Art surfing on Bali’s streets

WHILE locals and tourists ride their boards and surf the waves of beaches in Bali, art surfs the walls of the city for everyone to see and admire.
It’s hard not to notice the “canvasses” of the local artists in Bali.

Walk, pedal, or commute at some point there is a pop of color that will maneuver your attention towards a panel. It only takes a slight glimpse from the corner of the eye and boom! That’s enough to make your head turn and confront an opus.

Bali is known to be an art haven with Ubud as its center, but not exclusive to this highland destination. Art is all over the paradise island and it’s aging gracefully, evolving with time.

The island’s artworks go beyond the usual tourists’ expectation — carved busts and statues of Hindu gods, wooden masks and Wayang puppets, or even the paintings on canvasses, the traditional art forms exhibited and sold by the countless galleries from Ubud to the coastline.

For some time now, there is a revolution of the good kind. No political undertones to the pieces, no rebellious screams, just an expression of beauty. Artists have taken to the streets and brought their passion to the pedestrians. Interaction between man and “canvas” is no longer exclusive to indoor exhibitions.

As for the local groups, the Bali Street Art, would say, “This paradise island is actually filled with tons of amazing street and modern art that are not known yet to many, but deserve all the rave.”

The art society is eyeing to make their charming isle of the gods as the next hot spot for modern art after Jakarta, Yogyakarta and Bandung. And it seems to be working.

In my recent visit to the island, I was impressed with the graffiti art. Art covers and beautifies the exterior walls of restaurants, apartment buildings, and the sidewalk.

These are certainly a plus point for the establishment as it can attract the passerby like me. Each one I saw stopped me on my track and lured my vision from the mural to the product it is attached to. It was the same wherever I went including Ubud, Seminyak, Kuta, Canggu, Legian, and many more.

Maybe the constant visual contact with art across the island made the hours of walking along the inner coastline and inner streets possible. The short break of admiring an art piece (the window shopping as well) was the needed rest time before pursuing the exploration on foot. Time flew by quickly this way.

This was just last year, perhaps on the next visit to Bali, there will be more wall art to painted on the island walls. It’s free art from the isle of the gods for the world.


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