We pick our favorite moments of TEDxUbud 2019

Our 8th edition was an incredible experience, possibly our strongest ever in terms of production and program. For an event that takes so much time and so many people to put together, often memories of those 12 hours can just seem like a blur of noise and light. Watching the photos come in from the phenomenal photographers can be a whole new experience and slightly surreal as we see things that as producers we didn’t get to witness in person (backstage doesn’t have great views), but only in our minds’s eye as we dreamed them up many months ago.

From over 1,300 official photos, it’s pretty hard to pick favorites. So we decided to ask each other what were our most loved images and memories of the night.

Prehistoric Body Theater performs. Photo by Shayna Pitch.

Prehistoric Body Theater performs. Photo by Shayna Pitch.

Ajeng’s choices

Julia blowing bubbles. Photo by Suki Zoe.

Julia blowing bubbles. Photo by Suki Zoe.

Making up the dinosaur dancers with natural clay pigment. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani.

Making up the dinosaur dancers with natural clay pigment. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani.

Standing ovations always make our heart sing. Photo by Suki Zoe.

Standing ovations always make our heart sing. Photo by Suki Zoe.

Daniela’s Picks

Azhar at work.

Azhar at work.

Under the X at night. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani.

Under the X at night. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani.

With photographer Bang Dzoel. Photo by Suki Zoe.

With photographer Bang Dzoel. Photo by Suki Zoe.

Michellina’s favorites

Speaker Louise in deep concentration before going on stage. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani.

Speaker Louise in deep concentration before going on stage. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani.

Joy and relief. Photo by Herry Santosa.

Joy and relief. Photo by Herry Santosa.

Powerful portrait of Jonny Miller by Bang Dzoel.

Powerful portrait of Jonny Miller by Bang Dzoel.

Mila’s picks

Food that moves! Cotton candy by Neyna Rahmadani.

Food that moves! Cotton candy by Neyna Rahmadani.

The X from above. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani.

The X from above. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani.

Our pop up name badge. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani.

Our pop up name badge. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani.

Producing TEDxUbud 2019

We have the privilege of working with a group of amazing people every year. Thousands of people hours over months and months go into this one night. Every year we ask ourselves why we do this and every year the answer comes back the same: it’s because of the people we get to work with. From the technical crews, to the core team of volunteers, to sponsors, speakers, performers, on-the-day volunteers, creatives, it’s over 100 people who work on their small part of the magic.

Here are some of the less glamorous (but always satisfying) parts of the day before and day of TEDxUbud.

Wrestling the red dot. Photo by Suki Zoe.

Wrestling the red dot. Photo by Suki Zoe.

X men at work. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani.

X men at work. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani.

One of the most challenging days we’ve ever had because of the heat of the sun. Just incredibly hard on speakers and team. Photo by Suki Zoe.

One of the most challenging days we’ve ever had because of the heat of the sun. Just incredibly hard on speakers and team. Photo by Suki Zoe.

Replacing a piece of the screen. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani.

Replacing a piece of the screen. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani.

Out go the cushions. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani

Out go the cushions. Photo by Neyna Rahmadani

Waste management strategy in place. Photo by Herry Santosa.

Waste management strategy in place. Photo by Herry Santosa.

A very focused jimmy jib operator. Photo by Suki Zoe.

A very focused jimmy jib operator. Photo by Suki Zoe.

The super team. Photo by Suki Zoe.

The super team. Photo by Suki Zoe.

With Bang Dzoel, one of our official photographers.

With Bang Dzoel, one of our official photographers.

Behind the stage. Photo by Bang Dzoel.

Behind the stage. Photo by Bang Dzoel.

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Photo by Neyna rahmadani.

Photo by Neyna rahmadani.

Photo by Suki Zoe.

Photo by Suki Zoe.

Closing the office and heading to Ubud Writers and Readers Festival

One of our favorite times of year is when the UWRF and all the amazing writers and speakers come to town. Every year we buy tickets for the team, close up shop and spend 4 days soaking everything in.

Everybody had a different panel they loved and brand new writers to google madly. We asked (some) of the team what their highlights were and they answered immediately.

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1. Reza Aslan (obviously! and kudos to Terrence Ward as moderator!)

BRILLIANT SESSION, BEST TANDEM. A short feast for my whys!

One good tip from his festival club session with his wife on interfaith marriage:

“Every relationship is inter-believe, inter-opinion. So focus on values and don’t ignore differences.”

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2. Lemn Sissay, having someone read to you has never been THIS good!

Beautiful narrative too. Every line draws people in deeper.

“Nature may be cruel, but at least it is honest.”

3. Archana Pidathala and Megan K. Stack on Domestic Space panel

Archana was raised to get the highest education her family could pay for and stay out of the kitchen and chores. So when she decided to quit her job and write a cooking book, judgment came from every corner.

The way that she balances her reasoning while respecting family values held so much poise and understanding.

“Sometimes I question myself, am I at the losing end of contemporary gender and genre?”

Megan raised a compelling point along the line of:

“Women who usually do labor, etc are often being erased from literature….”

Women authors who write around domestic space are often given lots of skepticism to voice and write their stories while men get their freedom and benefit of the doubt. (lots of classic lits by male authors have domestic space as the story background).

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The Peripheral Vision session:

A critical session where the panelists from eastern Indonesia questioned what is peripheral vision and who measures the mainstream-peripheral perspective. As they believe that every experience has its own story, valid and primary to those who believe in humanity.

