Born in Salatiga, Java, artist Nany Soelistyowati Susianto now goes by “Nany S.” She was born into an artistic family—her father, grandfather and uncles were all painters. Since kindergarten, Nany enjoyed drawing. Her father was the first person to teach her basic drawing techniques. But in her youth, Nany was not serious about art, and did it only as a hobby.
In 2003 her father, who was also her friend and artistic mentor, passed away. After mourning his death, she started to follow her father’s calling to paint. She wanted to fulfill her father’s last request that she should persevere in painting. She began to read and study painting in earnest.
In 2007, Nany participated in painting exhibitions in several hotels in Jakarta with some other painters. At the time, however, Nany felt that her paintings were just drawings, without any “soul”.
One day in 2007, Nany and her husband, Adhy Setiadharma, took a vacation in Bali. They decided to visit Ubud in order to see several art galleries to enrich Nany’s insight on painting. In Ubud, they happened to stay at a resort which also had an art museum. Nany met the owner, and she was introduced to authentic Balinese culture and daily life on “God’s Island”, which is integrated with nature.
After that encounter, Nany started falling in love with Bali. She wanted to understand the Balinese way of living in depth. With the support of her husband, in 2012 she returned to Bali and stayed in Ubud for a couple of months. She learned to open herself up in order to unify with the Ubud people. Attending sketch programs in Pranoto’s Gallery, learning Balinese dance and wood carving from several artists in Ubud, and other artistic activities inspired her to paint masterpieces.
But a few short months in Ubud were insufficient, so Nany often travels back and forth for her work. From time to time, Nany continues to paint Balinese daily life. She pours all of her feelings, personal experiences and spiritual journeys with the people of Ubud into her paintings. At the end of 2015, she exhibited her first solo painting exhibition, “A Tribute of my Journey into Faith & Traditions”.
For Nany S., Ubud is her choice, because it is the best environment to stimulate her creativity in painting. Ubud is a melting pot of art exhibitions, art lovers and curators who can help her with advice and feedback, which will help Nany prepare for future painting exhibitions. She hopes that her journey of exploration in Ubud stretches far into the future.