A collection of short stories, essays, blog-posts and photographs from Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

« Bali 'Art Attack « Bali's Street Art Scene ~ Urban Artists in the Wild

Street art and murals for the masses ~ the most public of Bali's urban art-scene hidden in plain sight on the walls of Canggu, Seminyak, Kuta and Ubud.

Street art of a traditional Balinese woman drinking fruit juice by Sri Agung Ratnasari of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Urban art by one of Bali's very few female artists of a traditional Balinese woman sipping mischeviously on her fruit juice at Warung Kila in Mas, Ubud, Bali on March 29, 2021.
Commercial mural by © 2021 A.A. Sri Agung Ratnaswari (Twitter: @ratnaswari_).
Photograph © 2021 Ubud High.

“The Balinese people feel like they're beautiful, exotic fish in an aquarium – always on show for the visitor. But the visitor can't hear us screaming. So we paint.”
(From a conversation with 'The Pojoks' street-art collective in 2020.)

Street art of a muzzled dog-man tired of being hounded by gossip in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

Tired of being hounded by gossip?
"Don't talk about me."
Street Art by © 2014 'Peanut Dog' of The Pojoks street-art crew in Denpasar, Bali.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Bali 3D street art of a traditional, topless Balinese girl from the 1930s looking at social media on her smartphone in Ubud, Indonesia

3-D street art of a traditional, topless 1930s-style Balinese girl drawn in by social media and her smartphone on a wall near Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Street Art by © 2014 Wild Drawing.
Photograph by © 2015 Ubud High.

Surreal, cock-headed street art by an unknown urban artist on Monkey Forest Road in Ubud, Bali

Tolerance is exhibited and practised at every level by the Balinese people – one of the most patient, accepting, and most forgiving races I have ever come across.

In this slightly sarcastic take, an alien-headed foreigner carries a cockerel's head on a stick, a pink balloon and a sign appealing for tolerance at a sacred level.

Less 'om', more 'um'.

Surreal, animal-headed street art by an unknown urban artist on Monkey Forest Road in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

Street art by the Balinese urban artist Timmy Turtle of a man wearing a plastic bag as a mask on the wall of Kulidan Kitchen in Ketewel, Bali

Street art by the Balinese urban artist 'Timmy Turtle' of a man wearing a plastic bag for a mask on the wall of Kulidan Kitchen and Art Space in Ketewel, Bali.
Mural by © Timmy Turtle.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Street art of a busy traditional Balinese village market scene complete with plastic bags and rubbish in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

Street art of a busy traditional 1930s-style Balinese village market scene complete with plastic bags and rubbish in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.
Urban Art by an unknown street artist.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Mural by the Balinese street-art collective The Pojoks of the Indonesian human rights activist Munir Said Thalib who was assassinated by arsenic poisoning in 2004

A mural by the Balinese street-art collective The Pojoks of the Indonesian human rights activist and founder of the Kontras organisation Munir Said Thalib, who was assassinated by arsenic poisoning during a flight from Jakarta to Amsterdam in 2004.
Urban Art by © The Pojoks Street Art Collective in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Mural of a Balinese boy with angel's wings holding a seedling of hope at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in Bali, Indonesia

Mural of a Balinese boy with angel's wings holding a seedling of hope at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in Bali, Indonesia.
Urban Art by © 2020 SLINAT ('Silly In Art') of The Pojoks Street Art Collective.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Keep in touch with the ones you love, even if it's by jungle wire

More innocent, pre-smart-'phone times. Totally enamoured of the trompe-l'œil jungle-wire telephone cable. Mural in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.
Street Art © 2018 Peanut Dog.
Photograph © 2021 Ubud High.

Times are hard for families kept apart by pandemic restrictions, stay in touch with the ones you love

Times are hard for families kept apart by pandemic restrictions – keep in touch with the ones you love. Mural in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.
Urban Art © 2018 Peanut Dog.
Photograph by © 2021 Ubud High.