Why do we use peripheral vision terminology to perceive eastern Indonesia? I want to decolonize myself, I want to decolonize my work, I want to decolonize my mind, I want to decolonize my language.

- Faisal Oddang, a writer who comes from Makassar, South Sulawesi.

We don’t talk about being displaced from our hometown.

- Theoresia Rumthe, a poet who had to move to Bandung after the civil war broke out in Ambon, Maluku.

There are issues in Indonesia that makes us different and strangers to each other, when we bring our experience to other places, it could become nothing.

- Setyawan Samad, a poet from Banda Neira, Maluku.

3 new book/writings I’d like to read after UWRF:

Now I am reading Claire G. Coleman’s writing about land and ancestors at ‘Meanjin’, a website containing essays, fiction, memoir, poetry, podcast and book reviews.

She has my respect for her views at the Speculative Fiction panel. One of the things she said was,

“There’s no such thing as speculative fiction, because there’s no such thing as a non-speculative fiction.”

I definitely started to read Faisal Oddang’s writings. His background is Indonesian literature and proudly defines himself by speaking daily in the Bugis language. Saras Dewi also recommended him when she talked at the Precious Peatlands panel.

Pitchaya Sudbanthad’s book. I am interested in his view about the indelibility of memory (both individual and collective) and how to reconcile with what has happened; which also leads to a discussion around dreams and karma.

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I wasn’t quite as organized in my note-taking…. So I wound up with a list of quotes and ideas from 4 days with no sources. Very lax of me…

Family is a set of memories that are disputed with others.

It was a land grab. Everyone was writing themselves into me.

These came from the amazing Lemn Sissay. A huge amount of energy to come out of one person- he had no problem making everyone squirm.

Art will bring to us the subjects we want to hide in society.

For me that was literature, looking further to see ourselves.

All poetry is a physical form.

Doing anything for love in a place that denies it is courageous.

The joy of listening to Yottam Ottolenghi surprised me!

How is food not political? Everyone eats. In Israel and Palestine you can’t put anything into your mouth without it being political.

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Reza Aslan was a revelation. I expected something else completely but loved the archaeological/historical lens he used to explain religion as we know it today.

Religion has only existed for 14,000 years. Oldest temple is in southeastern Turkey. Dated 14000 BC at most. Existed before the invention of the wheel.

There is no reason to bury a body. It takes up too many resources and energy. But it is a ritual experience. They were buried with clear ritualistic functions. (On burial sites as an indication of early religion)

Religion as an adaptive advantage? Has it helped humans survive? No. It forces you to expend energy that should be used for survival. Not only does it not give an advantage, it’s a disadvantage. So why does belief exist? 1st theory- it’s an accident. 2nd- it’s on our makeup. It’s a universal impulse. In all people. Throughout all time. In every corner of the world.

Animism is the belief that everything is animated by a single spirit.

Jono Lineen also had a similar style to Reza Aslan, but on the subject of walking. A fascinating flood of facts and ideas.

Walking is intrinsic to human nature. The nature of walking is crazy.

Creativity and walking have been moving together for 4 million years. The default thought mode when we’re walking is creative.

The essence of humans is a walking migration. A 75,000 year journey.

Walking is what we do to connect with being Homo sapiens.

Every religion has pilgrimage walks. From Himalayas, to the Haj, the Camino.

And finally Akala, who dropped this amazing fact among a 1,000 others.

Iambic pentameter is the rhythm of the human heart.

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5 things we can reveal about TEDxUbud 2019

Less than a month to go until TEDxUbud, gulp! Every year we feel a rush of gratitude for being able to put this event together and work with Bali's brightest and best. And while the challenges of wrangling these many people and moving parts may have us pulling our hair out right around this time, we love doing it. After all, there would be no Elami and Co without TEDx.

We'd like to give a big thanks to Ria and Skyler of Utama Spice, who have been so generous with their time and support for this event for so many years. We are very grateful to this amazing hometown brand that has taken their incredible message and brand around the world!

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1// The 2019 TEDxUbud lineup is out!

We are very excited about this year's speakers and performers. Our theme of Movement has led us to curate talks about migration, emotional upheavals, changing the way we travel, dancing with dinosaurs, seismic activity, trade that feeds our hunger for the new, and how we can think more with our hands. We've been rehearsing with speakers for several weeks and they're better than ever.

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2// A snippet that inspired us

“Consciousness is only possible through change; change is only possible through movement.”

—Aldous Huxley

3// Fill your bellies

To whet your appetites, we have some of Bali's best culinary creatives coming back to feed attendees this year; including Locavore, Pasti Enak, Moksa, Coffeenatics, Mia Chia, Gelato Secrets, Albens Cider, Stark Craft Beer, Krakakoa, Balipop, and Happy Kombucha! We're nearly sold out, book your tickets if you haven't done so yet.

4// Partner-in-art

We have the amazing Kanoko Takaya as our TEDxUbud artist for 2019! Kanoko is a Japanese artist who lives in Bali. Her work is filled with movement and popped into our minds when we started thinking of how we wanted this edition to look. Kanoko created portraits of each speaker and also a dreamy being filled with thoughts and ideas for our limited-edition volunteer t-shirts.

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5// Our TEDxUbud space

So many of our attendees fell in love with Setia Darma’s incredible space when we held our first night event there in 2017, so we're very happy to be heading back there for our 8th edition. This museum opened in 2006 and its collection includes more than 1,300 masks and 5,700 puppets from around Indonesia and the world. It's a wonderful place to head to on the weekend, or the next time you have no idea what to do in Ubud with guests. Did we mention it's free?

