Born on the outskirts of Oxford, England, Richard North Lewis was an art director for a 1984 musical release called Borderline by a promising but unknown musician named Madonna. In 1989, an invitation came to visit his friends Lawrence and Lorne Blair far away at their bohemian home in distant, unfamiliar Bali. Like so many before and after him, he fell in love with the island immediately.
Having completed a Masters in Arts, it was here that North-Lewis developed in prowess and renown as a sculptor inspired by Greek sculptures and monuments all over Bali and further afield. One of his most prominent works is encountered by countless international travelers every year: commissioned by the Singapore Government, Rhythm of Nature is a four-metre-tall, 360-metre-long bas relief that extends across Changi Airport’s Terminal 3. As a passionate Bali’s advocate and environmentalist, North-Lewis immediately stood out as an ideal collaborator when the team at Raffles Bali committed to showing distinctive local and locally inspired art throughout the property.
Specially commissioned by the resort, North-Lewis’s The Last Wave proudly occupies an unmissable location by the lobby. Hewn from a colossal three-ton chunk of limestone, the work is inspired by the waves of Bali. With every villa at Raffles Bali affording an expansive sea view and the retreat’s private beach lapped by the waters of Jimbaran Bay, it’s a subtle introduction to the nautical wonders that every new guest is certain to soon encounter.
It isn’t, however, the only North-Lewis work to be seen at Raffles Bali. On display at the entrance to the property, Threads of Indonesia is another substantial sculpture, this time inspired by the rich heritage of Indonesian fabric. From the coloured bands that make up Bali’s symbolic Tri Datu bracelet to the locally inspired decorative flourishes that embellish staff uniforms, the fabrics and fashions of Bali are so often imbued with age-old cultural capital as well as an immediately recognisable beauty. Whether entering or leaving the property, this North-Lewis artwork is another reminder to look at the heritage of Bali more closely as an idyllic island even the most supposedly simple things can serve as portals to mystery and spirituality.