Art performance at Goa Gajah – tomorrow

Here are some photos from the previousSharing Creating Offering Art’ event at Goa Gajah:

This one was held about 6 months ago on Tumpek Krulut – which means ‘Compassion Day’:

The 3rd ‘Sharing Creating Offering Art’ event is being held tomorrow Sat 29 Aug 2015 which is also Tumpek Krulut in the Balinese calendar.

Can you afford to miss it?

Each of these events have showcased art in different forms and I’ve been lucky to read a poem too.  And tomorrow I’ve got 10 mins to share some of my poems about Bali – at approx 4.15pm.

It starts from 11am at Goa Gajah temple and the opening will also include a new gamelan piece – the performances will go through until late afternoon (I think I will be reading at approx 4.15pm).

Whatsmore, 2 of Yaniq’s drawings will be on display, here is one of them:

'Meditating' by Yaniq

‘Meditating’ by Yaniq

Hope to see you there.

Musical poetry at Dragonfly Village

In the midst of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival I performed poetry, along with Yaniq http://yaniq1.wordpress.com/ who played guitar.  This was part of a ‘Spiritual Creative Writing Day’ held at the beautiful retreat, ‘Dragonfly Village’ out in the rice fields.

On arrival we walked past the swimming pool, where the golden flames of a giant bonfire were dancing against a moonlit sky.

Barefoot, we climbed the stairs into the natural bamboo and wood framed building and reclined on comfortable floor chairs (well, they were legless – and no, I don’t mean drunk, as this village is a health retreat and they don’t even serve beer!)

Yaniq singing 'Ticket to Paradise'

Yaniq singing ‘Ticket to Paradise’

Our host, Eagle, welcomed us next to the flower petal mandala she had made on the floor.   The pink, cerise and purple heart had Balinese offerings (canang) inside.

Next to the flower petal mandala

Singing next to the flower petal mandala

We chatted about Eagle’s successful day which had already featured talks, via skype on the big screen, from authors around the world – America, Canada, France, Thailand and then there was myself from England and Yaniq from Bali, Indonesia.

Her other guests for our evening session were Italian, German, English and American – a small, but multi-national, group.

I read poems that fitted with the spiritual theme… ‘Valley of Meditation’, ‘Stone Buddha’, ‘Alternatives’, Who Is It’, Living Consciously’ and ‘I am a Bridge’.

Are you ready for a poem?

Are you ready for another poem?

Yaniq then joined me for musical poetry that we performed together called, ‘TMTTT’ (Meditating), and then he continued to play and sing for us with his own new material, ‘Smile’, ‘Ticket to Paradise’, ‘Lost in a Hammock’, ‘B’cos of You’ and more.

It was a lovely evening and I was pleased that my friends, Sandeh and Ulrika had joined us as well as Karen, who works for the British Embassy in Jakarta.

Karen was here to promote a campaign called, ‘Great’ (putting the ‘Great’ back into Great Britain).  It’s about encouraging people from Indonesia to study the creative arts and do business in Great Britain.  I couldn’t help suggesting that a reciprocal link would be a good idea too – i.e. get people from the UK to visit Indonesia, and Bali in particular, in order to study the incredible range of arts and culture here, and bring some much needed funds into Indonesia!

Anyway, we gave away free smiles 🙂 during the evening, – if you would like one, just click here.

Siat Sampian – symbolic war

A few days before the ‘symbolic’ war, hundreds of women, carrying tall offerings (banten) on their heads, walk four kilometers to the temple.

Balinese women walking to the temple

Balinese women walking to the temple

The women are all dressed in the same coloured traditional clothing as they walk along roads closed to traffic.

Colourful traditional Balinese costumes

Colourful traditional Balinese costumes

They elegantly enter the temple gates at Samuan Tiga and walk down the steps, still balancing the heavy banten on their heads.

Entering the temple

Entering the temple

As the offerings get lined up inside the temple, you can clearly see the different fruit and pink and white cakes – the cakes also come in other bright colours too and the banten are laced with young coconut leaves and flowers for decoration.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese photos were taken over two days that I attended – of the eleven day festival!

The people kneel on the floor for the ceremony. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe temple is beautifully decorated with yellow and white material and umbrellas as well as black, white, yellow and red umul umuls (like tall flags).

Beautifully decorated temple

Beautifully decorated temple

Here a young boy is carrying the red umul umul.

Carrying the umul umuls

Carrying the umul umuls

Dressed in white, the women perform a sacred dance

Sacred dance

Sacred dance

And then, for Siat Sampian, they use arrangements of young coconut leaves.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASiat Sampian is hard to translate but effectively means symbolic fighting with coconut leaves and this only happens in this particular temple (although the Pandan Wars will happen later this month in the Bali Aga village of Tenganan – but that is different).Then the men, at least 300 of them, also dressed in white, start their performances/rituals…

300 men run around the temple

300 men run around the temple

After linking hands and running around the temple the 300+ men pick up the young coconut leaves and start the ‘symbolic war’.

