By Rosie Clynes
Following our Festival Guide outlining some of the UWRF17’s most intriguing Indonesian writers and events, this week we turn to the staggeringly diverse cultures and artforms from across the archipelago. Here is Part 1 of our two-part guide, focusing on all things language, food, creativity and current affairs, with a handful of regional highlights thrown in for good measure.
First thing’s first: if you want to delve deep into the culture, a spot of language will make all the difference. Grab some fresh jaja Bali and a cup of kopi tubruk (Balinese cake and coffee) and start your Festival day with brand new Balinese or Indonesian phrases – whether that be selamat siang to greet new friends or matur suksma to thank your favorite Festival speaker.
Bhinneka Tunggal Ika or ‘Unity in Diversity’ is the Indonesian Republic’s national motto, honoring its vast geography and cultural complexity. For all things plurality, power and politics, don’t miss Tanah Airku, which sees an Indonesian journalist, comedian, government official, activist and poet reflect on this philosophy amid Indonesia’s rising religious conservatism. For a deciphering of some of the democracy’s recent note-worthy events, join seasoned journalist and Indonesia’s Human Rights Watch Andreas Harsono, as he considers what it means to keep a close watch.
This year is the 350th anniversary of the ‘swapping’ of the tiny island of Run in the Banda Islands, with what was then the swampy outpost of Manhattan. Ever since, Run and the Banda Islands have captured the curiosity of many intrepid travelers. Banda Tales on Day One sees four writers share their connection with this quiet Eastern corner of Indonesia, while a three-course lunch at Casa Luna with Festival Founder & Director Janet De Neefe and a host of other exciting guests explores its incredible flavors. Tempted? Grab a drink at Bar Luna for a photographic tour or a canapé at the free launch of Jan Russell’s new book exploring the islands’ rich history.
Another remote corner of Indonesia’s East, Timor also takes the spotlight at UWRF17. Food activist and writer Dicky Senda will take you on a culinary quest through his highland hometown of Mollo in Food Memories from the Heart of Timor. He’ll reflect on his cultural roots in a special session at our Festival Club, too. In partnership with Threads of Life, UWRF also presents the rare opportunity to listen to two traditional Adat leaders, Matheos Anin and Willy Daos Kadati, as they speak of Timor through musical lore and traditional origin stories. If you’re yearning for a visual journey, don’t miss the free book launch and art exhibit of photographer David Palazón‘s stunning photo essays of this distinct and unique region.
From humble beginnings in 2002, UWRF has held a steadfast loyalty to Ubud and to Bali, including a program of panels bursting with Balinese spirit. Bali in Frame is an exciting look into the ever-shifting artistic backdrop of the island by its youngest generation of contemporary creatives. To Preserve and Promote sees a diverse group of inspired Balinese youth discuss their innovative efforts to preserve and promote their heritage. Breaking Boundaries turns toward the remarkable resilience of Balinese women who, amid countless ceremonies and social obligations, still excel in the fields of art and activism. Finally, Paradise in Peril? takes a deep look into the tourism industry that has been responsible for both the rise in wealth and the reduction of many of the island’s resources.
If you’re a dedicated foodie then it’s time to let your tastebuds do the traveling in The Kitchen – our tasty series of cooking demos led by the Festival’s food fiends. Festival-goers can explore regional delicacies such as North Sumatran Batak Cuisine with a renowned food activist; Balinese Ceremonial Food with a culinary expert, or the famous Balinese sate lilit with a local chef. Can’t decide? Try it all – our Long Table Lunch at Nusantara by Locavore will showcase an array of the archipelago’s exceptional cuisine.
If you’re just as keen on simmering or stewing as you are about feasting, why not learn a thing or two about Indonesian cooking? Get back to basics with Indonesia’s iconic ingredients – from crafting homemade tempe, using local food as medicine, to unearthing the healing properties of Ubud’s wild-growing herbs. If a stretch of the legs is what you’re after, wander through Ubud’s verdant rice fields on a culinary tour, featuring the kings of traditional Balinese ayam betutu and bebek betutu, or even take to the market in a colorful Balinese cooking class with the team at Casa Luna.
Excited for even more adventures into the heart of all things Indonesian culture and creativity? Stay tuned for Part 2 next week!
Tickets to Workshops and events at The Kitchen can be purchased by clicking the Buy Ticket link on the individual event pages. For Main Program tickets click the button below.