KEDUX, THE OGOH-OGOH AND CUSTOM MOTORBIKES MASTER
Today, we meet with Nyoman Gede Sentana Putra, AKA Kedux, the owner of Kedux Garage, potentially the most famous customised motorbikes garage in Bali. Bikes modified by Kedux have won many national and international contests. This graphic design graduate is a member of the creative Balinese biker community NK13 and has inspired many young people to dare to be different and innovative.
Kedux has been pushing for the Denpasar authorities to give the youth more creative spaces and encourage the younger generation to get out there and be independent and original but without losing their Balinese identity. He is also famous for his Ogoh-Ogoh* making.
(*Ogoh-Ogoh = monstrous figures paraded the night before Nyepi (Balinese new year))
Which are most important in your life, motorcycles or Ogoh Ogoh?
Motorcycles of course, because they are my livelihood and my profession. Ogoh-Ogoh are part of our culture and religion. Ogoh-Ogoh, we make for free, for our community and to express ourselves. With motorcycles, we work to get paid and make money. For Ogoh-Ogoh costs, the funding comes from the community. There is a system set up every year to determine who will find the funds, who will handle the production. The younger members of the community do the work. Making Ogoh-Ogoh does not generate any profit, it’s a way to bring the community together and get the youth involved in a common cause.
When did you start making Ogoh-Ogoh and how did you become involved?
I am 100 percent self-taught. I learned by doing. I love the Ogoh-Ogoh ceremony; the euphoria surrounding it and the social connections, meetings old friends living far away who have come home for the celebration or meeting new community members I didn’t previously know. Working together for the ceremony brings us together.
What did you think of last year’s Ogoh-Ogoh parade’s last minute cancellation?
I was very disappointed because there was a lot of work, time, money & people put into these projects.Two weeks before, I had sent one of my bikes to the United states for a biking event and 2 hours before the event, it was postponed because of co-vid.At that time, everything in Bali was still OK and there was no indication that the Ogoh-Ogoh events would be cancelled. When I returned back to Bali from the USA, it was announced that there would be no Ogoh-Ogoh ceremony so I had two big disappointments back to back. We didn’t really know much about co-vid at the time in Bali, but we saw what happened in the USA so we understood the importance of the cancellation for the Local community. Here the Ogoh-Ogoh are really a way the community can express itself to stand out, a bit like an art installation, it brings the community together, creates strong bonds and an identity. This kind of ceremony is not really part of our religion, like for instance the canang sari (offerings), so our religion is not affected by the cancellation.
Have you been preparing Ogoh-ogoh for this year?
No, not really. Our community had a mini ogoh-ogoh exhibition at Dharma Alaya in Denpasar so people could still see the ogoh-ogoh creations but in a controlled environment.
How do you think the restrictions are going to affect the community?
We must of course preserve the tradition for the community at large. Realistically though, we have to think about the financial aspects first: many people don’t have jobs, the economy is suffering. So at the moment, it’s more important that we focus more on our jobs and professions and, when things improve, we can go back to celebrating this tradition. The priority right now is to earn a living to support our families and our community.
When did you start your career as a custom bike builder?
I was trained as a graphic designer. When I was in college, I began helping out at my local neighbourhood custom bike garage where I started off as a pinstripe artist & painter. But for me painting & pinstriping was too 2Dimentional, I prefer 3D. I became interested in metal fabrication. After I became experienced in fabrication, I learnt how to weld custom bike frames then moved on to the mechanical side learning by doing.
What is your inspiration when you create a custom motorbike?
Honestly, custom motorcycle culture is not from Bali. Most of my references come from magazines, the internet or social media and what’s being done abroad. So I take all this information on the design, the look, the handling, the engineering and I adapt it to my own design and style.
What are you working on right now?
I am building a couple of bikes for pre-pandemic clients
Tell us some more about the custom motorcycle culture in Bali?
At the moment for some it is just a hobby, and because of co-vid they are laying low. At the same time though, the real enthusiasts are more active because Bali has much less traffic and the roads are pretty empty, so it’s a good time to ride.
What is it that you really love about your profession?
No matter what, I really love my Balinese culture. The motorcycle culture is not from Bali, we have adopted it from abroad. When I see foreigners take the time to learn about our culture and understand it, It makes me really proud. I want people from abroad to feel that they are learning a lot from us and taking on our culture, just like we have adopted a lot from their culture. A cultural exchange if you like.
Tell us more about Naskleeng13.
Naskleeng13 started as a community for motorcycle enthusiasts. We have now created a PT company called NK13 (Nafas Kerja 13) which is owned by 14 people with 13 being shareholders. NK13 for me is like my second family, a family and a business where the focus is on motorcycle apparel, t-shirts, jackets etc. It has become a tool for self promotion really. One guy might build a bike with us and then he might buy a shirt for a friend and so on, like a domino effect.
Credits : CUB Team, Kedux Garage