There Is No Word For Art In Bali

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There is no word for art or artist in Bali; creating there is a form of devotional prayer in which every person daily participates, be it a solitary sculptor, gatherings for traditional music, theater or dance groups, or the daily fashioning of leaf and flower offerings in shop entryways. The word for “artist” and “human being” are the same. The village of “Ubud”, Bali’s heart of creation, means “Medicine”. The place where creativity most occurs is called “Medicine”! A coincidence? I think not. The connection between creativity and healing is universal. And if we are all art makers by virtue of being human, why would we need a special word for art maker? And if “Art” is not a thing, but rather a natural way of life, connection with nature, daily worship, breathing, just being in the moment, then what use is there for the word “Art”? Art and living are the same. Art is complete living. What a concept! These creativity-practicing humans are among the most peaceful, sane, loving people I have known.

Since my visit to Bali in 1985, the fast-paced commercial and technological influence of Western civilization has unfortunately altered the peaceful, natural vibration, though traditions of beauty, love and peace are hanging on.

These planetary power spots and beacons of creative humanity such as, the Hopi homelands, Amazon River tribes and Australian “Dream Time” aborigines, are inspiring examples to us of art as a prayerful way of life. These often remote cultures are reminders of creative sanity which inspire us to recreate these models in our contemporary culture. If you are reading this, you most likely agree with the importance of people rediscovering their communal creative roots. This discovery is the original “medicine” for balance and transformation.