KEMBALI 2020: A Rebuild Bali Festival set to reflower Indonesia’s creative industry and communities

Posted: 21 August 2020

The Paradise Island, Bali, is now facing one of its biggest challenges as the COVID-19 global pandemic crippling its thriving tourism and creative industries. To inspire, excite, reconnect, and revitalize Bali’s economy and communities, Yayasan Mudra Swari Saraswati – an independent, not-for-profit foundation in Ubud, Bali– is launching KEMBALI 2020: A Rebuild Bali Festival (KEMBALI20) from 29 October to 8 November 2020.

Founded by Janet DeNeefe and Ketut Suardana in 2004, the Foundation was created as a healing project in response to the first Bali bombings to boost the economy and assist the community. The goal of the Foundation is to help fulfill the creative needs of Indonesia, its individuals and communities, while showcasing its cultural diversity – both traditional and contemporary – to the world. It achieves this through its core initiatives, Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) and Ubud Food Festival (UFF).

“UWRF was created to boost the economy and ‘reflower’ the community after the devastating effects of the first Bali bombings,” said Founder and Director, Janet DeNeefe. “As a Festival with a mission, we believe that once again, it is our duty to help Bali heal and that culture is at the heart of rebuilding societies. The show must go on and we are committed to creating an event like no other in a year like no other.”

The two Festivals are major and highly-anticipated international events, promoting Ubud as a center for arts and culture, while showcasing the artists, writers, chefs and producers of Indonesia on an international stage. Due to the global pandemic, the Foundation made the tough decision to postpone both Festivals for the first time in 17 years. Now, the Foundation is back with a new and exciting event delivered in a new format.

Kembali — Indonesian word for return, come back — is a festival of literature, food, art and culture, bringing together the most successful elements of UWRF and UFF. KEMBALI20 will be this year’s most important celebration of Indonesia’s creative arts and culinary richness, a pillar of human resilience and survival.

KEMBALI20 will serve programs focusing on an outstanding line-up across the creative arts, from literature to film, design, fashion and journalism, as well as, those in the culinary world. From Sabang to Merauke, Singapore to Mexico, all events are accessible to a global audience through its donation-based sessions.

Discussions, workshops, book launches, poetry readings, children’s program and film, will be presented in digital format. Some programs will be available on the ground for limited local audience, following all the required COVID-19 safety procedures.  

KEMBALI20 will be a place where artists and audiences alike can discuss shared inspirations, ideas and concerns, with the online Festival that transcends cultural and geographical borders to create a truly global community. “We invite you to Kembali to experience an extraordinary new Festival. We are bringing Bali back to you!” continued Janet DeNeefe.

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