From Ubud to Jogja for a visit to ArtJog

Two of us (Ajeng and Mila- totally uncoordinated!) found ourselves at ArtJog 2019 a couple of weekends ago. Mila went with Summa Durie, one of our regular creative collaborators (she’s the Performance Curator for TEDxUbud) and also responsible for international programming at the amazing Rumah Sanur creative hub.

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We spoiled ourselves with a mix of different art exhibitions and glimpses of the creative ecosystems in Jogja. ArtJog is an annual art festival with exhibition and contemporary art market components. It is always held in the middle of the year for a full month in Jogja.

Whirlwind of Time by Andrita Yuniza

Whirlwind of Time by Andrita Yuniza

by Agung ‘Agugn’ Prabowo

by Agung ‘Agugn’ Prabowo

by Agnes Christina

by Agnes Christina

Pest to Power by Natasha Tontey

Pest to Power by Natasha Tontey

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At the same time, they also hold Jogja Art Weeks, an annual event where local galleries and art centers simultaneously hold events—everything from exhibitions, art and music performances, film screenings, discussions, and art workshops.

Jogja Art Weeks began as a non-profit initiative in Yogyakarta involving the art community, both artists and art enthusiasts, to be active in this new art movement that emphasizes on openness.

Jogja Art Weeks collects information and open doors for the community to access various art events in Yogyakarta and the surrounding area, as well as providing artists and multi-disciplinary art activitists in Indonesia with the opportunities to present and convey ideas, thinking, and art works to a wider audience.

Each year, Jogja Art Weeks publishes a booklet of publications on two whole months of art agenda, starting from visual art, art performances, music performances, workshops, discussions, art tours in Yogyakarta, Magelang, and Surakarta.

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by Krack Studio

by Krack Studio

Pamor by Dedi Shofianto

Pamor by Dedi Shofianto

at Langgeng Art Foundation

at Langgeng Art Foundation

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Jogja is well known for its art movements and activism, so anyone can benefit from just going there and finding events held by art collectives/spaces. This makes Jogja not only a great cultural city but also a dynamic and critical space for the creative industry.

Did you know that Jogja is famous for its nickname Kota Pelajar? It literally translates to “student city”. It is a destination and melting pot for a myriad of students from different cultural backgrounds in Indonesia and researchers from around the world—from art residency programs to student exchange programs. So many collaborations happen or have been initiated from meetings in Jogja. Definitely worth a visit!

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Get to know: Novieta Tourisia, botanical textile artist

For our first The Creative Refresh, Novi was one of our creative mentors. She creates textile art by fusing indigenous wisdom, artisanal craftsmanship, and sustainable innovation under the name of Cinta Bumi Artisans. Novi works with eco printing, bark cloth and plant dyes to create her wearable art. We sat down with Novi to ask her a few questions about how she got to Ubud and her creative process.

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What inspired you to build Cinta Bumi Artisans and how did it start?

Tourism is my background. I was born, grew up, and worked in Jakarta as a tour program manager until 2009. Then I decided to move Bali since I really need something new in my life. At that time, I had an opportunity to work at Green School for a year and then the Odyssey Institute. My husband had a project to build a school for women in Poso, The Mosintuwu Institute, and we were both invited to Poso. The Mosintuwu Institute is a grassroots community organization whose members consist of Poso conflict survivors. At first, I thought I would come to a scary conflict area but it all changed when I arrived. Who knew that that would be the beginning of Cinta Bumi Artisans.

I was introduced to the Founder of the Mosintuwu Institute and asked to make a tourism program. So I stayed there 3 months to collect information with people there. One day, a man, who is now our artisans coordinator, took me to the rice fields where I could hear sound of hammering. It was in Lembah Bada, part of the National Park of Lore Lindu. I was so surprised seeing the women making ranta (barkcloth). The man said that I was so lucky because there were less than 10 people who could still do that.

They told me that they were making cloth for a ceremony and sometimes they make it for government tourism exhibitions too. But I’d never seen anything like this before, so I asked if I could buy a meter of textile to make something.

At that time, I travelled to Poso and Bali every 2 months. I usually stayed longer in Poso. So I made a bag fro ranta and even colored a part of it using natural dyes. When they saw the bag, they didn’t believe it was made from their ranta. So I proposed to work together with them - it was totally their decision to form the partnership. It’s their tradition, they do it from generation to generation, and I am just a women from a different background who fell in love with indigenous craftsmanship.

I encouraged myself to join the Pasar-Pasaran event in Ubud in 2016, officially launching the brand. For a year, we were focuses only on barkcloth until we faced a challenge. We had been working with 4 villages in Lembah Bada who always planted and harvested sustainably. Cinta Bumi Artisans always takes it in turn to source the barkcloth from different villages so that the trees have time to grow the bark back. It takes months to grow 40-50 meter per village per season. For a piece of 1x1 meter, the women work for 2 weeks.

However, the problem is most of the people don’t want to replant the trees. Especially the young generations. They tend to choose to work for the palm oil and mining companies because of the fast money they can get. I think that it would be really good for them replant, to take care of the trees, and maybe someday they can revive the barkcloth tradition and manage it for their economic and cultural sustainability. The paper mulberry tree (the barkcloth tree) was used to be endemic, even in Bali, but because of the clove plantations that massively established in Bali, they become rare. So the replanting is still the issue.

