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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bali Art Festival

French performers and artists are all set to take part in the annual arts festival that gets underway next month

Around 15,000 artists are expected to take part in the 38th Bali Arts Festival, a month-long cultural festival, which this year runs from June 11 until July 9.

More than 300 traditional and contemporary art performances are scheduled to enliven Bali's biggest and most magnificent cultural fiesta.

Ida Ayu Masyeni, arts and movie section head at the Bali Cultural Agency, says a cultural street parade will mark the opening of the festival on the afternoon of June 11. Hundreds of artists from across Bali will participate in the parade, displaying their best performances.

"Representatives of all eight regencies across Bali will perform," Ayu confirms.
The street parade will take place in the Renon area of Denpasar, and all participants will encircle the Bajrasandhi Monument, a museum built in the form of a giant genta — a sacred bell used by Hindu High Priests.
 Beside participants from across Bali, the street parade will also be enlivened by cultural performances from France.

"We are expecting more participants from overseas," says street parade coordinator Anak Agung Gede Raka.

Raka congratulated France for its participation in the event. "This will deepen our relations with France," he says.

After the parade, the event will continue with an opening ceremony on the Ardha Candra open stage at the Bali Arts Centre in Denpasar. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is expected to officially open the event.

The month-long fiesta will take place around the Bali Arts Centre. Besides art performances, the event will also feature arts and handicraft exhibitions, competitions, seminars, movie screenings and culinary events where people can enjoy authentic Balinese food.

Located on Jl. Nusa Indah in downtown Denpasar, the Bali Arts Centre is a cultural complex showcasing traditional Balinese architecture. The Bali Arts Centre contains many stages, an exhibition hall and many other facilities for various cultural activities. It was opened in 1973 and was designed to preserve Balinese culture. The Bali Arts Festival was first held there in 1979.

Masyeni says preparations for the festival are 70 per cent complete. As of now, France is the only country that has confirmed that it will participate in the event. The organisers, however, are still open to other countries taking part.
 "France has confirmed its participation in the Bali Arts Festival. French citizens will participate in the street parade and the opening ceremony," she says.

The organisers acknowledge that foreign participants could be fewer this year as the festival will be held during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadhan. So far, only the province of Central Java has confirmed its attendance at the festival. Last year, at least 14 regencies and provinces took part.

Amandine Grisard, the director of Alliance Francaise Bali, said that French art would be displayed during the parade. Her organisation will collaborate with Printemps Francais 2016, a French-Indonesian Cultural Festival being held in 10 cities across Indonesia, including Denpasar.
Source: The Nation