Get Out and Enjoy – Masked & Vaxxed

The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF21) returns in hybrid form. Online and in-person, in Ubud’s gracious Indus restaurant or on your laptop, it’s a week-long happening for the greatest minds in contemporary literature, local and global. This is Bali’s premier annual romp in the realm of imagination, literature, poetry, diversity, and activism!

Satisfy your senses, October 8 – 10 and 13– 17, through daily offerings that include several free events at the Festival Club which can be seen on Instagram Live at @ubudwritersfest.

Full access passes going for under Rp300,000, this is one of the world’s most affordable literary festivals, right here in our beloved island. Under the stewardship of the Yayasan Saraswati, this festival empowers and facilitates students and emerging writers. Your ticket fee helps our collective future by enriching the literary education of Balinese children.

Pass holders can catch up on any missedsessions by streaming them up to a month later! One session that I’ve circled is Janet Steele interviewing Gods of the Upper Air author Charles King, who will expound on Margaret Meade’s pre- and postwar work in Bali. Read more about how to join in the full daily program, by going to


Staying in? Can’t bear to leave your villa?

No problem. Here is this month’s stellar poolside read. This should appeal to all fans of the thrilling classic Year of Living Dangerously.

Aforementioned scholar of Indonesia Janet Steele (who I think of as a female Tintin) found herself in late 1990’s Jakarta during the nation’s uncertaintransition to democracy. She locatedkey journalists suppressed under Soeharto’s dictatorshipand gave them a voice in her highly praised page-turner, Wars Within. Janet has generously given Bali Advertiser the download link to this otherwise out-of-print book. And it may just supply you with answers you seek, to understand this country’s struggles over human rights.


Young charcoal artists take a fresh look at their village. Photo: CushCush Gsllery

Currently, young curators from Bali and eastern Indonesia are immersed in an online 3 monthsymposium called DenPasar 2021: Rising SEA (also referred to as DPS). They will be interacting with and learning from a number ofIndonesia’s leading multidisciplinary art practitioners who are prominent in their areas of expertise. Presenter CushCush Gallery has organized a sweeping series of activities to respond to missing links in the local arts and creative ecosystem.

CushCush Gallery Co Founder Suriawati Qiu told the Bali Advertiser, “as an independent creative platform based in Bali, we are very happy to see the development of this programto what it is today, and we are in gratitude to many who work tirelessly since thebeginning. Looking back, DPS is our aspiration for voicing out emerging voices and hopes of youngpeople, towards our common better future. This year, we are thankful to have the full support of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology.”

These annual DPS curatorial residencies and teach-ins always culminate in innovative and exciting art projects, exhibition proposals and festivals. Each young curator will be fired with inspiration and vision, having explored and learned from this intensive experience. Look for a brighter future in public engagement with Bali’s contemporary art scene!

CushCush caps the symposium with Colors of Bali, a dynamic exhibition and series of public webinars and workshops celebrating and expanding on traditional fabric andnatural pigments. Academics and researchers come together withworking craftsmen and designers underCushCush’scuratorship and brilliant eye for design and display. Opening event is on 4 December, featuring six artisans and the stories of their crafts.The show runs through 19 December. Jalan Teuku Umar Gang. Rajawali No.1B, DauhPuriKlod, Kec. Denpasar Bar., Kota Denpasar, Bali 80114tel: 0361 242034

CushCush has a furniture factory and atelierjust aside of their beautiful gallery and gift shop (call ahead to visit). Not one scrap of wood is wasted, and these go to their Charcoal For Children project. An artist or writer goes with the CushCush team to villages, where the local childrenlearn how easy it is to make charcoal sticks suitable for drawing or writing, used in the second half of their workshop. The visiting artists and writers create exercises, assignments, or games to raise the children’s environmental awareness, which are charmingly revealed in their creations. Follow along on CushCushgallery_Bali Instagram account.


Since we’re on galleries, here are two exhibitions you might not want to miss. Add to your collection, or just soak in the beauty.

Antonius Kho shows now at J-HUB Art Space, Jimbaran HUB, Jalan Karang Mas. You’ll find enchanting mixed media works under the heading of Spreading Love. Through 16 October. For more info, please call 087875007809.

Beautiful Bandung, Java, is a great destination for contemporary art tourism, and the Selasar Sunaryo Art Space there has an exhibition of sculptures by veteran artist and art educator Rita Widagdo, entitled Ekuilibrium. If we can get out and about safely, these blue chipworks will be waiting for us there until 24 December. Jl Bukit Pakar Timur 100, Bandung. This gallery takes public health seriously, and visiting time is limited to hourly slots, so call ahead to reserve your visit. 0222507939


Zero-waste Potato Head Beach Club in Seminyak has reopened and should soon be launching special family and cultural events. Keep watching their website for updates


The Balinale, Bali’s first-rate international film festival, is ON! Theatres have waited patiently for the government to open the curtains and light up the big screens. Go see the greatest new releases in a wide variety of genres, November 18 – 21. Watch for program, ticket sales, and schedule:, Instagram bali.nale, facebookBALINALE International Film Festival, and twitter Balinale.


By Renee Melchert Thorpe

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