On Sunday, 12 June 2022, the Bali Arts Festival kicked off the return of its full live program with an extraordinary parade on the streets of Denpasar, in front of the Bajra Sandhi Monument. This stunning opening event marked the beginning of a month-long celebration of Balinese culture across the island, including art, music and literature.
Held annually, the Bali Arts Festival, locally known as Pesta Kesenian Bali, was first held in 1979 by the late Professor Ida Bagus Mantra. It is the cultural highlight of the year, where all aspects of art are displayed for a whole month. Everything from traditional dances, costume parades, art displays and exhibitions and musical performances are expected here as different banjars (village communities), sanggars (art groups) and districts compete against one another.
Video of Bali Arts Festival 2022 Opening Parade:
Bali Arts Festival 2022 will feature 16.000 artists and 200 art groups. It is the best place for visitors and locals alike to witness aspects of local culture otherwise difficult to see or find around the island, as all agglomerate in this one destination.
Every year, the festival holds a different theme, hoping to explore different creative ideas or cultural components – this also adds some variety to this cultural extravaganza. The theme for 2022 is “Danu Kerthi: Huluning Amreta” (Glorifying the Water of the Source of Life), bringing awareness to the role and importance of water in Bali.
2022 mark’s the festival’s 44th year and the return of a full in-person program from 12 June to 10 July 2022. The majority of events and performances are held at the Taman Werdhi Budaya Arts Center in Denpasar, but the program also extends to the Indonesian Institution of Arts (ISI) Denpasar, the Bajra Sandhi Monument, amongst other venues in Bali’s capital.
For those hoping to watch one of the many Balinese dances and musical performances can download the full schedule for Bali Arts Festival 2022 here (in Indonesian). For those unable to read Indonesian, a safe bet would be to take note of the events taking place at the ‘Panggung Terbuka Ardha Candra’ (Ardha Candra Amphitheatre), which is the largest stage at Taman Werdhi Budaya Art Centre. The majority of the events will take place here at 7PM and will showcase an impressive array of artistic performances. Another venue to note is Kalangan Ayodya, also a stage at the Arts Center.
Those not in Bali or who cannot make it to Denpasar can watch a few of the performances through a live stream on YouTube via the Bali Ministry of Culture’s Channel here: youtube.com/c/DisbudProvBali
Running in conjunction with the festival is an art exhibition spread across four venues in Bali, those being: Gedung Kriya Taman Budaya (at the Arts Center), Museum Puri Lukisan, NEKA Museum and ARMA Museum.
Painters and sculptors across the island were invited to submit their work in an open invitation based on the festival’s theme relating to water, the source of life and creation. 121 artists (47 hand-selected, 68 from open invitation) now have their works on display throughout the listed venues.
The styles of art presented are a testament to the variety found in Bali, including: Kamasan, Batuan, Padangtegal, Pengosekan, Ubud, Keliki, Young Artist, Nyuh Kuning, Mas, Kerambitan, to Nagasepaha.