Bali behind the veil

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IT’S as wacky as Schapelle’s terbaccy: fly to Kuta and surround yourself in Aussiedom, or stay at home and experience Balinese culture.

Over the next eight weeks the Fremantle Arts Centre will sidestep Bintang singlets and cheap trinkets to take a deeper look at Australia’s relationship with the island paradise.

Bali: Return Economy will feature a range of traditional and contemporary artworks from 25 Australian and Balinese artists, including paintings, ceramics, sculptures, cartoons, photography and video art.

“My cartoons talk about globalisation and the impact of modernisation on traditional Balinese culture”

Political cartoonist Jango Pramartha, one of the featured artists, is a cartoonist who depicts social change as well as the political climate in Bali.

“My cartoons talk about globalisation and the impact of modernisation on traditional Balinese culture,” he told the Herald. “The relationship between the two [countries] is sacred and profound, so my inspiration comes from this, and the message gets through when they are funny.”

Pramartha, whose last trip to Perth was 20 years ago for another exhibition, says he worries about the inevitability of globalisation and modernisation.

“It is important for Australians to see this side of Bali because so many tourists go there. They must understand the real Balinese culture, art and social life,” he says, noting outside forces are often having a negative effect on the social fabric of the island.

“Art has a way of connecting people and making peace and I am so happy to be a part of this exhibition. I hope it makes our relationship good.”

Bali: Return Economy is a free event as part of the Perth International Arts Festival. On Saturday February 1, the artists will give several talks and there will be a guided tour of the exhibition.


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