Cinta Bumi Artisans’ framework is based on everything made from the natural resources of Indonesia, on artisanal craftsmanship. For me, craft is everything you make with hands. I adore indigenous craftsmanship.

There are 4 types of plant sources that I use in the process: from my dyeing garden, kitchen waste, roadside windfall, and waste from weddings. All are tropical leaves easily found here in Bali and Indonesia. Sometimes, the leaves surprise me with the medicinal beneficial they have. It’s like making a healing cloth. So I wanted to develop and apply this to the eco printing project. Now I am still exploring the possibility of using pea silk, which I found being produced in Jogja. The pea silk is made sustainably from the silk worm but no harm is inflicted in the process. Instead of boiling the cocoon right away, they wait for the silkworms to turn into butterflies first. Although I am not vegan, I always choose to be responsible with what I do and what I consume.

What is your next project?

Cinta Bumi Artisans will soon launch Naluri Botanica, a collection using pea silk and barkcloth. Sometimes people call it cassava silk as the silkworms eat the cassava leaves. Naluri Botanica integrates the indigenous craftsmanship (barkcloth) with the contemporary art and natural dyeing (eco print). The products will vary, including bags, accessories, jewelry, etc. The difference with Cinta Bumi Artisans will be the medium. I am still exploring using the remnants of barkcloth and making it into jewelry.

Through the materials that I use for Naluri Botanica, I would like to encourage artists, designers, basically everyone, to know that Indonesia’s textile traditions include more than batik and ikat weaving.

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What 3 events do you really like and why?

One is the event that I really want to attend one day, the Folk Art Market in Santa Fe. It is a festival especially for indigenous cultural art around the world. I wish I could bring all the women from Poso there to exhibit their work with barkcloth.

The second one is TEDx. I used to attend the one in Jakarta and I really hope I can attend the one in Ubud. I love that the event gathers a lot of speakers from different background which I think is what we need as a person to grow- to listen and see other perspectives and experiences. From me personally, to not just meet with other textile artists, but also people from other fields to broaden my views.

The third one is the biennial Festival Panen Raya Nusantara (PARARA) in Jakarta. They present entrepreneurial products from various communities and indigenous peoples around Indonesia. These products are the result of long collaboration between entrepreneurs, communities and creative workers. The event aims to provide basic information about the importance of local products made by local communities to its visitors. It puts the spotlight on the value of a community’s struggle in producing products and safeguarding the natural environment where the products are produced.

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A creative excursion to the Balinese Masters exhibition

We headed back to the amazing AB•BC art space to visit their latest exhibition: Balinese Masters: Aesthetic DNA Trajectories of Balinese Visual Art.

The Jakarta Post has an amazing wrap up of the exhibition and artists- definitely worth a read. As a team we fell in love with so many of the pieces. It was an incredible journey through Bali’s art history.

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Wayan Sujana Suklu’s work grabbed our attention and we came back to it a few times throughout the morning.

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Wayan Bendi’s 10 meter long painting in the Batuan style was incredible. So many sharp scenes, moments and commentary on Bali.

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The pieces by Made Griyawan, especially this one of Gunung Agung erupting last year were such a pleasure to discover.

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This pumice installation by I Made Djirna was also magic.

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Looking forward to coming back to the space in October when Art Bali returns. We also have our fingers crossed for more representation for Bali and Indonesia’s female artists.

Movement: TEDxUbud 2019

Join us for our eighth edition and a journey of storytelling, innovation, learning, change and more. We're returning to the beautiful Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets with the theme of...


Everything in the world, and beyond, is constantly moving, in a state of ebb and flow, changing from one form to another.

Some of our movements are deliberate, as when we choose to travel, or dance. Other movements are beyond our control, or impossible to detect. Sometimes it’s not a pleasant sensation, as when we are forced into movement to escape something or have to push against the status quo to make a change.

When we say we are moved, we usually talk about emotion arising in our bodies, changing us in some way. When we talk about a movement, we talk about people working together to create social change or spread a new idea across the globe.

Movement is something we all share and participate in—a universal part of the human story as we cross the borders, lines and boundaries that structure our lives.

The Artists Dinner: Celebrating home-grown art in its many forms

Ceramicist, mother, teacher – Sekarputri Sidhiawati wears many hats and owns each of them with admirable bravado. We were lucky enough to join forces with her for our fourth instalment of The Dinner Series – The Artists Dinner – hosted by Sekarputri and her husband Agung Prabowo at their Tegallalang home studio, Arta Derau.

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Sekarputri’s charming ceramic pieces have long struck a chord with all of us at Elami & Co. Her exploration of soft organic shapes, feminine colours and strikingly relatable statements on life and society, worked in perfect synchronicity with the evening’s theme of fertility, femininity and Mother Earth. She created 139 individual pieces – little bird-shaped cups, oval platters and goblets, among them – from which Thy Neighbour presented their modern Thai eats and cocktails.

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No two pieces from The Artists Dinner collection are the same. Each plate, cup and bowl is marked with its own motifs and is laden with character. She extracted clay from her own backyard (the rice-field our guests dined upon) to create every bespoke piece for the evening. And the best news? Her entire collection is available for sale.

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We decided to hit the quirk button for this edition for an art-fuelled evening under the stars. We took over the rice fields behind Arta Derau ceramic studio.

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Poorich Suvarnapadip from Thy Neighbour was behind the pans, turning out eight courses of his bright, progressive Thai fare using ingredients harvested from the surrounding paddies- we’re talking snails and rice field crabs, here.