A horny, junkie rabbit lost on the road somewhere between Seminyak and Ubud in Bali, Indonesia

Urban art of a strung-out, horny junkie rabbit lost on the road somewhere between Seminyak and Ubud in Bali, Indonesia.
By an unknown street artist.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Urban art of a gun-toting outlaw on the lawless streets of Canggu in Bali, Indonesia

Commercial urban art outside a restaurant of a gun-toting outlaw on the lawless streets of Canggu in Bali, Indonesia.
Mural by an unknown street artist.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Stencilled urban art morphing the attack on the Twin Towers on 911 with the McDonald's logo on an Ubud street in Bali, Indonesia

An urban stencil morphs the 911 attack on the World Trade Center's Twin Towers with the McDonald's logo on an Ubud wall in Bali, Indonesia.
Street Stencil by an unknown artist.
Photograph by © 2015 Ubud High.

Ubud street art of a tourist being attacked and robbed by a band of monkeys in the town's famous 'Monkey Forest'

Ubud urban art of a hapless tourist being attacked and robbed by a band of thieving monkeys in the town's famous 'Monkey Forest'. This large mural in Penestanan – a long, funny story from beginning to end – was spray-painted over a couple of years later.
Street Art by an unknown artist.
Photograph by © 2015 Ubud High.

A mural, now painted over, of a tourist being run over by a tourism bus on the walls of Penestanan in Ubud, Bali

A mural, now spray-painted over, of a tourist being run over by a tourism bus on the walls of Penestanan in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
I used to really enjoy driving past this every day.
Street Art by an unknown artist.
Photograph by © 2015 Ubud High.

Street tagging, graffiti taggers and street-art vandalism in Ubud, Bali

The same wall in Ubud, six years later.
What the monkey-forest-tourist-bus-crash street-art story turned into is a tagging horror show – a wall for graffiti-taggers to p1ss on and mark their territory with.
More LA or downtown Derby, less Ubud or Bali.
This is urban art's bottom line: a contemporary mirror to the society we live in.
But this one looks a little cracked.
Graffiti and Tagging by UrbanNob Inc.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Graffiti-tagging involves the repeated use of a single symbol or series of symbols to mark territory

'... of graffiti, known as 'tagging,' which entails the repeated use of a single symbol or series of symbols to mark territory. In order to attract the most attention possible, this type of graffiti usually appears in strategically or centrally located neighbourhoods ...'
Just remember to open your fly and cock your leg before you get the can of spray-paint out, boys.
Tags and graffiti by... oh, who GAF.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Monkey-thiefs in Ubud's Monkey Forest share the spoils of a succesful mugging in a Penestanan street mural, Bali

Two monkey-thiefs from Ubud's Monkey Forest share the spoils of a succesful mugging in a Penestanan mural that was later vandalised and graffitied over by a monkey-army of ape-taggers.
Street Mural by an unknown artist.
Photograph by © 2015 Ubud High.

Vandalised urban art in the streets of Denpasar, Bali, by the street artist SLINAT

What monkey can't do, monkey destroy. There are two types of human in this world: makers and breakers. You're either one, or the other.
Vandalised urban art in the streets of Denpasar, Bali, by the street artist SLINAT.
Mural by © 2018 SLINAT ('Silly in Art').
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Your early-morning alarm-clock cock stencilled and painted by the street artist Quint in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

Your early-morning alarm-clock cock stencilled and painted by the Indonesian street artist 'Quint' in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia.
Street Art by © Quint.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Commissioned mural of 'The Black Pearl', a pirate-ship complete with skull-and-crossbones, on the wall of a restaurant in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Commercial mural of 'The Black Pearl', a pirate ship complete with skull-and-crossbones, on the wall of a restaurant in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Street Art by an unknown artist.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

xxx

Urban art by the street artists SLINAT and Wild Drawing of a traditional Balinese woman wearing a gas-mask to ward off Covid-19 as she chooses between her disappearing tourist-dollars or growing rice to survive the pandemic.
Urban Art by © 2020 SLINAT ('Silly in Art') and Wild Drawing of The Pojoks Street Art Collective.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

