Early Travels to the ‘Dutch East Indies’

Today’s travellers may feel envious of those who visited Bali back when it was ‘untouched’, but do not realise the difficulty of not only getting to the island but also the challenges once they arrived. Sake Santema, owner of antiques dealer Indies Gallery, explores early travels to Indonesia and Bali, complemented by prints and images

Sake Santema

I Gusti Nyoman Darta: Following the Lines of Lempad

If you are a fanatic of Bali, you will be interested by the character of I Gusti Nyoman Darta. He had an early life typical of the feudal system of the days. Barely 5, he was entrusted by his father to one of the princes of Ubud, Tjokorde Ngurah Puri Saren. He took the mantle


Bali’s ‘Wayang Week’ and Stories of Time the Devourer 

If there is an Indonesian form of art that is of international repute and calls to mind the notion of a “magic show”, this is undoubtedly the shadow play or puppet show theatre: the “wayang”. The trembling shadows of ancestral figures dancing on a white screen as they are shaped and unshaped by a flickering


The Culture of Balinese Cuisine 

Balinese food is often over-simplified. In fact, most foods are. Reduced to the singular dish that is brought to our table. As we smell, bite and chew, our taste buds absorb the flavours and yes, “Delicious!” registers our brain, “Have another bite.” What each scrumptious bite doesn’t tell us, however, is that every herb and

Balinese Praying Fauzi Rizal

What is Nyepi? Understanding Bali’s Day of Silence

How do Westerners open the New Year? With revelry. How do the Balinese open their own New Year? With a full day of silence, called Nyepi. But exactly what is Nyepi? It is the first day of the Saka calendar year and is also Bali’s day of silence. Understanding the Balinese Calendars Bali’s measure of


Offerings: Food for the Gods

Many of Bali’s top reputed restaurants might sell food of international standards; their diners might be local and international celebrities, ministers, singers and sports stars, but by Balinese standards, believe me, these restaurants don’t quite cut it. Even the ones listed in this magazine. Why is that you ask? Well, they only serve food to


The Healing Traditions of the Balian Usada

In Bali there is the traditional doctor known as the balian usada, whose knowledge is gained through the lontar manuscripts and the inherited teachings of predecessors. Still frequented by many Balinese, the practice of the balian deals with both the sekala and niskala worlds, the seen and unseen, and are the continuation of Bali’s ancient

The Cosmic Complexities of Balinese Love

In Bali, love and indeed sex are more than just about the relationship between two people. It is about the gods, the cosmos, the cycle of life. For most Westerners love oscillates between two poles: on one side there is the romantic meeting of two individuals, and on the other side, the sexual encounter of


In Memoriam: Celebrating International Contemporary Art Icon, Ashley Bickerton

For more than three decades, Ashley Bickerton’s presence shone brightly on the international art stage. A courageous, rebellious artist, his genius imagination existed on the periphery of what was conceivably possible. Bickerton rose to incredible heights in contemporary art, positioning his voice as singular to the global audience. The most internationally renowned contemporary artist in


Yamaraja: Magical Drawings of the Bugbug Temple Festival

The Balinese are known for putting up extraordinary shows during their temple festivals. Most popular are the processions and dances that take place on these occasions. But there are other aspects that are no less extraordinary. One of them is the roughly 13-metre long drawing on the ground which is ceremoniously made in Bugbug every

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