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ᝰ THE STORY
A Balinese woman is seen carrying a load of offerings on her head during Kuningan. Kuningan is a Balinese holiday that is celebrated after Galungan on the island of Bali every 210 days. Generally, the celebration is filled with offerings to the gods, traditional music and dances, and ceremonial processions. On Kuningan day, the Balinese Hindus conduct their own rituals that are believed to be a form of communication between humans and gods.
The holiday is celebrated with great enthusiasm and is considered to be one of the most important celebrations in the Balinese Hindu religion, after the celebration of Galungan. They believe that today is the day when the ancestors return to heaven after visiting the earth during Galungan. And since it is like a farewell, they will give offerings namely yellow rice, fruits, and flowers to the gods placed in small bowls made of coconut leaves as a symbol of gratitude for life, joy, wealth, and health. Most Balinese on that day will therefore wear yellow clothes and the ceremony is carried out in hopes of having a prosperous year ahead. Besides the worship of their gods, the Balinese also make offerings to their ancestors and deceased family members.
This photograph is aimed at narrating the description above while exploring the play of light and shadow emphasizing the presence of the subject in front of the temple. It also wants to create a feeling of quietness and timelessness. The thin yet sharp lines of the temple's silhouette that seamlessly connect with the woman carrying colorful offerings create a unique atmosphere.
Rembrandt especially used such a strong light and shadow effect and graphic composition to create a sense of drama and emotion. Balinism blends aesthetics akin to the famous Dutch painter while providing its viewers a certain ambiguity with its silhouettes and its dance of light and shadow, seen as integral, intrinsic elements, not for visual effect only but also for expressing the underlying concept of impermanence in life, and, ultimately, making us accept and appreciate the beauty of imperfection and transience.
📍Ubud, Bali 🗓 2023