A pale-faced tourist plays it as iced-cold as she can in this commisioned mural at Kulidan Kitchen and Art Space in Ketewel, Bali, Indonesia

A pale-faced tourist plays it as icey-cold as she can in this commisioned art mural at Kulidan Kitchen and Art Space in Ketewel, Bali, Indonesia.
Mural by an unknown artist.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

An evil, self-possessed, Facebook-ready smartphone tries to steal the consciousness of its unsuspecting user on a wall in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

"Press me! You know you want to..."
An evil, self-possessed, fully-conscious Facebook-ready smartphone tries to steal the soul of its unsuspecting owner on a wall in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Street Art by unknown artist.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

A Balinese mother and her child wear gas-masks to combat worsening pollution in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

A Balinese mother and her child wear gas-masks to combat worsening air pollution in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.
Street Art by © SLINAT ('Silly in Art').
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Street art of a topless 1930s Balinese woman protesting against mass tourism and pollution on a wall in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

"I want to retire from being exotic."
Street art by the Balinese muralist SLINAT of a traditional, topless 1930s Balinese woman protesting against air pollution generated by mass tourism on a wall in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
© 2014 SLINAT of The Pojoks Street Art Collective, Bali.
Photograph by © 2015 Ubud High.

Street art of Bedawang Nala, the holy turtle of Bali, carrying a fortress of dollars and greed on the back of her shell

According to the Balinese creation myth, only the world-dragon Antaboga existed. And while Antaboga meditated, it created Bedawang – or Bedawang Nala – a giant she-turtle who carries the world on top of her shell.
In this street-art representation of Bedawang Nala, the now-horned holy turtle carries a fortress of dollars and greed on her back.

Mural by © 2020 The Pojoks Street Art Collective from the group exhibition 'Rencana Bencana', or 'Disaster Plan'.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

The hated figure of Donald Trump next to the sacred temple at Tanah Lot on Bali, Indonesia, where his 'Trump International Golf Club and Resort' has been illegally built

Street mural of Donald J. Trump – a foreign investor who is reviled on Bali for his insensitivity in building a hotel and golf-course overlooking one of the island's most sacred and revered Hindu temples at Tanah Lot.
The largely empty 'Trump International Golf Club & Resort' is mired in controversy – not least for renaging on labourers' salaries and irregularities in original land purchases.

Street Art by © 2020 The Bali-based Pojoks Street Art Collective.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Donald Trump is cast as a fire-tongued devil over his investment in the Trump International Golf Club and Resort that overlooks the Hindu temple of Tanah Lot in Bali, Indonesia

Who rubbed the very stable genie up the wrong way?
Donald Trump is cast as a fire-tongued devil over his investment in the 'Trump International Golf Club & Resort' that convenes Balinese building regulations, while a worried $100 Benjamin Franklin note hides sheepishly behind the sacred Balinese-Hindu temple of Tanah Lot in Bali, Indonesia.
Street Art by © 2020 The Pojoks Street Art Collective.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way... by The Pojoks street art collective of Bali, Indonesia

The mark of a class act. The Pojoks street-art crew sum it up in a oner:
"I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way..."
Urban Art by © 2014 The Pojoks Street Art Collective in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

The Balinese cartoonist Gus Dark paints a self-portrait of himself painting a mural by Slinat on the walls of Kulidan Kitchen and Art Space in Ketewel, Bali

The famous Balinese cartoonist Gus Dark paints a self-portrait of himself painting a mural by Slinat on the wall of Kulidan Kitchen and Art Space in Ketewel, Bali, Indonesia.
Street Art by © 2018 Gus Dark and SLINAT.
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.

