The Bali Dreamers…..
So back in Bali to find lots of things to do, my road is again blocked for the big mass cremation next month and so on. I get an invite in my mailbox which intrigues me:An exhibition of classic old photographs organized by Meriem and Marizio Rosenberg Colorni, under the auspices of the ARTI Foundation. Wow, sounds great. It is scheduled for the day before the official opening of annual Bali Arts Festival (PSB). I drive into a completely chaotic parking cum night market scene at Denpasar’s Art Centre. There are stalls being set up on the driveway, there is no signage, no official personnel to guide you. A classic Denpasar mess. I finally find the little building in the corner and see old friends Rucina Ballinger, Garret Kam, Suteja Neka, Pino Confessa – all old Bali culture hands. The mayor of Denpasar is on hand. We stand in the courtyard eating gado-gado, and finally Maurizio makes a little speech about history, and finally we walk in. I have to be honest, it’s all a bit of a disappointment. The prints are so-so, some I would venture look like they have been reproduced out of old books, the rooms is small and hot with all the halogen lights, the prints are hung double on the wall (not my favourite), there is nothing about the provenance of the prints (OK, they are all most likely public domain now but still..).It’s all very slapdash, and somehow it fits with the title “Mimpi” which means dream. Somebody was dreaming here and not really putting it together. I am saying this not to be bitchy but because this could have been something really important for the Balinese and it just falls a bit flat. It is interesting to see some images which are “new” to the public: the prints from the private collection of the Blanco family. Apparently (as advertised) you can buy some of the prints too, for Rp 2,100,000. No mention of where the money is going though. Even for Bali it is a little amateurish.——-Saturday I spend shooting with Jerome Abel Seguin, the sanguine Frenchman who has been doing very amazing furniture out of huge pieces of wood and iron scrap for years before it became fashionable in Bali’s villa circuit. Originally based in Lombok and Sumbawa, he has now moved the operation to Bali. —–On the way there is heavy traffic: the President, Mr SBY is on his way to open the annual Bali Art Festival… Have to say I am not so happy with my president after he came out with his quasi ban on Ahmadiyyah, caving in to FPI supporters and throwing a sop to the opposition (not that it worked) by not making it an “outright” ban, vaguely trying to avoid being unconstitutional. If it really is meant to reinforce the current law against evangelism, why make a decree? Why not just enforce the law across the board? How hopeless all this tightrope walking is.