The Bentara Budaya Bali art gallery was decked out in a variety of bamboo artworks Wednesday night to mark its grand opening and an exhibition titled "Refleksi Bambu: Problematika Manusia dan Alam" (Bamboo Reflection: Problems of Humans and Nature).
The grand opening was livened up with the playing of bamboo musical instruments by a group from Sebatu village performing the Balinese gamelan of Gambang, followed by the fusion of Jegog gamelan, and jazz by another group from Jembrana regency collaborating with noted musicians Dewa Budjana, I Wayan Balawan and Ayu Laksmi.
The Highlight of the stage performance was "Tri Kaya Parisudha", a song written by Ayu Laksmi, telling of the Balinese Hindhu philosophy of thinking, speaking and acting properly.
Up and running since September, Bentara Budaya Bali is the fourth such gallery after Bentara Budaya Yogyakarta (opened in 1982), Bentara Budaya Jakarta (1986) and Surakarta's Balai Sudjatmoko Solo (2003).
"Bentara Budaya Bali's purpose is to take part in preserving Balinese culture by hosting art performances continuously," said Efix Mulyadi, the gallery's executive director.
The Bamboo Festival was officially launched by Bali Governor I Made Mangku Pastika and Kompas daily chief editor Rikard Bagun.
Bamboo was chosen as the subject of the festival since it is a metaphorical reflection Balinese culture, said exhibition curator Jean Couteau.
"Balinese culture subscribes to the cosmo-centric concept, where humans are strongly united with nature and see themselves as an inseparable part of the cosmic union, and bamboo is the symbol of a peaceful and preserved Balinese culture," he said.
"In Bali, we find bamboo used not only for practical functions, but also for religious rituals. But the existence of bamboo is now threatened, with more and more concrete constructions. This festival is a reflection to revive our ecological awareness of preserving bamboo."
The bamboo artwork exhibition, to run until Nov. 22, 2009 will showcase various bamboo works by prominent contemporary artists from Bali.
Some of the most attention-grabbing works in the exhibition room are the huge indoor installations, "Bam-boom", created by Nyoman Erawan, and "Ritus Daun Bambu" (Bamboo Leaf Ritual) by Sujana Kenyem.
Another interesting work is Popo Danes' "Panggung Kehidupan" (Stage of Life).
Also on show is Made Budhiana's "Roh Bambu" (Bamboo Spirit), featuring the rarely used bamboo bractsas the main material.
"It was challenging to use bamboo bract as a medium for my works because very sheet of bract can be made into different forms," Budhiana said.
"For me, the bract is the spirit of bamboo."
I Ketut Budiana presents his paintings - "Penjaga Hutan Bambu" (Bamboo Forest Guradian), "Ritual Pembangkit Energi" (Energy-Reviving Ritual) and "Sunari Gading" - as well as the installation "Irama Kosmis" (Cosmic Rhythm).