Street art of a close-up of Gollum's, or Smeagol's, crafty eye in a mural just south of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Street art of a close-up of Gollum's – Smeagol's – crafty eye in a mural just south of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Urban Art by © 2015 Wild Drawing ('WD').
Photograph by © Ubud High.


More Balinese Street Art at Ubud High

'Wild Drawing' ('WD') ~ Bali's wildest 3D urban artist

Urban art from the Bali-born street artists Wild Drawing of Nusa Penida, Indonesia

⇨ Get ready to have your brains blown out. 3-Dimensions turned into 2D, and vice-versa. Bali's best-known street artist – and master of the 3D trompe-l'œil – Wild Drawing of Nusa Penida ⇨
Street Art by © 2020 Wild Drawing ('WD').
Photograph by © 2020 Ubud High.


Street art, murals, graffiti and tagging by international urban artists at Taman Festival Theme Park in Bali

Urban art, murals and graffiti galore at the derelict and haunted Taman Festival Theme Park in Bali

Urban & street art, murals, tagging and graffiti at the derelict – and most definitely haunted – Taman Festival Theme Park, Bali. Just watch your step...
Photographs by © 2020 Ubud High.

See 30 more works of street and urban art at Taman Festival, Bali ⇨


ARMA ~ The Agung Rai Museum of Art

Classical, traditional, contemporary and modern Balinese art

Ubud's ARMA – the Agung Rai Museum of Art – is home to over 200 modern and traditional works of art that paint Bali's story in ways you've only dreamt of.

File under 'Rare Left Field'.

'Sabung Ayam' (Cock-fighting) by the Balinese painter I Ketut Tagen of 'The Young Artists School of Painting', Penestanan, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

'Sabung Ayam' (Cock-fighting) by the Balinese painter I Ketut Tagen – another young pupil snatched from the cradle by Dutch artist Arie Smit to form his stable of 'Young Artists' in Penestanan, Ubud.
Courtesy of the ARMA Foundation.
Photograph by Ubud High.

See 29 works of art at ARMA ~ The Agung Rai Museum of Art in Ubud, Bali ⇨


© 2021 John Storey. All Rights Reserved.


The Last Pic

Portrait of the Day

Portraits from Bali by Ubud High

Photograph by © Ubud High.


The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

© 2021 John Storey. All rights reserved.


Urban art of a young Balinese girl using a smartphone by the street artist Wild Drawing of Bali, Indonesia

Search Ubud High

Popular search terms ~
ganesha / scooter rental / covid / street art / scorpions / rainy season / hornets / nyepi / trance / balinese paintings / wellness and yoga / snakes / dengue / bali spirit festival 2022


The Ubud Handbook

The Ubud Handbook

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your free guide to living in Ubud and Bali in an online nutshell.

Religion Matters

The Tale of Ganesha the Globetrotter ~ Bali's Elephant-Headed Hindu God

A young Lord Ganesha writes a chapter of The Mahabharata with his broken tusk at a stone-carver's shop in Batubulan, Bali, Indonesia

‘First stop on Shree Ganesha's round-Asia tour was a spell in Buddhist Tibet with its strong tantric leanings – a convenient spot to re-invent himself as Vinãyaka, and then as the dancing red Nritta Ganapati – before a full-blown alter-ego revamp as the scarlet, twelve-armed Maharakta Ganapati. Now, Maharakta Ganapati was unusually fond of skullcaps filled with human flesh and blood – and this we might charitably put down to a bad trip.

After all, what happens in Tibet stays in Tibet...’

.. ➤ ..


An American Calonarang ~ Trance & Possession on Bali

Balinese-Hindu offerings of rice, money, sweets, holy water and flower petals at Sebatu Springs, Bali, Indonesia

‘To cut an all-night story short, the mask was donned by a dancer who fell into a deep trance. But instead of staying in the temple, he began to run. And run. He became violent and uncontrollable. He ran for four kilometers down the road – the crowd scrambled after him. He ended up in a cemetery just past my house, and in the dead of night began to do frenzied battle with unseen foes...’

