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Immersed in Subak Culture  

by on Tuesday, 10 January 2012No Comment | 248 views

Immerse yourself in the culture of Subak with a visit to the Subak with Art Festival, 14th – 28th January at the Subak Museum, Jl Gatot Subroto, Tabanan, Bali, tel/fax 0361 810315.

Subak with Art Festival is a collaborative arts project between four Balinese artists, three Australian artists, and 210 primary school children in the Tabanan Regency in Bali.
Balinese and Australian artists exhibit work that raises awareness of the importance of the Subak system that has sustained the growing of rice in Bali over the centuries. Artists I Gede Made Surya Darma (Bali), Made Ngurah Sadnyana (Bali), I Gede Putu Setiawan (Bali), Gede Suanda aka Sayur (Bali), Christine McMillan (Australia), Margaret Brooks (Australia) and Adrian Symes (Australia) work with photography, installation, video, painting, sculpture and printmaking to create a dynamic visual arts exhibition.

Rotary Denpasar, through their wonderful Bali School Kids project (, are coordinating the involvement of 210 primary school students. The children have created 210 hand made coconut bowls that promotes the sustainable use of tradition materials. The Festival organisers said ‘We are thrilled to work with children who are so keen to participate in arts activities like drawing, installations, photography, painting, story telling, kulkul, okokan music and games that celebrate and honour the Subak.’
After a visit to the museum one of the teachers commented that ‘ the project provided rich and meaningful experiences for the children that helped them appreciate their cultural heritage’.
To see the artists and children’s artwork displayed, visit the Subak Museum. We would welcome you to a special opening ceremony that has been organised from 12:00 – 1:00pm on 14th January 2012. Performance artist I Gede Made Surya Darma will lead a children’s kulkul performance. Traditional Okokan music will provide a rousing finale to the opening ceremony followed by viewing of the exhibition and a chance to engage with the artists from 1:00pm to 4pm.
For more information please visit

Subak with Art Festival

Subak with Art is a collaborative art project between four Balinese artists, three Australian artists, and 210* primary school children in the Tabanan Regency in Bali.
The Festival engages young children in visual arts activities, story telling, traditional okokan music and games that celebrate and honour the Subak. The Festival showcases well-known Balinese artists who’s work raises awareness of the importance of the Subak system that has sustained the growing of rice in Bali over the centuries.
With support from Rotary Denpasar, 210 primary school students from Bali Kids Sponsorship project ( have created 210 hand made coconut bowls, participated in a guided tour of the Subak Museum, and completed a set of observational drawings of the Subak. The children’s work will be displayed as an art installation, first in the Mandila Mathika Subak Museum and later in a gallery in Armidale, NSW, Australia.
A special opening ceremony has been organised from 12:00 – 1:00pm on 14th January 2012.

Objectives of the Subak with Art Festival are to:

1. celebrate Bali’s unique irrigation and rice growing system at the Mandila Mathika Subak Museum, Tabanan, Bali,
2. recognise and promote the sustainable agricultural practices that are central to the cultural practices of the Balinese people
3. expand upon the children’s work by including well known Indonesian artists,
4. share project development, educational workshops, with personnel at the Mandila Mathika Subak Museum, Tabanan.
5. nurture and build upon currently existing cultural relationships that have been formed between
Indonesian and Australian artists, institutions, community groups, schools and educators during project to promote world understanding through culture exchange and education,
6. support new partnerships forged through the festival to develop longer term creative arts projects leading to artists residencies and exhibitions in Indonesia and Australia and
7. provide an opportunity for arts and environmental educators to draw parallels in environmental issues facing Indonesia and Australia in water management and agriculture interwoven with a rich cultural life.

Project leaders:

Christine McMillan is an artist, arts educator and project manager with community arts projects. Christine has exhibited in solo shows in regional art galleries in Australia, and participated in artist in residences in Australia, France and Indonesia. She has developed and delivered arts education programs for the National Gallery of Australia, regional galleries and museums in Australia and the Subak Museum in Indonesia. Her work in hospitals and the health sector has seen her develop and manage programs with community groups, schools, hospital clients, staff and volunteers.

Dr Margaret Brooks, Senior Lecturer, Early Childhood Education, University of New England, Australia. Margaret teaches the Creative Arts, researches how drawing can assist young children’s learning and is a practicing artist.

I Gede Made Surya Darma, is an Internationally recognised artist with a proven track record. He has worked collaboratively with other artists and communities to raise awareness about environmental issues.

Artists included in the Festival:

210 young children from primary schools from Bali Kids Sponsorship project (

I Made Ngurah Sadnyana
Painter from Bali.

Gede Suanda aka Sayur
Artist from Bali.

I Gede Putu Setiawan
Photographer, Bali

Adrian Symes
Adrian Symes is a filmmaker, artist and educator. He has worked in urban, regional and remote areas, collaborating on many new media projects, as well as educating young people in new technologies. Adrian has worked in video artist in residence positions and has produced community television programs. As well as creating his own films and visual art, Adrian has continued his commitment to remote and indigenous communities, assisting young people to develop skills in producing their own media. Working with government and non-government agencies, arts and educational organizations, many creative digital products and valuable community resources have been produced.

Also involved are (to date):
Rotary Denpasar.
Rotary youth partners in Services; The Interact club of Denta-Sobangan and SIAC-Singaraja,
University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia.

* 210 children were chosen because there are 210 days in the Balinese calendar. The Balinese calendar is significant in the traditional rice growing cycle.

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