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A Journey to Bali Through Art and Dance

Celine Castel Erickson, AAFSW President

The Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) in collaboration with the Indonesian Embassy successfully hosted an enchanting program “A Journey to Bali through Art and Dance,” on Monday, October 24. The event took place at the Dean Acheson Auditorium and was attended by over four hundred guests.

AAFSW was honored to host His Excellency Indonesia Ambassador Rosan Perkasa Roeslani to the United States, Ms. Ayu Heni Rosan, Ms. Putri Suastini Koster, Chairperson of the Bali Province Crafts Council (Dekranasda), Professor Marlowe Bandem, Board of Commissioner PT. BPR Tata Anjungsari, so many distinguished guests from the Department of State and AAFSW’s members. The event reflected the significance of the strong partnership between the United States and Indonesia, since 1949. And the will of both countries to cooperate and build bridges of understanding. The diplomatic community at large recognized this effort with the presence of over thirty other Ambassadors, their spouses and more representants from foreign embassies and the Department of State Bureau of Asian Affairs.

The event encompassed the Governor of Bali, Dr. Ir. I Wayan Koster, M.M.’s vision based on “principle of political sovereignty, economic independence, and cultural magnificence through systematic, all-embracing, planned, focused, and integrated development efforts within the framework of the Republic of Indonesia.” A reception at the Delegates Room preceded the program, where wonderful Indonesian delicacies and tea were offered to the guests of Ambassador Roeslani. Afterwards, Ms. Switzer, AAFSW’s International Programs Chair, introduced Ambassador Roeslani: “Sworn in as Ambassador Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Indonesia to the United States on October 25th, 2021, Ambassador Roeslani is a successful business executive as Chairman of the Recapital Group and Deputy General Chair of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Ambassador Roeslani has a Finance degree from Oklahoma State University, and an MBA from European University, Antwerp, Belgium. AAFSW is honored to host the delegation of the Indonesian Embassy and the artists of Bali.” Ms. Switzer invited Ambassador Roeslani and Celine Erickson, AAFSW President to give remarks. Ambassador Roeslani thanked Ms. Switzer and AAFSW for organizing this important event with a message of peace. He acknowledged the presence of Indonesia’s Counsellor for Economic Affairs and his team who took time to accompanying him to this event. His Excellency was immensely proud to be representing the rich heritage of Indonesia culture, especially its textiles from the Tenganan Village and the Mythology of Gringsing Fabrics and dances. the Ms. Erickson commented on Indonesia’s motto: Bhinneka Tunggal Ika “Unity in Diversity,” thanking the Indonesian Embassy for sharing their culture of tolerance and “santai” (relaxation) with the world and today in Washington, DC.

With at least three hundred ethnic groups in Indonesia, each with their own set of customs and distinctive cultural objects, Indonesia’s diversity extends to a large variety of belief systems. Bali’s cultural heritage comes in so many forms — paintings, sculpture, music, dance, theater, and more. Artists keep drawing inspiration from the island’s culture, values, and nature, ensuring the art scene stays alive and progressing. 

Dance is an integral part of Balinese culture and religion. Balinese use dances to welcome deities, ward off evil spirits, teach allegorical stories, and mark the cycle of life. The unique esthetics of the Balinese people can also be seen in the paintings, carvings, jewelry, hand-woven textiles, rattan furniture, and stonework found everywhere on the island.

The program was wonderful and a great representation of the Island of the Gods. The guests enjoyed the Sekar Jagat Dance, Oleg Tamulilingan Dance, Cendrawasih Dance, and Tenun (Weaving) Dance, followed by a Fashion show and elaboration of Gringsing Motifs by N.L.N. Suasthi Bandem. People cheered and praised the dancers and musicians. Ms. Ayu Roeslani invited the guests to join her to the stage to meet and take pictures with these wonderful artists from the Islands of the Gods.

Please see the link below for further details about the program.

Event program:

Embassy of The Republic of Indonesia, in Washington D.C., The United States of America (kemlu.go.id)