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Artist and Elppin designer Carina Hardy also came on board, exhibiting her world-first Back to the Breast eco-inflatable installation, previously featured at Thailand’s Wonderfuit Festival.

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As dark fell, our projection mapping team brought the night alive with Agung Prabowo’s amazing art moving over the surface of the inflatables.

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Thank you, again, to Agung and Sekarputri for hosting The Dinner Series 4.0. Stay tuned for our fifth installment happening later in the year.

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Get to Know: Maya Kerthyasa, food writer

We have been working with Maya Kerthyasa to co-create The Dinner Series. We want more people to know her the way we do, so we sat down with her and asked a few questions of our favorite food writer.

Would you like to share a little about your background and interests with us?

I am half Balinese and half Australian. I grew up between Bali and Sydney and studied journalism. Since then, I’ve worked mainly as a food writer. I spent four-and-a-half years at Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine and wrote a little bit about travel, but my strongest love is food. And that’s something that I’ve been interested in since I was born, really. I spent a lot of my childhood running around the back of house at Ibah, my parent’s hotel in Campuhan. And I think, through that, I developed a really strong love of hospitality.

I did my first restaurant review when I was nine years old with a dear friend of mine, Jane Adams, who has become one of my biggest mentors. I remember the day vividly, and from that moment on I have been fascinated by restaurants and food culture as a whole.

When I was working in magazines, I was lucky enough to eat and write about many different kinds of food. Now that I’ve had a child and am spending more time at home, I’ve made it my mission to focus on the food of Bali. It’s so layered, complex and full of cultural significance, but it just isn’t spoken about internationally. I’d like to change that, and so that’s where I am at the moment.

Maya and her grandmother in the kitchen

Maya and her grandmother in the kitchen

What makes you interested in food and Balinese food?

Well, I have a very healthy appetite. That helps. I’ve been fortunate enough to have eaten some really wonderful food not just in Bali, but around the world. Both of my parents are good cooks. So many of my fondest memories are connected to cooking and eating.

I’m also really lucky to still have both of my grandmothers, who cook in very different but equally wonderful ways. Food is an interesting way to explore not only the flavors of a place, but also its history and culture. And that’s why I love it. If you dig deep enough into most traditional cuisines, you’ll find they are laced with stories. When you dissect the ingredients, the way they’re prepared, you might see the history of a place, how it’s been influenced by other cultures, colonialism or immigrants. You can see how food is used as medicine, how it’s used to celebrate, even to mourn. So, for me food is such a strong vessel for discovery and connection.

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What is the story behind The Dinner Series?

I have a lot of respect for Mila, Daniela and the Elami team, so I was really excited when we started talking about The Dinner Series. It’s started off as a conversation and then slowly it grew, and we did the first dinner at Green Village with Wayan Kresnayasa from Potato Head, which was such an amazing way to start.

Mila and I both saw an opportunity to create eclectic boutique events in Bali. Not your run-of-the-mill party or festival, or four-hands dinner – events that truly connect and inspire people in the creative field. I wanted to give some love to the people doing solid stuff in the culinary scene. And for Mila, there was a strong creative drive. You know, life in Bali changes so rapidly and these days we are all so divided by geography, traffic jams, and our own busy lives, that we don’t really get together as much as we used to. So, I think there’s a bit of nostalgia in there as well. To put it simply, we want to find people doing great things and celebrate them in the most interesting way possible.

What projects are you immersed in right now?

The Dinner Series of course.

I am also in the process of recording my Balinese grandmother’s recipes in the hope of compiling them into a cookbook. I think there are so many layers to Balinese food that I haven’t yet explored, so I’m calling it a book about the food I grew up with. It’s taking a while, but it’s allowed me to spend some really precious time with my Niang who is in her 90s. And learning as much as I can from her, in more of a hands-on sense, as opposed to just writing and recording. It’s a very different approach for me, but it’s teaching me a lot about my culture, my family and who I am as a cook and a writer – having that ability to slow down and be truly conscious in the kitchen.

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What is your routine to get inspired?

Every morning I try and do three pages of free writing. I’ve got a book especially for this, so I sit down with a cup of tea and my favourite pen and just write anything that comes to mind. Sometimes it makes no sense, some days it’s more of a diary entry, other times I’ll just write about the way the morning light is touching the kitchen bench that day. There are really no rules and it just gets my creative juices going.

An Open Studio event and product launch for Threads of Life

To celebrate the launch of a new product line, Farmer to Fabric, Threads of Life opened their natural dye garden and studio to the public for an afternoon.

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Guests were able to visit 6 stations demonstrating different parts of the natural dye process, take a mini-tour of the dye garden, purchase fabrics, learn about the workshops available, and talk to the team about any specific questions they had.

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About Farmer to Fabric:

The Farmer to Fabric collection of hand-dyed natural-dyed fabrics brings the production values of our partner weaving communities to the work of our own dye studio in rural Bali: we use natural dyes by natural processes, avoiding synthetic additives; we work by hand, so that the mastery of our in-house dyers is evident in the look and feel of every unique piece; and we source our dyes directly from the farmers we have trained to grow and process the dyes.

This collection builds on natural dye practices with indigo, Ceriops-brown, mud-black, Morinda-red, and other traditional colours that we have studied since 1998 in collaboration with indigenous weavers across Indonesia. Through this research we have been able to discover where the transmission of knowledge between generations had broken down and facilitate revitalisation of traditions. With Farmer to Fabric we can now also support sustainable cultivation and use of the dye plants as a way of supporting the husbands of the weavers we work with.

