The Jakarta Post
Dancers perform in a street parade for the Bali Arts Festival in Denpasar, Bali, on Saturday. (The Jakarta Post/Zul Trio Anggono)
More than 4,000 performers hit the street in Bali on Saturday to showcase the richness of their culture, marking the start of the 41st Bali Arts Festival.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo officially launched the parade by hitting the traditional wooden kulkul bell in front of the Bajrasandhi monument, which honors the struggles of the Balinese people throughout history.
"Today I open and launch the parade of the 41st Bali Arts Festival. Matur suksma (thank you)," Jokowi said in a very short remark.
Jokowi was accompanied by Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises Minister Anak Agung Gede Ngurah Puspayoga, Cabinet Secretary Pramono Anung and Education and Culture Minister Muhajir Effendy. Also attending the event were First Lady Iriana Joko Widodo, Gibran Rakabuming Raka with his wife Selvi Ananda and their son Jan Ethes, as well as Kahiyang Ayu, her husband Bobby Nasution and their daughter Sedah Mirah Nasution. Jokowi and his family were wearing Balinese attire.
In addition to Balinese performers, the parade was enlivened by art troupes from other parts of the archipelago and from abroad, such as Papua, Sumenep in East Java and China.
The Bali Arts Festival, which will feature the 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. The Werdhi Budaya Art Center, a spacious cultural compound in Denpasar, will host the monthlong event.
First held in 1979 to provide space and funding to promote local culture, the Bali Arts Festival has become Indonesia's longest-running art festival.
The theme for this year is: “Bayu Pramana: Memuliakan Sumber Daya Angin” (Glorifying Wind Resources), as the event celebrates wind as a source of life.
Bali Governor I Wayan Koster stressed the festival’s role in preserving the island’s culture. "The Bali Arts Festival is an important tool to preserve and develop the unique and rich Balinese culture, an astounding legacy from our ancestors," Koster emphasized.
Beside art performances, the festival will feature workshops, exhibitions, seminars, competitions and culinary events featuring authentic Balinese cuisine. (kes)
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