Ni Pollok, ca. 1950

Colorization: Manos Athanasiadis

Colorization: Manos Athanasiadis

Ni Pollok, wife & model of painter Adrien Le Mayeur (photo: Charles Breijer) 1947-1953

Ni Pollok, wife & model of painter Adrien Le Mayeur (photo: Charles Breijer) 1947-1953

Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur (1880 – 1958) was a Belgian painter from Brussels who lived the last part of his life in Bali. Adrien came to Bali in 1932. He was fascinated by Balinese culture, the people’s traditional way of life, the temple rituals and local dances. He was also impressed by the light, color and beauty of the surroundings in the then still quite unspoilt island.
Le Mayeur rented a house in banjar Kelandis, Denpasar, where he got acquainted with 15-year-old legong dancer, Ni Nyoman Pollok, known by her nickname Ni Pollok. A number of Le Mayeur’s Bali works using Ni Pollok as model were exhibited in Singapore for the first time in 1933, which turned to be a very successful exhibition and made him more widely known. Returning from Singapore, Le Mayeur bought a piece of land at Sanur beach and built a house, which was also his studio. After three years working together, in 1935, Le Mayeur and Pollok got married. Le Mayeur kept on painting with his wife as his model during their married life.
During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in World War II Le Mayeur was put under house arrest by the Japanese authorities. He continued painting, however, often painting on rice sack cloth and other surfaces he could find. After the war Le Mayeur’s reputation grew at steady pace.
Years after the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence, the Indonesian Minister for Education and Culture visited Le Mayeur and Ni Pollok at their house in 1956. He was greatly impressed with the painter’s work and therefore suggested to the couple that their house and all its contents should be preserved as a museum. Le Mayeur agreed to the idea and since then he worked harder to add more collections to the house and to increase the quality of his works as well. On 28 August 1957 a Deed of Conveyance was signed, stating that Le Mayeur had given all his possessions including the land, his house with all its contents to Ni Pollok as a gift. And at the same moment, Ni Pollok then conveyed what she had inherited from her husband to the Government of Indonesia to be used as a museum.
In 1958 Le Mayeur suffered from a severe ear cancer, and accompanied by Ni Pollok he returned to Belgium to have a medical treatment. After two months in Belgium, the 78-year old painter died and was buried in Ixelles, Brussels. Ni Pollok then returned home to take care of her house which had become the Le Mayeur Museum. She stayed there until her death on 18 July 1985 at the age of 68. Le Mayeur and Ni Pollok’s home is kept in its original condition and is still a museum.

The ear plugs, worn by Ni Pollok in this photo, were made of copper and the space inside was used to store tobacco for betel-chewing. The betel (Piper betle) is the leaf of a vine belonging to the Piperaceae family, which includes pepper and kava. It is valued both as a mild stimulant and for its medicinal properties. Betel leaf is mostly consumed in Asia, as betel quid or in paan, with or without tobacco, in an addictive psycho-stimulating and euphoria-inducing formulation with adverse health effects.
Nederlands Fotomusem

Detail from a Le Mayeur's painting

Detail from a Le Mayeur’s painting

Ο Αντριέν-Ζαν Λε Μαγέρ (1880 – 1958) ήταν ένας Βέλγος ζωγράφος που έγινε γνωστός για τους πίνακες που ζωγράφισε στην τελευταία περίοδο της ζωής του, στο Μπαλί. Το 1932, επισκέφτηκε το νησί της Ινδονησίας και εντυπωσιάστηκε από την ντόπια κουλτούρα, τον τρόπο ζωής των ανθρώπων, και τη φυσική ομορφιά του τόπου.
Εκεί γνώρισε τη 15χρονη χορεύτρια τοπικών χορών Νι Πόλλοκ, που πόζαρε για τους πίνακες του. Τον επόμενο χρόνο, μετά από μια επιτυχημένη έκθεση στη Σιγκαπούρη, αποφάσισε να εγκατασταθεί μόνιμα στο Μπαλί. Αγόρασε μια έκταση στα νότια του Μπαλί και έφτιαξε ένα σπίτι που έγινε το στούντιο του. Το 1935 παντρεύτηκε την Νι Πόλλοκ που έγινε το μόνιμο μοντέλο στα έργα του.
Οι μετά-ιμπρεσιονιστικοί πίνακες του Λε Μαγέρ, επηρεασμένοι από το νέο περιβάλλον του, τον έκαναν διάσημο τα επόμενα χρόνια.
Το 1958, προσβλήθηκε από καρκίνο στο αυτί, και αναγκάστηκε να πάει στις Βρυξέλλες για θεραπεία. Πέθανε την ίδια χρονιά σε ηλικία 78 χρονών. Μετά το θάνατο και της γυναίκας του, το 1985, το σπίτι τους μεταβιβάστηκε στο κράτος και έγινε μουσείο.

Όπως φαίνεται στη φωτογραφία της Νι Πόλλοκ, μέρος της παράδοσης στο Μπαλί ήταν να έχουν οι γυναίκες ακάλυπτο το πάνω μέρος του σώματος τους, όπως και το ear plug που είναι περασμένο στο λοβό του αυτιού της. Αυτό χρησίμευε και ως δοχείο ενός παρασκευάσματος, δημοφιλούς στην Ν.Α Ασία, από φύλλα betel και ταμπάκο. Το μάσημα του betel quid έχει ευφορικές και διεγερτικές ιδιότητες αλλά δυσμενείς επιπτώσεις στην υγεία.


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