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Around 50 people joined the event. Many were long time supporters of Threads of Life but had never had the opportunity to visit the dye studio or learn more about the processes behind the beautiful colors of Indonesia’s textiles.

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The beautiful cloth tag we designed for the Farmer to Fabric line. Screen-printed and hand-sewn to create pockets for the information about each piece.

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Crafting a brand identity for Mana

The team from Earth Company has been working on a special project for the last few years. We’re happy to be part of the final piece of the puzzle by creating the brand identity for Mana Earthly Paradise and helping launch this eco accommodation located in Sayan, Bali. It’s set to open in June 2019. Follow their story on Instagram.

Nestled in Ubud’s heartland, Mana Ubud reimagines sustainable living for the eco-conscious traveller. Where the real luxury is in your connection to the land, the environment and the community.

Live in earth-bag bungalows constructed from all natural materials. Mana Ubud combines elements of traditional Balinese architecture with hints of minimalism and natural modernity. Experience low-impact living surrounded by the beauty of Bali.

Learn about innovative new eco-technologies that can reduce your footprint on the plant.

Leave your mark on the community. Your stay supports change-makers across the Asia Pacific.

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For the palette we chose to use colors inspired by the warm tones of the mud walls and very organic shapes in line with the natural forms of the architecture and design. We looked to Japan, Bali and the Pacific for inspiration and references.

Much of the design of the space and structures was completed by the team at Hatiku Indonesia and their initial sketches inspired us in creating the initial feed for Instagram and social media posts.

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Make a Scene! X Cosa Design & Decor

Elami was very happy to play a small role in uniting the amazing talents of Make a Scene! and Cosa Design & Decor for a special event.

Cosa creates incredible floral designs primarily for weddings in Bali and Jakarta and their work has been featured in Martha Stewart and Junebug Weddings. Despite not being Bali-centric in terms of design, they gamely agreed to combine with Make a Scene! to realize an incredible range of Bali-inspired table centerpieces and floral arrangements with woven coconut leaf components by Make a Scene!.

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Using local Balinese flowers and the idea of a modern offering, they created three different centerpiece designs.

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Make a Scene! also created a series of photo backdrops for guests to enjoy during the event, including incredibly alive dragons.

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A pair of butterfly wings to embrace a couple.

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And a fan paired with two woven umbrellas. All woven by hand and biodegradable!

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5 years of Elami and Co & 5 things we learned

Celebrating our Elamiversary all April!

We got a shock when we realized this year marked the 5th birthday of Elami and Co. Although, sometimes we think it’s been more than 5 years because of the number of events, designs and experiences that we have worked on with so many amazing people. Our roots can be found in volunteering for TEDxUbud and being aware that we started all of this from a shared love of event and experience creation gives us a strong set of values as a company.

To date we have initiated and curated TEDxUbud, The Creative Refresh, The Dinner Series, brand storytelling for many sustainable and environmentally conscious companies around Bali, and recently welcomed Make a Scene! event decor to the family.

We asked each other what we have learned in the last 5 years and this is what we came up with.

  1. Incorporating our core beliefs in our work.

The most important thing for us is sustainability in all contexts. The core of what Elami and Co. does is event management and design and we believe that we can still create amazing experiences that also have a positive impact. That can mean choosing local artisans to create products, keeping the environment in mind when designing (because there is no need for more waste on this island if we can do that), or choosing local food sources whenever we can. If it’s a Bali event, it has to include, support and honor all the things that make Bali so special, especially the rich culture and heritage of the island.


2. Storytelling is at the heart of everything

We love hearing and telling stories. Last month, we celebrated International Storytelling Week and sat down with Elami Co-founder Mila to talk about why Elami and Co. loves storytelling: “When you met someone who is passionate tell you about something, they are so in love and so knowledgeable. You fall into their world and that is powerful. You can’t help but get swept along and meanwhile you’re learning so much!” People connect to stories, much more than a product or service.

3. The devil is in the details.

Also known as the ‘have you ever tried to sleep with a mosquito in the bed’ principle. You can have an amazing event, but if the toilet paper has run out in the bathroom that might be the one thing that sticks in the attendee’s mind. A good event manager always keeps an eye on the ‘little stuff’. A flawless and simple event needs a lot of to-do-lists and cross checking to make it flow.


4. Only as strong as our relationships

For everyone. Working with people from different backgrounds make us appreciate this even more. We are not making events for ourselves but for the people who attend. What we might think is amazing might get thrown out the window when we put ourselves in the shoes of an attendee. In all our events, we also love people to feel like they are personally acknowledged. A handwritten thank you message, or a customized gift goes a long way, we’ve discovered.

We’ve found we’re only as strong as our relationships with people, especially our beloved vendors and volunteers!


5. Always expect something to go wrong.

Psychological research calls this resilience and we need buckets of that to do events. Nothing is perfect in the world of event management. Even when the communication and planning is amazing, something will go astray. So we learn day by day to be more organized and put more systems in place to soften the blow when something does go haywire.

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Last but not least, is an honorable mention that no matter what we do, it's always

poquito miring!

(translated as 'slightly askew’ in this mashup of Indonesian and Spanish)

We have just expanded our office and can’t get over how this has become our unofficial motto in all things. It’s also a path to acceptance for the perfectionist in us all.


