In 1980, Ms. Suryawan received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). In 1978, RISD awarded Suryawan with acceptance into their honors program in Rome, Italy, which marked the beginning of her lifelong interest in diverse cultures of the world. She pursued this attraction through studies and travels in Italy, Egypt, Tunisia, Greece and the West Indies before settling in Bali, Indonesia in 1980.
Bali was the artist’s primary residence for 22 years where she drew inspiration from its rich culture and incredible natural beauty. In this land of beauty and dignity, Ms. Suryawan realized that life among the people of Bali was the most harmonious collaboration between man and nature that she had ever witnessed. This perfect harmony would come to influence her paintings as well as her philosophies. It was in Bali that Ms. Suryawan met and married her Chinese-Balinese husband, Wana Suryawan. Mr. Suryawan was a teacher of Persai Diri, the martial art form based in Indonesia with origins in the Shaolin temples of China. They lived together in Bali with their three lovely children Putu Agustina, Made Nava and Komang Bayusana until Wana Suryawan’s sudden death in 1999. In October of 2002, Bali experienced the largest terrorist bombing after 9/11. The climate in Bali changed dramatically overnight, leading Ms. Suryawan to leave her home of 22 years to establish residence in Los Angeles.