BALI - Welcome to Paradise
Press release:

BALI - Welcome to Paradise

The ‘BALI – Welcome to Paradise’ exhibition opening on October 12 showcases this popular holiday destination but also reveals the less than idyllic side of life on the island

Visit the exhibition as a curious tourist and leave the museum as an inspired traveller enriched by fresh insights. The journey will take you past 250 objects, including the museum’s Indonesia collection and the work of contemporary Balinese artists. And you’ll see how urbanization and the effects of plastic pollution are having an impact on island life.
 

Think of Bali and the name conjures up an image of white sandy beaches, ancient temples and paddy fields stretching as far as the eye can see. That paradisiacal image was created by the Dutch during the colonial era, as a smoke screen for the island’s conquest and the bloody battles fought. Since then the island has become a tourist magnet, synonymous with relaxation and a haven of spiritual renewal. But mass tourism, together with the creeping urbanization swallowing up Bali’s rice fields and the plastic waste engulfing its shores, pose an increasing threat. The Indonesian island’s fate reflects a worldwide problem. 

The white surfers’ beaches of Bali

Meet island dwellers

The Museum Volkenkunde presents the story of Bali through its world-famous ethnological collection and striking encounters with various island dwellers. Learn how a Hindu priest is attempting to preserve ancient traditions and rituals and meet the Balinese artist and activist Made Bayak, seeking to draw attention to the dangers posed by plastic waste. But hear too a Balinese working in the tourist industry, who sees a future for the island where the rice fields look set to disappear. Discover how this island paradise is feeling the strain but how its culture is still vibrant and alive.

Press photos

Doors to the ruined palace of Badung. Denpasar, Badung, circa 1800-1850, wood. Collection Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen
Doors to the ruined palace of Badung. Denpasar, Badung, circa 1800-1850, wood. Collection Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen. Photo: Ben Grishaaver
Sacrificial altar in the shape of a mythical animal. Bali, around 1900, wood. Collection Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen
Sacrificial altar in the shape of a mythical animal. Bali, around 1900, wood. Collection Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen. Photo: Ben Grishaaver
Made Bayak, The secret Sanghyang dance for Ibu Pertiwi. Guwang, Sukawati, 2017, acrylic paint and aerosol at plastic waste. Collection Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen
Made Bayak, The secret Sanghyang dance for Ibu Pertiwi. Guwang, Sukawati, 2017, acrylic paint and aerosol on plastic waste. Collection Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen
The white surfers’ beaches of Bali
The white surfers’ beaches of Bali
Plastic washed up on Kuta beach
Plastic washed up on Kuta beach, Bali, Februari 2017. Photo Shutterstock, Maxim Blinkov
Danshesje, buitgemaakt bij de puputan van Klungkung, fluweel, goud, 1850-1900, Klungkung. Collectie Stichting Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen
Danshesje, buitgemaakt bij de puputan van Klungkung, fluweel, goud, 1850-1900, Klungkung. Collectie Stichting Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen
Gouden offerschaal, buitgemaakt bij de puputan van Klungkung, goud, voor 1908, Klungkung. Collectie Stichting Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen
Gouden offerschaal, buitgemaakt bij de puputan van Klungkung, goud, voor 1908, Klungkung. Collectie Stichting Nationaal Museum van Wereldculturen