Siat Sampian

Siat Sampian

Here they are using long poles in a warrior style dance format (similar to Baris Gede). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASamuan Tiga is where groups from different faiths gathered together a 1000 years ago and came up with the idea of the 3 village temples (Pura Puseh, Pura Desa and Pura Dalem) – that satisfied each group and are still in every village (Desa) of Bali today.

There was more… but you have to ask me about it if you’re interested.

Once again, I felt very privileged and grateful to be able to attend such a special event.

Silent disco – inside a quarry with a giant statue

‘GWK’ is a cultural park inside an old limestone quarry in the south of Bali.

From the bottom of this huge open area the limestone cliffs tower impressively above you on all sides.

They hold various events here, including silent discos, and it was also the venue for Iron Maiden who played here a few years back and The Gorillaz earlier this year.

Cool venue for an open air disco

Cool venue for an open air disco

Hold on… ‘silent discos?’ I hear you ask.

Yes – you wear headphones, which you can tune into one of three DJs playing different music, and dance your socks off inside the quarry.

Depending which DJ you are listening to, your headphones will display a certain colour – not that you need to see that colour to understand if your friend is listening to the same DJ as you – because you can tell that by the rhythm of their dancing.

Your own party with zero external noise pollution!

I haven’t been to one of these silent discos – yet, but I’ve heard, and can well believe, that they are great fun.  I have no idea if this concept has reached London or other cities yet – perhaps you, my readers, will tell me?

Also inside GWK there is a gigantic statue of Vishnu and Garuda which, once they are joined together, will stand 150 meters tall with Garuda’s wings span being 64 meters across.

Vishnu standing tall... the arms haven't been put on yet

Vishnu standing tall… the arms haven’t been put on yet

What is ‘Vishnu and Garuda’? – I hear you ask.

Okay, so according to Balinese Hinduism (which is different from Indian Hinduism), Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are manifestations of the one god and they represent the creator, the maintainer and the destroyer respectively.

For those who might be a little confused by the concept of three names for the same God, then consider this:

There is a normal man and this man happens to have a child so he is a ‘father’ = a creator.  He is also a keen ‘gardener’ = so that’s like being a maintainer and yet his profession is ‘demolition expert’ = a destroyer – however at all times he is the same man, he just manifests in different guises depending on what is called for.  I believe it’s a similar concept.

So Vishnu is the maintainer and Garuda is the mythical bird that acts as his vehicle.

Garuda bird - Indonesia's national symbol and Vishnu's vehicle

Garuda bird – Indonesia’s national symbol and Vishnu’s vehicle

This park also has Segways that you can hire and drive around inside the quarry.

Me in Balinese Dance Costume!

Me in Balinese Dance Costume!

They also put on ‘a bit’ of a show, although in a rather bland setting unfortunately… the one I saw wasn’t a patch on the quality performances you get in Ubud (even the girl’s headdresses looked like they were made of cardboard).

So I highly recommend waiting until you come to Ubud before going to see one of the many performances that can entertain you nightly at different, authentic and atmospheric, venues around this culture filled town.

Although I think this dancer looks pretty authentic… don’t you – although she could do with a bit of a tan hahaha!

Images from Galungan Day

Galungan Day is a cause for big celebrations in Bali and it happened on Wednesday, 1 February 2012 (and is about to occur again on 29 August 2012 – and again on 23 Oct 2013).

Decorative bamboo penjors line the streets

Decorative bamboo penjors line the streets

The streets are lined with beautifully decorated bamboo poles called Penjor.  Feasts are prepared throughout the island and Barongs are paraded through the streets by children who play traditional music and collect donations from holidaymakers and Balinese alike – all money goes to the temples.

Childrens Barong dancing in Devilicious Warung

Childrens Barong dancing in Devilicious Warung

During the 10 days between Galungan Day and Kuningan Day the Balinese welcome their gods who ‘descend to earthly realms for the celebrations’.

What do they know

What do they know
that I don’t

How come a whole island
turns up to pray

Where do they get
their belief from

Could it be true
that gods visit Bali
on Galungan Day

Lower part of the penjor outside Savannah Moon restaurant

Lamak and lower part of the penjor outside Savannah Moon restaurant

They certainly get
a royal welcome

Penjors and a
colourful display

Of fruits
representing a mountain

On heads of women –
beautiful ladies
who say

Om swastyastu
in greeting

Om shanti shanti shanti Om
in goodbyes

Wishing the world
peace, always

And balance
through each night
and sunrise

Selamat hari raya Galungan dan Kuningan

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