Demons in Bali
Murni’s Houses, my boutique hotel in Ubud, hosted a gaggle (is that the right word?) of excitable photographers from Austria, Australia and England last week, drawn by the prospect of huge, scary, colourful demons of Bali awaiting them on the streets in various stages of creation.
The ogoh-ogoh are inventive and frightening. There is always a black, hooded, faceless angel of death. There are usually dragon-like figures and mythical creatures. In the early days the artists were inspired by Balinese folklore but latterly Hollywood characters have come to the fore, some sporting Mohawk hairstyles.
The ogoh-ogoh are symbols of demonic spirits, made from wood and bamboo, covered with papier-mâché and Styrofoam, and painted with garish colours. They can reach 10 feet (3 metres) high and the same wide.
In the evening of Balinese New Year’s Eve, these huge grotesque statues, with lights aglow, accompanied by loud gamelan music, are paraded by their makers on wide bamboo platforms around the village. They are remarkably life like.
After the parade they are usually burned at the village crossroads, but recently, as they are really works of art, some have been kept for display in community halls, temples, hotels, and private houses, admired as works of art. The ‘tradition’ became popular in the 1980s.
For (better quality) photos, which are for sale, go to http://www.jonathaninbali.com
For the book Secrets of Bali, Fresh Light on the Morning of the World – go to https://www.murnis.com/ebooks/secrets-of-bali/
For 3 frightening slideshows of Ogoh-Ogoh in Bali:
Demons in Bali