery of Indonesia.

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A Historical Homecoming Amidst Challenges

Despite recent fire incidents leading to inventory checks and repairs at the hosting institution, these invaluable collections will find a secure home at the National Museum of Indonesia. These Pita Maha artworks are a part of 132 objects out of a total 472 historical items listed for repatriation.

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Provenance Research and Repatriation

Interestingly, these pieces were not war spoils. They were left behind after an exhibition on December 27, 1949. Dutch and Indonesian experts have carried out extensive provenance research on these works before their journey back home. This effort underlines the commitment to preserving and acknowledging the cultural and historical significance of these objects.

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Pita Maha's Impact on Balinese Art

Founded by Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet, Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati, and I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, the Pita Maha group sparked a unique movement in Balinese painting. Emerging styles from Ubud, Batuan, and Sanur can be attributed to their influence. Despite criticism, including arguments that their works were mere street shop products rather than art, Pita Maha's impact on Balinese art is undeniable.

In conclusion, the return of the Pita Maha artworks marks a notable step in the ongoing effort to reclaim Indonesia's cultural heritage. It also serves as a reminder of the transformative power of art and the enduring legacy of the Pita Maha group.

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