Survey Party – BYOB

As the Bali Advertiser is now fully online, readership is world wide. For those of you in Singapore, you can take this opportunity to see the work of Bali-based American artist Ashley Bickerton. He runs a wild creative commentary on the various issues confronting him in Bali and in his adventures in the art world itself. Anyone who’s spent time as an expat, will recognize in Bickerton’s works such tropes as border walls, water pollution, the Ugly American, and the farce of exoticism, always addressed with wit and unrestrained intensity.

There is still time to enjoy the Gajah Gallery’s survey show of his work from the last decade, entitled Heresy or Codswollop. Normally, Ashley’s work is quickly snapped up by international collectors and this writer has seen a New York gallery sell out every one of his paintings on opening night. A retrospective like this one is a rare crash course in his personal vision.

The extraordinary details of his work, utilizing computer applications, hyper realist painting, assemblage, and wacky frames are best seen face to face. Lucky is the art lover who can step inside Gajah for this show and get right up close to Bickerton’s finely wrought components, rich textures, and, quite marvelously, the compelling eyes of his female subjects.

If you can afford to buy, and if wish to make the leap from casual collector to serious art investor, this show could affirm your accession to the global art market. The catalog of this show, written by Bangkok-based curator Gregory Galligan, critically locates Bickerton’s position in the canon of contemporary Southeast Asian art.

As for the rest of us, check out the fun-to-use virtual exhibition on Gajah Gallery’s user-friendly site: and +65 6737 4202


Escapist read alert! Remember the plight of the boys’ soccer team, The Wild Boars, who in 2018 ventured with their young coach into that Chang Mai cave on an afternoon excursion, only to end up trapped deep inside by rising waters? Singaporean commercial diver Douglas Dylan Yeo volunteered to join the international rescue team which brought the boys to safety. He recently released his hard knocks autobiographical story, with events and life decisions leading up to his participation in that extraordinary odyssey. It makes for a compelling read, and it’s available for Kindle.

Zero Visibility is the book’s title. Kindle edition is instantly downloadable for $9 (US) on Amazon, or contact his editor:


Lately there has been a lot of buzz about children becoming more at risk for negative emotions and mental instability, since their usual outlets (school, parties, concerts, sporting events and festivals, to name a few) are curtailed or canceled. One of the great ways to elevate a child’s view on life is to get them involved in the arts. How long has it been since they’ve had music or dance lessons, practiced an instrument, joined an online jam, made an art diary or sketch book, written a play, or made a finished video?

Parents can help elevate a child’s mood and sense of purpose by finding out what type of artistic expression appeals to them most. Expect to experiment around with several, before a child embraces the medium of their own choice. Let them find their passion without too much pressure or evaluation.

That said, this artist’s advice (warning: a little profanity) is super:

Online, your youngsters can find dance lessons and painting and calligraphy lessons, scrapbooking videos, and even upcycling videos like (at 10:30, there’s a cool fix for a broken chair leg).

Try this group (Spotlight) for free hiphop moves: and other lessons.

Check out free stop motion animation apps:

Typing “watercolor for kids” and “calligraphy for kids” in a video search can yield days of cool tutorials. Make a “CoVid scrapbook” or a 2021 ziplocked time capsule of current tokens and items about this time in their lives. Tip: you might want to put a dehumidifier sachet in that time capsule before hiding it for, say, a ten-years-after reopening.

Older kids who have fooled around with Power Point can get a lot out of this guy’s animation tips:

One really extraordinary activity that does not require anything more than a smart phone and a data plan or wifi signal is film making. Check out this inspiring video from the One Earth Film Festival.

Submissions from children filmmakers have closed for 2021, but that doesn’t mean your young person can’t start practicing and perfecting their art right away. Their unique take on their surrounds, their family, and their dreams can seldom be captured by adults. In this historic time, records of family life and the viewpoints of children will make for invaluable documentary evidence later on.

Keep a watch for the festival itself on social media, and look for other online children’s festivals. CoVid 19’s silver lining is that you don’t have to travel to enjoy a number of film festivals.

One outstanding online festival, but for an audience of children by adult filmmakers, is the New York International Childrens Film Festival, March 5 – 14. Save those dates and check out to get in the loop.


Did I say film festival? Save these dates for this year’s Balinale: 27 – 31 May.


By Renee Melchert Thorpe

Spreading art news? Make comments and suggestions by email:

Copyright © 2021 MALA Art & Culture

You can read all past articles of MALA Art & Culture at