Mabesikan: Art for Social Change

The island of Bali is a world-famous destination, visited every year by hundreds of thousands of tourists for its splendid beaches, lush forests, fascinating culture, and excellent food.

The conflict issues that affect its population are less well-known. They include tensions around the management of land and natural resources, sexual and gender-based violence, and the exclusion of minorities, the disabled, and other marginalized groups.

To end all forms of violence and make a lasting positive impact on the life of the Balinese people, our Indonesia team started a project called Mabesikan: Art for Social Change, which focuses on the use of popular art forms.

We conducted a baseline study to identify the root causes of conflict and organized a series of workshops in the first quarter of 2016. Now in its 9th month of implementation, Mabesikan gathered the energies and enthusiasm of 15 Balinese artists and 8 civil society organizations, working on 10 independent arts-based initiatives.

Here are some highlights!

mangenn indonesia mabesikan

Credit: Rudi Waisnawa

Manggen is a street artist and puppeteer. Through innovative storytelling and riveting theater performances, he raises awareness on the problem of unsustainable land conversion, which has a negative impact on the environment and the population of Bali. The audience of his puppet shows spans from children to adults coming from different social backgrounds.

arie putra indonesia mabesikan

Credit: Rudi Waisnawa

Salt harvesters and resort owners in Bali often fight over access to the island’s beautiful beaches. In the city of Amed, artist Arie Putra gifted the owner of a popular local restaurant with a mural of a salt farmer. The piece is a symbol of harmony and an invitation to both parties in conflict to coexist in peace.

citra indonesia mabesikan

Credit: Dwi Setyo Wibowo

Balinese women who are survivors of domestic violence lack adequate support to help them heal from the trauma. Citra Sasmita, a painter, and the Bali Women Crisis Center came together to empower these women and create economic opportunities for them. Citra designed a pattern that the women can paint on clothes in the color of their choosing. The end products will be sold and the earnings will be donated to the Crisis Center.

With still 7 months to go, Mabesikan will create more opportunities for talented Balinese artists to change life on their island for the better. Stay tuned to hear more about their initiatives!

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