Back to blog

Discovering The World of Art in Bali

To truly captivate Bali’s artistic side, you’ll need to embark on a path that uncovers the island’s rich visual history and legacy—fortunately there are multiple avenues that enable you to do just that. From traversing Ubud, Bali’s artistic epicentre, to meeting local artisans and craftsmen creating both traditional and contemporary art through time-honoured traditions, workshops, festivals, galleries and markets abound, offering varying ways to immerse yourself in Bali’s diverse and vibrant art scene. Come along, as we offer a selection of different ways you can capture this Indonesian archipelago’s artistic excellence.

Ubud: Bali’s Art District

In the 1930s, Ubud emerged as Bali’s central hub for the arts and much has stayed the same in the present day. Before this time, traditional Balinese paintings were created in a Kamasan or Wayang style, often depicting episodes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata epic sagas. The modernisation of art in Bali occurred due to the arrival of many western artists, namely Walter Spies and Rudolf Bonnet, who instilled perspective of Bali’s landscapes, local activities and villages, as well as everyday subjects into their artworks. Ubud was the main hub of this change in style, but surrounding areas of Batuan and Sanur brought forward their own creativity and technique, with the former producing eggshell and seashell paintings. Today, you can find a wonderful mix of both old and new.

In Ubud you’ll find one of the oldest art markets in Bali, Sukawati Village. On offer is a selection of Balinese artworks and handicrafts, whose colourful display will allow your senses to go on a magical journey. From framed paintings depicting Balinese farm life to wooden sculptures and handmade products, this two-storey market lets you in on the world of traditional Balinese artworks. If you simply wish to explore rather than purchase, the Neka Art Museum and ARMA Museum is where you can discover a range of Balinese paintings and Indonesian paintings that perfectly blend both past and present traditions.

Discover A Local Bali Art Gallery

Many contemporary art galleries have sprung up around Bali in recent years that truly showcase collaboration and the modern inventiveness of up and coming artists in Bali and internationally. 

Uma Seminyak offers a communal space for the hosting of many creative events including exhibitions, discussions, workshops, film screenings, performances and pop-up markets. As well as a coffee space, restaurants and a place to simply relax, it’s a fantastic way to discover new and emerging artists from Indonesia and around the world in a laidback and inspiring location.

The new Purga Art Space finds a home in Ubud. Connected to a cafe and the Littletalks Ubud bookshop, it showcases works of young Balinese artists and hosts exhibitions to promote and support new talents worldwide. Previous exhibitions have included ‘In The Middle of Everything’, depicting life’s journeys and brought to life through the medium of 20 artworks by solo artist, Lala Bohang. The space encourages experimentation and is a must-visit contemporary art space.

Discover Bali’s Art Markets

Bali’s art markets offer some of the most amazing ways you can discover art in Bali. Authentic artisanal goods are brought to life through traditional craftsmanship techniques, allowing you to truly immerse yourself.

Different areas of Bali are renowned for their painting variations and craft traditions, each with their own nuanced styles. Batuan Village is one of the centres for traditional painters in Bali, offering carved wood panels and paintings depicting religious life and Bali, with many of these creations appearing in temples or palaces. In Batuan Village, the style of painting utilises a black and white palette that whilst devoid of colour, adds an air of the dark and mysterious to the eye of the beholder, which is certainly intriguing.

For sculptures and stone carvings, Batubulan Village is a central hub. The village is centred around Balinese performing arts including Kecak, Barong and Legong dance. You can find art shops and galleries displaying statues that portray Ganesha, Buddha and gods and goddesses.

For something a little more glitzy, Celuk Village is Bali’s Silver Village, known for its gold and silver jewellery. Passed down through generations, the production of gold and silver handicrafts is the lifeblood of this craft village. From rings and necklaces, to hairpins and brooches, you’ll find an abundant supply of intricately designed pieces characterised by Bali’s thick design and carvings. Most jewellery vendors here accept custom made requests or personalised carvings.

Other villages offer their own stylistic traditions. Keliki Village, 20 minutes north of Ubud, paints in the Keliki style, characterised by black and white detailed scenes of figures and daily life, including the rice paddy fields and life cycle ceremonies. In Tohpati Village, the craft of Batik, a traditional form of painting fabric utilising dots and lines from wax to decorate cloth, is prevalent.

Art Workshops in Bali

From wood carvings to silver jewellery making, the best way to truly immerse yourself in art in Bali is to join a workshop guided by a local artist and create one of these traditional pieces from scratch.

Learn the age-old ways of wood carving by turning locally-sourced wood into an intricate traditional design with the guidance of a local master carver. Suitable for beginners, the class allows you to bring to life your very own wooden masterpiece. From a picture frame to an intricate Balinese designed ornament, you’ll use the simple tools from generations past to instil life into an ordinary block of wood.

Try WS Art Studio

An increasingly popular workshop in Bali is the making of your own silver jewellery. Taught by master artisans, the classes are available in durations ranging from half a day to two days. From basic silver jewellery making techniques to more advanced designs and bezel stone setting in a two-day class, you’ll create a personalised custom keepsake that will turn into a timeless memory. Choose from rings, pendants, earrings or bracelets. 

Try Krisna Silver Class Uluwatu, SUNSRI House of Jewellery, or the Chez Monique Silversmith Class.

For more intricate and challenging workshops, find a traditional painting class. One offered by Five Art Studio will teach you the art of the Keliki style, requiring a high level of patience and perseverance. Hosted in a traditional Balinese house within Keliki Village, the local artists will guide you through creating an utterly exceptional work of art influenced by Balinese tradition.

Art Festivals 

Bringing the island’s cultural scene to the fore, Bali’s long standing Arts Festival in Denpasar is an annual themed affair celebrating the very best of Balinese art and culture. Established in 1979, the month-long festival is usually held from mid-June to mid-July to celebrate the artistic variety and skills of the Balinese community. The Bali Arts Festival is a true collaborative showcase of Balinese and Indonesian arts and culture. Featuring dances, puppetry, musical performances and competitions, the area is adorned with outdoor stages and pavilions, whilst painting, sculpture and handicraft exhibitions, displaying both old and new creations come to life. To experience all of Indonesia’s culture in one melting pot, The Bali Arts Festival is the perfect place.

    Enquire Now

    Error: Contact form not found.