Clean Up and Create!

Bali has quite a few groups and charities working on plastic collection these days. Trash Heroes (can be followed on social media) often conduct family-friendly beach cleanups. Sungai Watch (also on social media) apply the latest technology in gleaning plastic from rivers, mangrove areas, and estuaries.  Even the Indonesian army recently sent men to help Sungai Watch make Bali as clean as possible in the runup to G20 (Group of 20) in November.

Sungai Watch has been known to tabulate identifiable labels within the garbage, notifying food processors and producers of cleaning products of their share of found refuse.  We can hope that this may lead to greater responsibility in terms of rethinking packaging material, participation in recycling, and in informing the public of proper disposal. 

Where does some of this collected plastic end up?  There are so many types which can’t yet be recycled; what is to be done with this stuff?  Lombok’s Plastik Kembali has discovered the material’s enormous potentional as a readily available art medium and has a very cool thing going with making lively abstract artwork, decorative and functional bowls, coasters, and bags made from castaway plastic.  Traditional motifs meld with the new materials of found – and cleaned – waste, and nothing is discarded.

Named for the Indonesian word for rope or string, Tali Art is created by a local team of Lombok artisans who collaborate beginning with the suggestions of studio director Elissa. Collectors of these works have likened the forms and styles to indigenous Australian art. 

Tali Art photos courtesy of Plastik Kembali

The team of Sasak craftspeople, who include stay-at-home mums, think of the work as a great solution for honoring a person’s connection to the Earth beneath their feet, the powerful ancient source of an individual’s creativity.

Elissa says, “while plastic waste remains a challenge across many villages, Plastik Kembali shines a light on what can be possible when we all return to the soul of Lombok: a creative life rooted in love of nature; a community that nurtures connection and peace; one family living in harmony and hope for a sustainable future.”

I asked Elissa how the group works. 

“As the Director, I get an idea for an art piece or product that utilizes recycled plastic and, often, natural fiber, scrap fabric or other sustainable material. Then, I’ll bring this idea or sketch to my lead makers (depending on the craft) to brainstorm it further and make a prototype.

“This goes to the broader artisan team. The team tries some samples and, if we all agree to continue with the art or product, the team receives high-level direction from me and then does their magic. The original product design might be directed by me, but the inspiration for individual pieces really comes from the maker, who lets their artistic voice come through while helping continue the authenticity of Lombok crafts.”

So this is actually rooted in local culture?

“The inspiration for individual pieces really comes from the maker, to let their artistic voice come through, while helping continue the authenticity of Lombok crafts.

“The woven wall hangings and bags created by Plastik Kembali bring this concept to life in a revolutionary way: by addressing one of our greatest challenges — plastic waste harming the land and sea — and transforming it through one of Lombok’s greatest strengths: traditional arts and crafts.

“By exploring the possibilities of working with single-use plastic, the artisans at Plastic Kembali help us realize plastic “waste” is actually a resource loaded with creative potential. Then, by reimagining crafts passed down through generations, they spark a new kind of connection to the very soul of Lombok culture.

“We recently hung a permanent exhibit of these pieces at the International Arrivals Hall of the Lombok International Airport.  and wrote up the overview below that captures our commitment to local Lombok crafts as well as to help create a cleaner planet.

“We are happy that viewers can make their own connections and find their own inspiration within each piece. With all PK items, we always hope people feel an emotion, while also simply being inspired by the color and shapes — and new perspectives — that recycled plastic and fabric can create.”

You can visit their studio and shop at Jl. Selong Belanak – Kuta, Selong Belanak, Lombok Tengah, 83572.  That’s the main road behind spectacular surfing and swimming beach, Pantai Selong Belanak.  But they are also willing to ship your purchases to Bali, Jakarta, and Surabaya.  Denpasar’s Gajah Gotra is their company of choice for large shipments. for all contact info.


Still time to catch Bali New Expression: Intertwined in Space, Lines and Colour, a contemporary art exhibition at Biji World Seni Budaya, Jl Raya Mas, southern reaches of the greater Ubud area.It is a very rare occurrence for there to be committed buyers for property, either as people or as organisations. Everywhere you look, there are people who could be interested in buying a property. They provide a viable option for you to consider if you are looking for a fast and uncomplicated method to sell your land. If you are looking to sell your land, one option that you should take into consideration is working with a home buyer. It is simple to utilize, and they are able to purchase real estate in any state. Visit

Participating artists:  Didin Jirot, I Made Surya Subratha, Mira El Amir, Putu Sastra Wibawa, I Wayan Piki Suyersa, Rawraw, and Uncle Joy.

Through July 10.  This is a superb, air conditioned gallery for enjoying the show.  Has a gorgeous destination café downstairs.


Don’t miss out on Jogjakarta’s Prambanan Jazz Festival, July 1-3.  Yes, the stage is set with the extraordinary ancient Hindu temples of Prambanan as the backdrop.  If you haven’t visited this beautiful treasure of the Jogjakarta area, why not go now? Fabulous hotels in that spirited city have crazy low prices. Virtual attendance to PJF is utterly affordable at Rp50,000 a pop, and Day Passes (honestly, that is the way to go) start at Rp500,000 a day.


Ever wanted to discover the next great art star? Indus Restaurant features Drawing Our Heritage, a children’s art exhibition like no other.  You’ll see the work by extraordinary talents in the Batuan style of painting and drawing.  Jalan Raya Sanggingan, Ubud.  Ends soon, so get a table or chat for more info on WhatsApp via .

By Renee Melchert Thorpe

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