The 38th Bali International Arts Festival kicked off on June 11, with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo joining a street parade alongside thousands of artists.
The parade took place in Renon, Denpasar, where all participants encircled the Bajra sandhi Monument, a museum built in the form of a giant genta — a sacred bell used by Hindu high priests. Participants arrived from across the archipelago, including Jakarta, East Java, East Nusa Tenggara, Kalimantan, West Java, Central Java and Yogyakarta.
More than 300 traditional and contemporary arts performances are scheduled throughout Bali’s biggest cultural festival. Around 15,000 artists are expected to take part in the month-long cultural festival, with events scheduled until July 11. The Bali Arts Festival was initiated in 1979 when then-governor Ida Bagus Mantra decided that the local government should provide space and funding to promote local culture so as to nurture an aesthetic community. [dmr]