I love art, but I can’t really define it for you since it takes so many forms. But if we stick to the main categories of painting and sculpture,  of literature and poetry, of song and dance, we already have wonderful ways that the human race can define itself and its existence here on earth. 

Artistic expression started off very ethnically based , with each civilisation creating its own particular style: from the primitive cave paintings of prehistoric man, to the amazing works of the Greek and Roman empires, then on to the renaissance and the huge creative outpouring that inspired mostly across Europe. 

But parallel to that, in every country, people have been creating their own works of art in their own style for centuries, in Africa, in Central and South America, wonderful forms of tribal and religious creations, glorifying gods and appeasing the evil forces they knew were all around them, ready to pounce if not satisfied with the dance, the prayers and the ceremonies created to please them.

And this is reflected here in Bali where so much of the artistic work is dedicated to worship and keeping the balance of life between God and man. The main dances , and of course ,the temples , the offerings , the ceremonies and the processions are all forms of worship. But under the influence of the western painters who came to Bali early in the 20th century, more decorative and abstract forms of painting emerged and form the core of a flourishing artistic tradition which still runs strongly through the island. 

So please visit the main museums and galleries of Bali : ARMA , Neka, Rudana, and Puri Lukisan, all in and around Ubud . Find out who are the great painters and sculptors and enjoy their works. But don’t miss out on the dances and processions , the temples and palaces. They are all great works of art too. 

Alistair G. Speirs

Alistair G. Speirs

Alistair G Speirs, OBE, is the Publisher of NOW! Magazines. He has been in the publishing, advertising and PR business for the last 25 years. He started both NOW! Bali and NOW! Jakarta as each region's preferred community magazine.