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Experience the island of paradise in a new way with KEMBALI 2020: A Rebuild Bali Festival

Posted: 16 October 2020

More than just a Festival, KEMBALI 2020: A Rebuild Bali Festival (KEMBALI20) is aimed at boosting Indonesia’s creative industries of literature, art and gastronomy to give a voice to Bali’s young entrepreneurs and to embrace extraordinary international talent. From 29 October – 8 November, experience Bali like never before with over 120 authors, artists, journalists, farmers, chefs, and activists.

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati – an independent, not-for-profit foundation in Ubud, Bali – postponed two renowned international events, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) and Ubud Food Festival (UFF). The Foundation then took the best of the two Festivals and reimagined it into a new, interactive, digital celebration of literature, arts, culinary, and culture.

After revealing the full lineup and over 60 digital programs, KEMBALI20 is now launching a series of free events, which includes Teater Kuliner cooking challenges, Music & Arts performances, and Film Screenings. The free events are accessible on the Festival’s official website and YouTube channel.

“Kembali means return and declares that the Festival is back, and we are bringing Bali back to you, in a way that has never before been experienced. We’re not showing you the tourist destinations or popular spots to take pictures, but we want you to see the island in its truest form,” commented KEMBALI20 Founder and Director, Janet DeNeefe. “The community, the land, the authenticities that are often unseen by the public, we are sharing the best of Bali.”

Among the Music & Arts events, KEMBALI20 presents the annual Poetry Slam, one of UWRF’s most sizzling events, in a digital format. Collaborating with Bali’s only dedicated poetry slam collective, Unspoken, this event is set to be a Festival highlight. After the passing of the late, great Sapardi Djoko Damono, Balinese dancer Dewa Ayu Eka Putri will show a touching tribute to the legendary figure in Indonesian literature. Other events include experimental theatre, Laksmi Pamuntjak‘s reading of Fall Baby, Ubud contemporary dance, poetry and music.

In an exciting celebrity-versus-chefs cook-up, the Festival’s Teater Kuliner will present Susi Pudjiastuti, former Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, who will cook alongside Chef Bart van Olphen, one of the world’s most passionate sustainable fishing advocates from Amsterdam. They are teaming up to cook a traditional Middle Eastern fish dish, Chraime.

Indonesian rockstar Kaka Slank has accepted the virtual cooking challenge from leading Indonesian Chef Aga Alvian. They each will whip up their own versions of a vegan burger.

The Film Screenings give audiences the opportunity to interact directly with filmmakers, producers and authors. The Festival is screening an exclusive premiere of Our Mothers’ Land, a documentary that follows journalist Febriana Firdaus’ journey in highlighting women in Indonesia who have risen to lead social movements, facing violence, imprisonment, and judgement from conservative societies as they fight for their rights.

Determined to document and celebrate the resilience and adaptation of Balinese during the pandemic, the Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati team set out with local filmmaker Wayan Martino to collect stories from farms, learning centers, and home industries. During the Festival, enjoy five inspiring Stories from the Field, a chance for global audience to see more to Bali than just beaches and rice paddies. The audience is invited to explore an eco-house in Bengkala village, the Pedawa Village in North Bali known for its palm sugar and local mythology, efforts to involve the local community in vanilla farming, the top of Bali’s coffee trade and the sacred nature of traditional Balinese cuisine.

“We are proud to present the Stories from the Field series as it displays an honest and beautiful portrayal of Balinese culture and people,” continued Janet DeNeefe. “From our very first year, all of our initiatives are dedicated to our community and we hope to do the same this year. KEMBALI20 aims to help fulfill the creative needs of Indonesia, while still showcasing its cultural diversity to the world.”

Free Events now live on our website. By contributing to the Yayasan Patron Program, you’ll be supporting the world of literature and art in Indonesia. Sign up to our enews and follow us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook for the latest updates.