Sukawati Tourist Attractions
By road: from Denpasar north-east on the Gianyar road.Bus: regular services daily from Denpasar-Kereneng.Bemo: on the roads from Denpasar and Gianyar.The town of Sukawati lies 17 km (11 mi.) north-east of Denpasar. Actually it is a double town, for Sukawati has been for centuries so closely joined to its neighbor to the north, Batuan, that the boundary between the two can be recognized only by natives of the town. A decree issued by Prince Marakata in 1022 ordered that the two towns should be separated, but the decree was never put into effect. The present-day population includes many Chinese, who have left their stamp on the town.Neither in Sukawati nor in Batuan are there any tourist sights in the ordinary sense.CraftsSukawati and Batuan are famed for the numerous craftsmen who offer their products for sale in the main streets of the double town. The crafts practiced here have a long tradition behind them - in earlier times many famous artists worked in the palace of the Raja of Sukawati.In the center of Sukawati is the Art Market, where a wide range of craft products can be bought.Batuan is widely known for the characteristic style of painting developed here. Works in this style, which came increasingly to the fore around 1920, are less concerned with mythological and religious themes than with expressionistic representations of scenes from the life of the Balinese population. The artists working in this style, who had previously regarded the particular subject of a picture as merely accessory to the much more important background, now altered the balance of their work and increasingly concentrated their attention on the figure or landscape forming the main theme of the picture.This change in style, which took place during the period of Dutch rule, is attributed to the fact that work was commissioned from the local artists by the new colonial rulers, who introduced them to European painting techniques.The Batuan style later gained in influence when artists as well as tourists came to Bali from the West and began to teach the local painters. Among them were two artists whose reputation still stands high, Walter Spies (see Famous People) and Rudolf Bonnet.Around Sukawati and Batuan are a number of other villages (e.g. Puaya) with large numbers of craftsmen.