.. ➤ ..


'Nyepi' ~ Bali's Hindu New Year, and the Day of Silence ~ Melasti, Ngerupuk, Ogoh-Ogoh & Manis Nyepi

Balinese-Hindu devotees pray as sacred temple objects are bathed and cleansed during a Melasti ceremony before Nyepi on Pantai Purnama in Bali, Indonesia

‘If previous New Years' Days have seen you waking up with a crippling hangover trying to remember what you did the night before, maybe it's time you headed to Bali in March. Nyepi – the Balinese Day of Silence, and the start of the Hindu Saka New Year – is a day, a night and a day you'll never forget....’

.. ➤ ..


'Kajeng Kliwon' ~ A Very Bad-Hair Day on Bali

Film poster for Indonesian horror film 'Kajeng Kliwon: Nightmare in Bali'

‘Kajeng Kliwon is the kind of day when anything that can happen will happen. It invariably does.

You have been seriously warned...’

.. ➤ ..


Personal Stories

Diary of a Market Girl

Photo-realistic urban art by an anonymous street artist of a 1930s market scene in Bali, Indonesia

“When I had my sixth and seventh babies at the hospital – my twin girls – the doctor ordered me to have a Caesarian. And without asking me, he tied my tubes off as well.

I think he thought I'd had enough babies...”

.. ➤ ..


Food Talk

Durian ~ The King of Stink

“On the third bite,” says one hater, “it was as though I'd just eaten a diseased, parasite-infested animal with a bad case of rabies. I prayed I wouldn't be sick because I really didn't want to taste it again on the way back up...”

.. ➤ ..


Culture Bites

Cinema Paradiso ~ Bali's Seat in the History of Indonesian Cinema

1932 Virgins of Bali Thirties nudie-cutie bare-native film poster 1930s Bali, Indonesia

‘Boobs and political censorship have never been far from the Silver Screen – in Indonesia, they're its bedrock. The silent flicks of Thirties' Bali sucked hungrily on the island's bare-breasted cabinet-postcard image that encouraged so many gilded tourists – and dodgy film-stars like Charlie Chaplin – to visit its sultry, forbidden shores...’

.. ➤ ..


Getting Around ~ Bali 'Biking

Surviving Bali on a 'Bike

Motorbike accident victim being treated for a leg-injury in an Ubud clinic in Bali, Indonesia

“For me, some of the most dangerous people on the road are white people. I avoid them like the plague. You can tell the ones who are going to hurt others – the fixed grins, the hunched over the handle-bars, the wobbling around corners and shouts of indignation when they finally hit someone – because they have absolutely no idea how life and the road works around here...”

.. ➤ ..


It's Silly Season Again ~ Renting a Scooter, and Crashing it, on Bali

A monkey tourist crashes his scooter in a road accident in Bali, Indonesia

‘She tears into the traffic. She can't stop. She narrowly misses hitting a car head-on, swerves past a mum on a 'bike and slaloms across the road. Before she hits anyone – it's a miracle she doesn't – she falls in a bad-sounding heap of bent metal and smashing plastic. A group of Balinese rush to pick her up before the cops see her...’

.. ➤ ..


The Other Side of the Coin ~ Just Another Motorbike Accident on Bali

Mural by an anonymous street-artist of a crashed, burned-out Honda 70 scooter in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia

‘She starts sweeping and I notice she's limping. There's a spreading bruise and an angry graze running past her knee and down her calf. She wants to carry on cleaning – I sit her down and ask her what happened.

She's shy; I press...’

.. ➤ ..


Health Matters

Let's Get Wet ~ The Rainy Season on Bali

Blue sky pokes from behind a gathering of stormy monsoon clouds over Bali, Indonesia

‘Rule number one on a monsoon day? Don't get wet.

