Mon, 11 Sep 2000

Residents protest art performance

UBUD, Bali: Noted Balinese artist Made Wianta was forced to cut short a performance on a road in Lodtunduh village here on Saturday due to a protest by local residents.

The evening art performance, titled The Road, was scheduled to last for 30 minutes. However, it was called off after 13 minutes when dozens of residents gathered to protest the closure of the main street in the village. The residents said Wianta had blocked the road without their approval.

"This is a public road and the organizer closed it down without first consulting with local authorities," Wayan Pali, a local figure, said, adding that he also objected to the use of sacred Hindu symbols and ritual paraphernalia in the performance.

The art performance, which was aimed at raising people's awareness of worsening traffic problems on Bali, involved a cement mixer truck, several trucks used to lay asphalt, effigies and a number of street vendors.

Gianyar Regent Tjokorda Budi Suryawan, who was Wianta's guest at the performance, calmed the protesters.

In an one-hour meeting with local figures, the event's organizing committee chairman, Yuda Bantono, offered an apology to the residents.

Separately, Gianyar Police chief Supt. D.M. Parsana promised to investigate allegations the artist misused religious symbols in the performance. (zen/lup)