A village in Bali Canggu? Okay, there’s lots of tourists here alright (yes, “digital nomad” is just a fancy word used nowadays instead). Our presence changed the face of many places forever and Canggu is one of such destinations. From a quiet, agricultural village to a hip surfer town. Well, maybe not a town just yet, but give it another two years and it’s going to be an extension of Kuta. (Let’s hope not.) Experiencing things with a clear mind Coming here without any expectations, I definitely didn’t think I’m gonna see so much street art at its finest. Canggu is small. People don’t come here by mistake, they come here for surfing and sometimes stay longer. Because of this, the atmosphere in the place is very unique. The murals are one of the best surprises that awaited me on my arrival… A few days ago, I finally hopped on a bike and went on an “open gallery of street art” tour. Amazing density of murals I love street art, it’s one of my favourite art forms. Its transitory nature plays the right chords in my heart, breaking it little by little, as I know that sooner than later someone’s going to paint over them.
I like to experience art a little deeper, so I took my bike and rode around Canggu taking pictures of all the murals that I found. So many distinct styles! I quickly started recognising various artists as most of the pieces are signed and if they’re not signed, their style is so distinctive that it’s natural to connect the dots.
Some of the street art you can appreciate in Canggu is by Lister, The Yok, The Snake Hole, Doby, Ricky Afdi, Bazuco, Idol Motions, Bede Carmine, who is on to make a change in the world working for a more sustainable future, and a crew that seems to be made up of many people: Choose Life. Choose Life is addictive Every time I see these words, the beginning of Trainspotting starts playing in my head, especially since I visited Edinburgh not long ago and even got the “Choose life, choose a career” T-shirt. (How tacky is that? But I couldn’t resist! All right… I didn’t want to resist.) Seems that Choose Life chose Canggu and Canggu chose Choose Life. The phrase keeps playing in my head. Choose Life. Choose Life. Another mural, another call. Choose Life. The crew made Canggu its own personal canvas. By the end of the graffiti-hunting trip, I recognise their murals even when they’re not “choosing life.” I completely love the depictions of Barong – a lion-like creature that is an important character in the mythology of Bali. He is the king of spirits, leader of the hosts of good, enemy of the demon queen, Rangda, who is the mother of all spirit guarders. Choose Life’s artworks display an understanding of the context in which the crew works. This is unique and I start wondering who these people are. Because of Barong, they seem to be locals. But are they? How do my own preconceptions influence what I see and understand on the walls around Canggu? All right. Now, I simply have to know: who are these people??? A questioned asked is a questioned answered. To be continued. But before I finish, let me take you for a street art trip around Canggu. It’s a real feast for the senses!