POUL BRUUN - B A L I - Sep 19, 2010


Written by Jacob Thermansen



Poul Bruun, came to visit us from Denmark.

That first night we sat by the fire and talked about life out here and I mentioned the Bali Children Foundation and my recent visit to the school and the children in Dencarik.

"I want to paint with them", Poul exclaimed.




This is very much Poul’s passion. A legendary music producer in his own right, in later years he has taken up painting and he often times holds art classes for people back home.

An uncomplicated but fierce force of nature and immediacy is evident in his own works, along with a deep and compassionate sense of humor. I love his art, but if one should criticize anything, I would harp the annoying fact that he doesn’t want to sell any of his works.




We discussed his idea some more and decided it was viable and arrived at a plan. An Art Class. Taking the art to the kids!




Phase one was taking a meeting with Wayan from the Foundation.

She of course thought it a brilliant plan. It was vital for Poul to have only 16 children in the class at once, as he was adamant that he should have time with each child and time enough to work through the process with them. Wayan agreed.




Phase two was purchasing the needed materials.

We called PakReza at Bali Arts Media, in Denpassar, where Poul ordered 17 canvasses, oodles of acrylic paints, brushes, erasers, pen’s and other paraphernalia needed.

These foundations depend on support, sponsorships and donations from outside, to provide their services for these children and this whole art-class project became Poul’s generous donation.

As it happened Dek Pong, from maintenance, was in Denpassar and could pick up our order and bring it up north, so we could arrange the art class over the weekend. Wayan was informed, and she said she’d easily round up 16 kids in different ages from ten to thirteen and have them ready.




Phase three was the Art Class.

We arrived at the Banjar Hall, loaded with art supplies, soda’s and chips and found a group of very exited children and teachers waiting.  After a brief introduction Poul made his way around the tables that had been set up for the occasion and shook hands with everyone. The children met him with their usual openness and vigor.




Poul’s approach was simple; engage the children through art as pure expression with the added discipline of working towards a common purpose.

"I want you all to paint me a face" He told the kids. "Anyface you like, but a face".




The children were instructed in first using a pencil, to draw the outline, then they were given the color brown to paint the outline and after that they had to come to Poul, in turns, to choose what colors they wanted to use. If they asked for blue, Poul would give them two shades of blue with white on the side and encourage them to mix and match.

Soon the Banjar was ripe with creativity, concentration and joy.




For over five hours these kids were in the throes of art and in the realm of imagination. I spent the afternoon wondering around amongst the kids and saw their works progress and it was amazing to witness how some of them had such apparent talent and an intuitive understanding of the process.




Throughout the afternoon Poul worked tirelessly to guide, coach and inspire the kids to excel and to achieve their goals. From the beginning he had told the children that he was teaching them about art today, only if they traded him a song or two. Music and art is intertwined, joined at the hip. They reciprocated at the end of a long afternoon, one boy taking center stage with his guitar, belting out a song, accompanied by his artist friends in the Banjar.




When we were ready to head back, the children offered us a standing ovation and Wayan gave a short speech and with all the children’s works, still wet, aligned against a wall, she presented Poul with a framed letter of thanks, and a heartfelt invitation to come back anytime to talk about the arts or to paint some more.















• Poul Bruun © 2011 •