Whilst in Bali, I worked with Mask Master I Made Se Dirga, also known locally as 'Grigot' which means 'Bearded one'.
This interview uses classic Balinese Gamelan- the traditional Balinese musical instrument that is made up of a an array of Gongs and bells and other percussion instruments.
A Mask that lies flat on the floor comes to life, to speaks to the audience - referring to the animistic nature of the Mask's wood.
Within the interview, we talk about the age of Dirga's Grandfather and when he died and the amount of time Dirga has been making Masks: 43 years, he replies.
This highlights the traditional aspect of mask making. The culture of mask making is past on generation to generation and the Masters are revered within the community. This dedication to highlights the importance of tradition and the time it takes to become skilled with the power to create sacred objects.
We discuss the materials: shared bones, crushed rock and ground minerals. Brushes made from animal hair. Materials are extremely important when understanding the sacred nature of the Mask. Currently, acrylic may be used as a quick alternative to sourcing the natural pigments however for sacred ceremonies only 'Real balinese pigment' i.e only traditional materials will suffice.
Dirga demonstrates through performance the characters of the mask. Each character has a specific sounds which Local Balinese people will be able to distinguish to tell the characters apart.
Taksu the complex concept referring to the spiritual energy of the mask, performer and maker that combine to reveal God. This power cannot be fully described through words but only realised through performance.