The presence of foreign art troupes to enliven the Bali Arts Festival has started long time ago. Their involvement in this event, either as gamelan players or other artistic fields draws sympathy and appreciation of many people. Relation of Balinese people to foreigners has been started long time ago. Approximately in the 1920s, when world travelers were captivated by the island breeze, the traces of travelers even spread, and were then followed like the fragrant flowers so that it tempted other travelers.
In the Bali Arts Festival extravaganza, they also spread respect and appreciation for the culture they admired and engaged. “We should appreciate their measure. Their love to our Balinese culture makes us proud that Balinese culture deserves to be admired,” commented a friend of mine while referring to the news and TV show, how graceful the foreign dancers were when dancing skillfully and playing Balinese gamelan.
“Yes, we should be proud of that,” I responded him. “But, we also have to do introspection in addition to appreciating. Probably, the action is subtle allusion for us,” I told him. “What do you mean?” asked my friend as if he did not understand. But, I have confidence that he actually understood and was quite aware of what my conversation meant.
“Try to imagine, they are foreigners and give appreciation. It’s their appreciation to our culture. Then, what do we often do lately?” I asked. My friend kept silent. He apprehended my expressions that were actually very common. Or it seemed too obsolete as frequently pronounced.
“You are correct and we may be too complacent so as not alert enough to appreciate our own culture. We often get drunk in the economic climate pampering our desire. As the result, the arts and culture only become a display and are just seen. Meanwhile, they tend to be practiced by other people,” he said. I smiled. Perhaps, he had dissolved in my obsolete talk.
“It’s actually an appeal for us, an effort to sensitize ourselves how to appreciate a cultural richness and other local genius belonging to the ancestors. We often consider it obsolete, outdated and antiquated. Then, we turn to the new things that may not be suitable for us. Like clothes, we have owned our size. Other’s clothes may not be appropriate for all. We may use it, but must be chosen which one is appropriate. Sometimes the clothes even make us look worse, stupid and inappropriate.
“They’re actually advised us through the appreciation of our own art and culture. They act like our mother in earlier times, telling stories about goodness and about the character so that we are not going wrong when stepping over,” murmured my friend. I just nodded.