Back to Bali
Bali was first put on the tourist map in the 1920s by the Royal Dutch Steam Packet Company, and by the 1930s it was welcoming some 100 visitors a year. Artists such as Noël Coward, Charlie Chaplin and Walter Spies were drawn to the innate artistic expression of everyday Balinese life. Through dance, paintings, temple architecture, their homes and villages, daily offerings, ceremonial offerings, clothing, food and more, the Balinese brought art to everything they did. It is said the artistic "gene" of the Balinese stems from the Majapahit era, at the end of which the island was set aside as Indonesia’s only remaining Hindu sanctuary for artists, intellectuals, high priests and royal families.
While tourism development has brought globalization to Bali, this artistic expression is just as much a part of modern Balinese life today. The preservation of Bali’s cultural heritage and strong communal society structure has become a bridge between the old and the new, offering visitors a journey into the past as well as the comforts and conveniences of modern living.
In recognition of this, Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay, one of the first international luxury brands on the island, has launched an interactive art space dedicated to workshops in Balinese art, music and crafts. Ganesha Cultural Centre’s primary purpose is to actively support local artists by exhibiting their work to an international audience, at the same time giving guests the opportunity to personally meet and learn from the artists. Guests can take a lesson in a variety of workshops, ranging from carving and painting to weaving and dance.
- Canang Making – Canang are everywhere in Bali, from temples and shrines to homes and even on the street or ground. In this interactive class, learn to weave and fill your own canang and find out why "temptations" such as candy, coins and even cigarettes are often used. Take a Temple Tour and present your offering with our Resort Priest.
- Painting Class – Learn from the masters with a class in Balinese painting, focusing on modern styles as well as primitive forms to remind us of the origins of Balinese painting.
- Ceramic Making – This activity uses handmade ceramics as a base for painting classical Balinese scenes that are typically depicted on canvas or art paper. You will paint over an intricate sketch created by the ceramics artist directly onto a plate, showing a scene of daily life such as an offering, ceremony, nature or village activities. You can also make your own painting from scratch.
- Weaving Songket Sidemen – Take a lesson in hand-weaving the beautiful songket, historically worn by royalty and high society. Local weavers will show you how to insert threads of gold or silver in the fine silk or cotton to create intricate patterns.
- Woodcarving – Carvings are an iconic feature of Balinese homes and temples, depicting myths, scenes from daily life and symbolic motifs. Intricate and highly developed, wood-carving requires unique skill using a knife, chisel and mallet. Watch our master carver at work and try it yourself.
- The Art of Sokasi – These coloured woven baskets serve as storage boxes for various items, and are also used to carry offerings for daily prayers. Learn how to weave a sokasi box and paint your initials on one as a souvenir to take home.
- Balinese Dance – The eyes, the hands, the expressive movements; Balinese dance is an enthralling and important part of religious and artistic expression. Observe the impressive skills of children from Jimbaran village, and if you fancy trying it yourself, join in!
- Klangsah Weaving – Learn how to make a natural roof called klangsah from coconut leaves, used for religious ceremonies at village temples or wedding celebrations.
Ngulat Tipat (Rice Cake) Weaving – Tipat is an offering made from rice cakes, used for daily worship and ceremonies. Weaving tipat is a skilled artform that few Balinese master – try your hand at it and test your patience.