Indonesia Nara Karya X The Creative Refresh

When we designed The Creative Refresh, we envisioned creating experiences for companies and teams in the creative industries looking to come together, explore new skills, and leave with a renewed sense of creativity in their company’s culture. We knew we could design amazing tailored programs for companies with a twist inspired by Bali, while offering teams an opportunity to relax, connect and grow. In short, by getting a behind-the-scenes look at Bali’s fascinating creative ecosystem and spending intensive time cultivating new skills, we know a Refresh will bring participants fresh inspirational juice and energy for future projects.

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So, when Indonesia Nara Karya (INK) approached us to create a two day Refresh for their team, we realized we couldn’t have dreamed up a more ideal client- a group of young Indonesian creatives (filmmakers, copywriters, graphic designers) working on telling stories with a social conscience! INK was coming to Bali for a work plan retreat with ten members and asked to have The Creative Refresh after their planning meetings were complete.

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We began the process of planning their Refresh by asking them what they wanted to achieve. These three words kept coming up: mindfulness, Indonesia, and team. As a team that works remotely, their trip to Bali was an important time for relationship building and face-to-face interaction. So we designed a few twists to their activities, often including more pair work and interaction between group members to help activate their sense of togetherness.

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This was balanced by the need for cultivating mindfulness in their creative process. For this request, we chose activities and mentors with a focus on meditative practices through art and also by asking workshop leaders to talk more about their own personal experiences with this important part of creativity. We also made a point of including reflection times and silent moments before commencing work.

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And finally, they asked for a focus on Indonesia. We’re fortunate to be based in Bali- which attracts creative from all over Indonesia to set up bases and studios here. We had no problem choosing a range of workshops that shone the spotlight on Indonesia’s amazing heritage and Bali’s contemporary creative scene.

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About Indonesia Nara Karya

Indonesia Nara Karya (INK) is an organization founded to support the creative potential within communities. INK is a creative space and collaborative network to achieve their mission of telling Indonesia’s authentic stories. INK sees itself as a sustainist design company that supports the values of co-creation to produce local products and turn the focus on pro-environmental and community-based initiatives.

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About The Creative Refresh

If you make a living from your creativity, the creativity of your team, or just want more creativity in your workplace, it’s time to press pause, hit refresh and replenish your innovative drive.

The Creative Refresh program offers you or your team an opportunity to relax, connect and grow. We design tailored programs for companies with a creative twist inspired by Bali. We can customize the experience to suit corporate retreats, company gatherings, or employee engagement programs with the aim of bringing creativity back into your workplace culture.

We house you in boutique accommodation, introduce you to local creative stars, feed you well (and often), and curate off-the-beaten-track activities based on your wants and needs. Your itinerary might include anything from intimate studio visits to immersive discussions, hands-on workshops, unique culinary experiences and plenty of opportunities to stop and take it all in. In short, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at Bali’s fascinating creative ecosystem, with the goal of bringing your team some fresh inspirational juice.

Photos by Michellina Suminto

The Elementals Dinner, April 5 2019

We will let our The Dinner Series curator and host of The Elementals Dinner, Maya Kerthyasa, summarize this magical night:

“When we started The Dinner Series one of the first things we wanted to do was take people back to the Bali we grew up in. So, last night Melati Gaymans and the Elami and Co girls brought Bukit Campuhan and the river Wos to the verandah of my little cottage, my grandmother and I prepared some of our favourite Balinese dishes, Rudi and Bawa from Akademi Bar at Katamama had infused araks and local-ingredient cocktails on the pour, and then we jumped in a time machine, rewound 20 years and watched a frog dance in the garden. My Papa, Tjok Ibah shared some anecdotes about his life growing up and Balinese culture going forward. And in true Bali style, it rained right up until the guests (who were an incredibly special bunch) started arriving at this mostly outdoor event. An especially big thank you to my Niang, Anak Agung Rai, who surprisingly doesn’t have Instagram.”

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Flavours and folklore from the power of the elements

This evening was about tapping in to the many bounties of traditional Bali - the flavours, the sounds and the natural environment. Dinner was prepared by Anak Agung Rai, the 90-year-old mother of Tjokorde Raka Kerthyasa and a former palace cook, with the help of her granddaughter, Maya Kerthyasa.

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The dinner was held at Maya’s private home on the banks of the Wos River in Campuhan.

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We worked with Melati Gaymans to create an incredible ‘edible landscape’ down the center of the table in the shape of the Campuhan Ridge, with the two (male and female) rivers running down each side. If you look closely you can see Pura Gunung Lebah (Campuhan Temple), the old Dutch bridge and the alang alang fields of the ridge. For the rivers we used agar agar, as well as taro leaves for the grasslands of the ridge, and pandanus leaves for the alang alang.

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For place cards, we wrote each guest’s name with rice grains.

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The menus were hand-lettered by Michellina Suminto on recycled paper to form candle holders for the table.

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The food

Anak Agung Rai, or Gung Niang as she’s known around Ubud, cut her teeth in the kitchens of the Puri in the 1940s. She was just a girl when she married Tjokorda Ngurah of Saren Kauh, who taught her much of what she knows about sacred Balinese foods and how to prepare them. Now in her 90s, she continues to cook the way she did in the palace, using wood-fire and completely natural ingredients. “Once you disconnect from nature,” she says, "you lose sense of what truly matters in life.”

