“Transformasi 2013” is a contemporary artwork by Balinese Indonesian artist I Gusti Made Prawira Yudha. The artwork is currently part of a small exhibition of new and recent art by Balinese artists at the Neka Museum in Ubud, Bali. “Transformasi” is the kind of work that we really want to see more of, and it’s a breath of fresh air in a place where a rich, influential and venerated heritage of traditional art forms can feel celebrated to the point of exhaustion.
We were pleasantly surprised to find this massive street-art mural by the American artist and street-art rockstar Alec (a.k.a., “Alec Monopoly”) in the lobby of the outrageously epic and luxurious W Hotel in Seminyak, Bali, in Indonesia. The artwork includes many of the iconic characters and celebrities Alec has included in many of his street artworks over the years, including actor Jack Nicholson, 1960s fashion model Twiggy, and Rich “Uncle” Pennybags (sometimes called “Monopoly Man”), the character from the Monopoly board game and the image Alec is most associated with.
The photos below were taken at Denpasar’s international airport in Bali, Indonesia. The more we travel, the more we’re seeing these praying rooms (sometimes called non-denominational chapels or meditation rooms) at airports around the world, especially in the west. We’ve recently seen these at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (Detroit’s gargantuan international airport) and Amsterdam Schipol airport, to name two examples.
In many parts of the globe these have always been a feature of an airport or at least have been around for a long time. The prayer room at Denpasar’s international airport, officially Ngurah Rai Airport, is signposted with an international-style sign in two languages. The context is interesting. The island of Bali is an overwhelmingly Hindu region (90%) in a country that is overwhelmingly Muslim (87%).
The praying rooms are non-denominational, not specific to a religion, and are a practical, important architectural feature that accommodates a diverse religious culture, especially in a country where the majority religion’s observant practitioners are required to pray several times a days. The signage, like much of the international standardized visual vocabulary used in airports globally, has a quickly understandable symbol of a person kneeling. No matter what your religious beliefs, the meaning is clear.