Bali Impressions, 2012-2013

According to Barbara, textile represents the creative power of mankind, connecting cultures and people. It is a universal and timeless medium that is versatile and expressive while remaining accessible in its familiarity. Her work is imbued with intricate layers of meaning. Complex textile patterns form the base on which sampled images are arranged, creating images that can be experienced visually as well as emotionally. A manual and handcrafted execution is essential to her work. The time and labour required to create these works are palpable and lend them an organic and intimate character. 

When Barbara is not working in her studio in Amsterdam, she likes to travel abroad in search of images of everyday life, universal themes and the cultures they represent and connect. During one of her trips to Asia she visited Indonesia and fell in love with the country’s rich cultural heritage. As a textile artist, she was especially inspired by the multitude of traditional Indonesian textile crafts, for example batik and ikat dyeing techniques. While she was in Bali, she came across an important collection of Balinese Modernist art works from the thirties. During this decade Balinese artists, who had previously created mainly traditional and religious work, came into contact with Western modern artists. This resulted in a dynamic Modern style that maintained a characteristically Balinese feeling. Their spirituality inspired Broekman to create a number of large scale wall tapestries based on Bali’s rich, both ancient and modern cultural heritage. 

Characteristic to her personal style, she layers images from the pre-war Balinese modernists, exploring themes such as spirituality, identity and the crossing of cultural boundaries. Each of the carpets consists of two Modernist Balinese art works, which have been divided into vertical segments and placed so that the original images alternate one another, creating a beautiful near abstraction of a half distorted image. The works have all been Jacquard woven in the lab of the Dutch Textile Museum.