14 ways to explore Indonesian literature and arts at Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2019

Posted: 08 October 2019 Author: sikuska

Indonesia is a country rich in cultures. Not only does it have hundreds of Indigenous cultures with different languages, religions, beliefs and traditions, it’s also a society in continuous transition! From the colonial era, to the reformation era and now the modern era, the richness of Indonesian culture has always been reflected in its literary landscape. At UWRF you can join writers, journalists, activists, and artists of the world’s fourth most populous country in panels, workshops, art exhibitions, film screenings and more. To get you started, here are 14 events at which you can explore Indonesian literature and arts at our 16th year. 

1. Cultural Workshop: Bahasa Indonesia Breakfast, 24 Oct, 08:00 – 08:45, Joglo @ Taman Baca

Kick-start your Festival day with traditional Balinese treats and coffee, while learning the basics of Bahasa Indonesia with the bubbly team from Cinta Bahasa. Learn key greetings, the dos and don’ts, as well as useful Indonesian phrases that will help you make the most of your time in Ubud. You will also receive a language booklet to help you wherever you go. 

2. Main Program: Indonesian Emerging Writers 2019, 24 Oct, 11:45 – 12:45, Taman Baca

Each year UWRF calls out to emerging writers across the archipelago to send their stories. This year we received 1,253 submissions, the highest number since the Emerging Writers program’s inception in 2008. The works of five talented wordsmiths were selected for publication in our annual Bilingual Anthology. Come and hear about their journeys to UWRF, and hopes for their creative futures.

3. Special Event: Arts of the Archipelago, 24 Oct, 17:30 – 19:30, Padma Resort

Join us for a magical evening at Padma Resort, featuring Papuan dance, poetry readings, and a solo recital by Jakarta-born pianist and composer Ananda Sukarlan. The Sydney Morning Herald named him “one of the world’s leading pianists … at the forefront of championing new piano music”. While relishing the beautiful arts of the archipelago, you can enjoy a selection of canapés, wine and juice, an optional buffet dinner, and transfers.

4. Art Exhibition: Karma Phala, 24 Oct, 10:00 – 22:00, Casa Luna

For Balinese Hindus, Karma Phala is the spiritual principle that each action has a consequence equal in force, and similar in form. The creator of the UWRF19 artwork, Samuel Indratma is a community visual artist and one of the Founders of the prominent Yogyakarta public art collective, Apotik Komik. Learn more about how he translates the Festival’s theme Karma through his art. The exhibition runs from 24 October–24 November, with the launch at 7pm on 24 October.

5. Main Program: Bali’s Art Activists, 25 Oct, 11:45 – 12:45, Taman Baca

The work of the island’s local contemporary artists and writers provides a window into Bali beyond the beaches and swaying palms. Meet a young writer and literacy activist fostering a love of reading among Balinese children, a sculpture and installation artist sparking a return to eco-friendly materials, and a photographer documenting the conditions of Balinese living with mental illness.

6. Festival Club: Didiet Maulana: Indonesian Chic, 25 Oct, 19:30 – 20:30, Bar Luna

Meet Didiet Maulana, the young Indonesian fashion designer with an eye for style and a heart for his homeland. Established his own brand Ikat Indonesia in 2011, Didiet aims to develop Indonesian woven fabric as the focus of his fashion line. He has garnered international praise for showcasing Indonesia’s signature woven patterns in comfortable yet chic cuts.

7. Film Screening: Kucumbu Tubuh Indahku (Memories of My Body) (2018), 25 Oct, 20:00 – 22:00, Taman Baca

Watch the winding inner journey of a Javanese Lengger Lanang dancer, captured by the legendary director Garin Nugroho. Before its Indonesian premiere, it had already won various awards in the international film scene, including at the Asia Pacific Screen Awards and Festival of the Three Continents in France in 2018.

8. Main Program: Peripheral Vision, 26 Oct, 14:30 – 15:30, Indus

A nation of more than 17,000 islands yet – just like with its presidents – when it comes to publishing those from outside Java are too often overlooked. But the eastern winds of change are blowing, and demand for regionally diverse voices is growing. Hailing from Eastern Indonesia, these writers will share their challenges and triumphs to be recognized on the national stage.

9. Art Exhibition: Sagilik Saguluk Art Fair, 26 Oct, 11:00 – 19:00, Workshop

The Sagilik Saguluk Art Fair, initiated by some of Bali’s most prolific artists, brings together a selection of Indonesia’s most interesting contemporary artists to provide a unique opportunity to buy and appreciate their art directly. This one-off event will showcase an eclectic range of styles working across multiple mediums including street art, printmaking, ceramics and contemporary batik. You can enjoy the exhibition from 26 October–2 November, with the launch at 3pm on 26 October.

10. Main Program: Homegrown Heroes, 26 Oct, 15:45 – 17:00, Taman Baca

Indonesian comic superheroes have long been in the stranglehold of foreign character translations. But the Marvel Cinematic Universe is creating demand for local superheroes, along with Gundala, a recent film based on the character created by Hasmi in 1969. Join our panel of graphic gurus and serial storytellers as they sketch reasons why now is the time for homegrown heroes to shine.

11. Film Screening: Aruna dan Lidahnya (Aruna and Her Palate) (2018), 26 Oct, 18:00 – 21:15, Taman Baca

Directed by Edwin, Aruna dan Lidahnya is an adaptation of the novel by Laksmi Pamuntjak. Aruna embarks on a culinary adventure with her two best friends, but along the way she meets someone from her past. While sampling local specialties, their conversations reveal many hidden secrets. Throughout the screening, you can sample mouthwatering homey dishes created by Chef Bara inspired by the novel and the film.

12. Special Event: Power, Politics, and Poetry Under the Stars, 26 Oct, 20:00 – 23:00, Blanco Museum

UWRF returns to the magical gardens of Blanco Museum for a one-off evening of performance poetry and immersive music. Join this rare opportunity to see world-renowned spoken word artists share the stage with one of Indonesia’s most progressive musicians, Nova Ruth, as she performs her new interactive storytelling production, Napak Tilas.

13. Main Program: Indonesian Cinema as Soft Power, 27 Oct, 11:45 – 12:45, Taman Baca

With a vast domestic market and burgeoning production power, Indonesia’s film industry has huge potential. In recent times, Indonesian films and industry professionals have enjoyed rising international prominence. Could Indonesian cinema be a form of soft power to expand the nation’s impact on regional and global cultural scenes? What does the future hold for homegrown films? Join our cinephiles to find out!.

14. Book Launch: UWRF19 Bilingual Anthology, 27 Oct, 16:00 – 17:30, Joglo @ Taman Baca

Each year UWRF puts a call out to emerging writers across the archipelago: send us your stories. From hundreds of submissions, the most outstanding new Indonesian voices are published in the annual Bilingual Anthology, alongside pieces specially selected by the curatorial team. The Anthology is a rich insight into the nation’s language, culture, history and mythology. Join us to celebrate!.

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