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Gung Niang’s cooking is lauded across the island and has been studied by chefs, home-cooks and international television crews, alike. There’s something in the sincerity of her food that reconnects the diner to flavours of a bygone era – Balinese food in its truest form. You can taste the land in the leaves and roots she harvests from her garden, there’s a life-force from the animal she butchered with her own hands, and most importantly, in every knife-stroke, and mouthful – there’s a resounding sense of ritual and purpose.

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The performance

The house that hosted the dinner was once home to Cristina Formaggia, an Italian dancer who mastered Balinese topeng dance. We invited her former group from Pura Desa Batuan to come and perform in the garden by torchlight.

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Watch the video of the night below:

Behind the design: YSEALI Impact XL Bali workshop

We worked with the East West Center to create the visual identity for the March 2019 edition of the YSEALI (Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative) for eco entrepreneurs here in Bali.

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“Impact eXL is an innovative YSEALI Regional Workshop providing professional development to existing entrepreneurs to improve environmental performance and for environmentalists to incorporate entrepreneurship and modern business practices to their activities. This training will introduce attendees to startup incubators in Bali and incorporate sustainable development, innovation, leadership, strategic philanthropy, and other topics to emphasize how entrepreneurs and businesses can improve their environmental performance.”

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For this event, we created a set of icons closely related to Bali and also symbolic of the places and people the participants would be visiting. We created designs for digital flyers, backdrops, standing banners, tote bags, t-shirts, notebooks, folders, and name tags, keeping in mind a strong sense of place and also the age of the attendees (under 30).

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For the name tag design, we were very inspired by the focus on eco-entrepeneurship and environmental values held by the event. We decided to produce the name tag with Green School’s iHub, a green prototyping facility, and one of the host venues for the workshop. We chose bamboo for its sustainable and strong features as we needed to create a tag that would still look after 4 days of wear but was plastic-free.

We hung the tag on natural indigo-dyed organic cotton cloth sourced at Threads of Life. Threads of Life commits to full transparency for planting, harvesting and production, and their cloth was a perfect fit for the lanyards. The lanyards were produced by a local tailor in Ubud to support small local businesses.

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A few minutes of The Creative Refresh experience

The March 2019 itinerary included intimate studio visits, immersive discussions, hands-on workshops, unique culinary experiences and plenty of opportunities to soak in the best of Bali. In short, a behind-the-scenes look at Bali’s fascinating creative ecosystem that not many people get a chance to see.

Under the name The Creative Refresh, we design tailored programs for companies and individuals in the creative fields. We provide two different experiences:

1. Customized whole experiences curated just for you and your team (anything from 5 to 10 days) for employee appreciation programs, team retreats, corporate excursions or team building programs.

2. Three-day workshops for individuals (four times a year)

Learn more at thecreativerefresh.com

Get to know: Janur Yasa on sustainability, food and personal experiences

We talked with Janur Yasa, one of the founders of Moksa, a plant-based restaurant in Ubud, and a Bali native. Janur has worked with Elami and Co. and TEDxUbud from the very early days - the second edition of TEDxUbud! He’s been an inspiration and calming source of support for our team over the years. In the last few years, Janur has been bringing Moksa, his amazing garden to table venue into being.

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What inspired you to build Moksa?

I built Moksa with my business partner, Chef Made Runatha. We were working together at one of the healing centers in Ubud and we often talked about building a restaurant together. I was so interested because I always see Chef Made as a creative and qualified individual. He sees food as a medicine- what we eat is beneficial to our body. This bring us to the 4 principles that we apply in Moksa: learning, earning, sharing, and fun.

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What are the values that form the foundation of the brand?

We have a tagline, “to create a place of awakening the senses” and we want all the guests who eat here to feel this in every way. They see the food presentation, hear the sound of the tempe cracking, touch the crafted cutlery and the texture of the food, smell the cool atmosphere mixed with the kitchen, garden, and food smells, and, lastly, be surprised by the taste. We really want that to lead to a personal experience every time they come here, whether it is the first time, or the second.

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How you get the team to live your values?

My team and I are so close. I often spend my time here at Moksa, working and making new friends. There is trust between us so we respect each other. We share what we learn. We all have to taste our own food so we know what it is and we all can explain it really well. We have the garden and we bring the garden to the table, from table scraps we give back to the garden. The sense of belonging is built in and everyone in the end has each other’s backs because they are disciplined. Disciplines means respecting each other. Fun doesn’t mean ‘airy fairy’, fun is when you are ready to be present, working hand-in-hand, with good communication, that makes it fun.

What kind of events does Moksa support and why?

Always comes back to, ‘does the event support our 4 principles?’. We support Ubud Food Festival, TEDxUbud, and Slow Food events because we are aligned with their values. Especially, what make us sure is the sustainability and waste management policies of the event. We have this huge problem in Bali. Moksa really want to be part of the people who work to protect the environment. So, we want to support events who is in the same vision and mission. TEDxUbud has taught us how a well-organized big event can handle this issue.

Where do you think Moksa is at right now and what is your next project?

I don’t think that our 4 pillars is the destination. It is a process. I would say maybe the 4 pillars is also the parameter, it is day by day journey. Always learning, sharing, earning, and do fun. Like today, I learn from your questions. I never looked at our work in that way before.

We are now in the middle of building a special facility for cooking classes. Also, I started a regular talk and brunch -- which I would like to also make yoga and brunch or other dojo class and brunch. The first one was 8 people but this week it’s already 16 people. So I am really excited. Basically we talked about the history of Balinese temples, the geography, daily culture, the food, and everything related. The other project we have is more learning, more earning, more sharing, and more fun!

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