You may not realise that getting caught in a cloudburst or shower on Bali – particularly if you're on a motorbike – is the tropical equivalent of walking naked outside during a Prague Winter after a lukewarm bath.

It'll really slow you down. The shivers, hot-and-cold flushes, a chesty cough, diarrhoea, sneezing, stomach pains, a belting headache and aching bones are all at the top of the list...’

.. ➤ ..


Scorpions, Mosquitoes, Hornets, Poisonous Caterpillars... And Other Strange Tails on Bali

‘Nowhere is free from the tax of life. We all have to pay for our slice of Bali paradise – and this often comes in the shape of our biting, stinging, crawling, flying-insect cousins.

It's the downside of environment-sharing...’

.. ➤ ..


Holidays from the Jungle

The Heads of Trunyan

‘Agricultural, and unpractised in the dark art of handling international tourists, the aristocratic farmer-people of Trunyan have acquired a damaging reputation for aggression. Their unique tourist draw – a jungle-cemetery where bodies are left in the open to disintegrate underneath a magical banyan tree – is regularly shunned by travellers on the time-sensitive tourist circuit...’

.. ➤ ..


Lombok ~ A Line in the Sand

‘Ten meters away and the young man finally looks up – an inane, animal-like grin taped across his face as his girlfriend grips his porcelain butt and grimaces towards the empty blue sky. They disengage like street dogs, utter an invective in Russian, and stare...’

.. ➤ ..


Tourism & Self-Enrichment

Eat, Pray, Self-Love

I love-heart Ubud, Canggu, Seminya, Sanur and Kuta in Bali, Indonesia

‘My concentration's shot to pieces. The spaghetti keeps falling off my fork. She's on her third large beer now. She starts to say 'facking' even more, and is speaking so loudly that people passing on the street have begun to look her way, and she's spitting bits of ciabatta bread and tomato and fish into her friend's dinner...’

.. ➤ ..


From Ubud With Love

Will you marry? in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

‘I'm staying at a cute, family-run bed-and-breakfast – a homestay – on Ubud's trendy Jalan Goutama. A young member of the homestay's family tours her compound, blessing it with incense and rice and flower-petal offerings in little hand-made palm-leaf boxes.

All is well in Bali's spiritual capital...’

.. ➤ ..


A Dutchman Goes to a Gypsy Fortune-Teller

‘A Dutch boy in Holland goes to a gypsy fortune-teller who tells him that he is, in fact, Balinese. Afterwards, his uncle visits the Island of the Gods and brings him back a wooden carving of a bare-breasted lady.

Lucky for him it wasn't one of those funny-shaped wooden bottle-openers that looks like a cock...’

.. ➤ ..


The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil

Yoga-wear for an Ubud yogini manifesting her abundance, exploring her Divine Feminine and inserting a Jade Egg at The Womb Temple near The Yoga Barn in Bali

‘Shake out those Kundalini Awakenings with some HoopYogini™ and Bhakti Boogie® at the Yoga Barn. Celebrate The Divine Feminine with a splash of Shakti Dance. Puff up your lungs in a Sacred Breathwork Immersion Workshop®, insert a Jade Egg for luck at The Womb Temple™ and polish it off with some tantalising Manifesting And Abundance.

You know you're worth it...’

.. ➤ ..


Urban art of a young Balinese girl using a cellphone by the street artist Wild Drawing of Bali, Indonesia

Search Ubud High

Popular search terms:
ganesha / covid / scorpions / scooter rental / trance / yoga and wellness / hornets / nyepi / balinese traditional paintings / rainy season / snakes / 2022 bali spirit festival / dengue fever


And finally, the weather

Today's weather forecast for Ubud, Bali, Indonesia ⇨

Fake styrofoam clouds over the main 'Cloud' stage at the 'Plastic-Free Gili Air Music Festival' near Lombok, Indonesia