The Secret Curse of Kapal: Bali’s Brickless Village

Located in Mengwi, Badung Regency, is the idyllic village of Kapal. Here, unlike the typical Balinese structures using red bricks and teakwood, buildings in Kapal embrace a different aesthetic. There are no signs of the typical Balinese style here, and it’s all connected to the ominous myths surrounding these materials. The prohibition against using red


The Art of Aprililia: Dancing Lines of the Subconscious

Aprililia is an emerging painter from West Sumatra, gifted with a unique talent, who recently began residing in Bali. Born in 2000 in Padang, the self-taught artist significantly contributes to the growing wealth of extraordinary national and international creatives who call the island home. Lily, as she is also known, majored in Informatics Education at

Tipat and Bantal: Symbols of the Feminine and Masculine

Tipat and bantal are two elements that hold profound symbolic meaning within the context of Balinese Hindu beliefs and culture. If you are familiar with the unique ceremonies of Aci Tabuh Rah Pengangon (or Siat Tipat Bantal) and Mejauman (or Mepamit), you will know that these ceremonies all share a common trait: the inclusion of tipat and bantal. These

Ketut Nugi: Reconfiguring Colonial Iconography into Balinese Art Statements

Emerging Balinese contemporary artist Ketut Nugi captured my attention in a group exhibition, ‘Documenting Perspective’ at Nonfrasa Gallery in Ubud that took place July-August 2022. Showcased within a display cabinet, ‘Irrational of Joy’ 2022 is a montage of colourful illustrations and old photographs that transports the imagination to the formative days of Dutch colonialism tourism

The Temple of the Murdered Man

People have misconceptions about Balinese religion. Many see it as strictly Hindu. It may be so in children’s school books, which emphasises classical Hindu-Indian cosmology, but this is a “fundamentalist” evolution. The Balinese may refer once in a while to Hindu gods, but the daily ritual life is dominated by the worship of ancestors of

Leyak: Balinese Sorcery and the Practice of Witchcraft

Perhaps the most feared of all of Bali’s supernatural phenomenons is the leyak (or leak), the ‘witches’ and practitioners of black magic. Ajian Pangleyakan is the study of Balinese sorcery. It is considered an ancient art and study into the realms of Bali’s niskala, or ‘unseen’, world. There is a lontar (palm leaf manuscript) on Aji

Personal Therapy Through Prett Art’s Joyous Clay Figurines

Colourful, light-hearted and cute, I was immediately captured by the art of Venty Vergianti. Her delightful pint-sized clay figurines, distinguished by jubilant emotions and childlike faces with open mouths, either smiling or bursting with laughter while sporting radiantly glazed caps, encapsulate an undeniably scrumptious art recipe. Their rotund bellies are often exaggerated, forming copious receptacles

Gebogan: Bali’s Towered Offering

Gebogan is a traditional offering used during religious ceremonies, festivals, and other important occasions. It is one of Bali’s most eye-catching offerings, tall and colourful, with various fruits and flowers arranged into a tower. During certain ceremonies the gebogan are carried upon the heads of women in long procession (known as Mapeed), making for a

Bali’s Family Folklore: The Life Lessons of Men Brayut

Folk stories are told all around the world and are part of the cultural fabric of different societies. Passed down through the generations, they are more than just bedtime stories, they are often imbued with morals and messages that reflect the values of each time and place, hoping to instil the next generation with the


NONFRASA: Bali’s Exciting New Contemporary Art Venue

Nonfrasa, a new contemporary gallery in Ubud, has captured my heart and imagination. The brainchild of Balinese creative Krisna Sudharma, Nonfrasa merges avant-garde Balinese and Indonesian contemporary art with harmonic architectural design to induce the perfect art experience. According to the website, “Nonfrasa is a platform dedicated to discovering emerging artists and rediscovering left-field work

Penampahan Galungan

Penampahan Galungan: Preparations and Purifications

Note: There are images of slaughtered animals and a pig over a fire, if this kind of subject matter upsets you, please be aware.  It starts suddenly in the middle of the night, while people are sound asleep. It sounds like the wailing of a milk-lusting baby. But the wailing soon dies out into a

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