Visions of the Unseen: Picturing Balinese Ceremony and Myth overview photo

Visions of the Unseen: Picturing Balinese Ceremony and Myth

  • Duration:Temporary
  • Location:Campbell Gallery

(date) 9/13/2005–2/4/2006

The island of Bali, dwarfed by others nearby, is one of more than 1,000 populated islands that are part of the Indonesian archipelago. The people of Bali practice a distinctly Balinese form of Hinduism. In this, they are unique among the predominantly Muslim population of Indonesia. Their vibrant and complex ceremonial life and arts have been the objects of cultural tourism for over a century.

Balinese ritual and everyday life are concerned with the relationship between the visible universe and an invisible realm populated by myriad unseen beings—gods, spirits, demons, witches, and ogres. While these beings are not "seen, the effects of their powers and the evidence of their actions are experienced in everyday life.

In this exhibit, the visitor is encouraged to appreciate the works of Balinese artists not just as dramatic and colorful aspects of cultural expression, but as valuable points of contact with a certain way of experiencing and understanding the world. The paintings, carvings, and masks "picture" both the "seen" and the "unseen" as if they are equally visible. In this way, the artists express and participate in the interconnection between the two in life, ceremony, visual arts, and performance.