The Jakarta Post
Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika said Bali Arts Festival was an annual event that served as a way for the country to express its deep appreciation for Balinese artists. (JP/Ni Komang Erviani)
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is set to open the 2019 Bali Arts Festival, Indonesia’s longest-running art festival, on June 15. Jokowi is expected to launch the festival’s cultural street parade in the afternoon, as well as officiate the festival in the evening.
“He is scheduled to attend both the cultural parade and the opening ceremony. The President will be accompanied by his wife, son and grandchildren. The first lady will also take 15 wives of ministers to the event,” said Bali Governor I Wayan Koster at the press conference on Monday.
Koster went on to say that further plans would be discussed in the meeting with the presidential protocol team on Tuesday at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta.
“Hopefully there will not be any obstacles [for the president] to come to Bali,” said Koster.
Bali Arts Festival, which will feature a wealth of Balinese art and culture, is slated to run from June 15 to July 13. Tens of thousands of Balinese artists will take part in the festival, which returns for the 41st time, to celebrate wind as a source of life through the theme “Bayu Pramana: Memuliakan Sumber Daya Angin” (Glorifying Wind Resources).
A street cultural parade will mark the opening of the festival on the afternoon of June 15, followed by the official opening ceremony in the evening.
The street parade will feature more than 1,500 performers on Jl. Raya Puputan Renon Denpasar, encircling the Bajrasandhi monument, which honors the struggles of Balinese people throughout history.
Art and cultural performances from across Bali will be showcased in the parade, as well as performances from art troupes hailing from other parts of the archipelago and abroad, such as Papua, Sumenep in East Java, India and China.
The opening ceremony will take place at the Werdhi Budaya Art Center, a spacious cultural compound in Denpasar set to host the festival for one month. A dance drama entitled “Bali Padma Bhuwana” performed by students of the Indonesian Art Institute (ISI) Denpasar will enliven the opening ceremony.
The Bali Arts Festival was first held in 1979 when then-governor Ida Bagus Mantra decided to provide space and funding to promote local culture. Beside art performances, the festival will also feature an art and handicraft exhibition, workshops, seminars, competitions and culinary events featuring authentic Balinese cuisine. (mut)