Abdullah Sarwari's parents are from Afghanistan but he was born in Pakistan and raised in Iran. Four and a half years ago, Abdullah and his family came to Indonesia to seek safety as refugees.
Upon arriving in Indonesia, the then 16-year-old Abdullah realized as refugees, they were not allowed to work or study in Indonesia, meaning he could not complete his studies. In response to this, he and four friends co-founded an informal refugee school—the Refugee Learning Center. Over the last four years, the school has provided free education to over 300 refugee children, men and women.
Recently, he was selected out of 300 other candidates to work with UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) in Indonesia which is a dream come true for Abdullah. He and his family have also signed their resettlement papers which means soon they will be calling Canada home.
Louise Despont lives and works in Bali and New York City. Since discovering the potential of working with pencil and architectural stencils on paper, she has adopted an intuitive process in which she allows her drawings to develop as she creates them, resulting in an almost devotional object comprised of dense colors and shapes. Preferring to draw on ledger paper with pre-existing lines, Louise sees a parallel between the mathematical accounting the paper was designed to organize and the way that her practice is an accounting of her time spent.
Her work has been presented internationally in public and private venues including; the Drawing Center, Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, Museum of Arts and Design, Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York, Petit Palais Paris, VI, VII Oslo, IMO Copenhagen and Galerie Isa, Mumbai. Public collections of her work are found in MoMA New York, High Museum Atlanta and the RISD Museum. Louise is represented by Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, New York.
Bandana Tewari is a lifestyle journalist and sustainability activist.
She is a columnist for The Business of Fashion—writing extensively on a variety of topics from indigenous ‘made-by-hand’ economies of India and Indonesia, to transgender and LGBTQ representation in fashion.
As Vogue India’s Editor-at-Large for 13 years, @behavebandana was responsible for planning, visualizing and ideating fashion features for the ultimate style bible. Her ringside view of the rapidly evolving industry coupled with her signature ability to take the long view has made her one of India’s foremost authorities on fashion and lifestyle.
Bandana’s pieces have also appeared in well-regarded publications such as The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, US Vogue, UK Vogue, Wallpaper*, and Tank, in addition to several leading Indian journals.
Abugrey Lobubun is a Papuan dance artist, choreographer and teacher. He began his love for Hip Hop and contemporary dance at the age of 10. Abugrey uses the similarities between traditional Papuan beats and Hip Hop to develop his own fusion style of dance.
In 2014 Abugrey moved to Jakarta with the intention of sharing the beauty of Papua through his dance. In the same year, he joined the Animal Pop Family (a dance school and community in Jakarta founded by his mentor, Jecko Siompo). Abugrey has since performed at Melanesian Arts & Cultural Festival, ArtJog, Asian Paragames, Festival Puncak Papua and was selected as the Best Choreography at the 2017 Indonesian Dance Festival. He travels across the country giving workshops and performing when he is not teaching with Jakarta Urban Dance Community. He also co-founder and a member of the Daun Gatal dance group.
Prehistoric Body Theater
Prehistoric Body Theater is an emerging performance company that presents paleontology and the evolutionary sciences through the medium of contemporary dance-theatre. These productions aim to educate and inspire diverse audiences by presenting an emotionally potent experience of Earth’s prehistoric ecosystems and humanity’s deep-time origin story. The central characters of these performances are specific vertebrate species from the fossil record.
Under collaborative mentorship with leading paleontologists, artistic director Ari Rudenko generates choreography by mapping the theoretical locomotion and physiology of the featured prehistoric animals onto diverse ensembles of dancers. These animal characters and their evolutionary narratives are brought to life on stage through the evocative use of clay makeup, lighting, sound design, and set installation. Audiences describe their experience of watching Prehistoric Body Theater as “a dive into a mysterious prehistoric past evoking such empathy for all that has come before us”.
Sean Nino is a development expert in the fields of energy, water and waste, with over 8 years of experience in consulting and research for various clients in the Indonesian sustainable tourism and environmental property development sector. His passion lies within environmental sustainable systems design and methods, that change and challenge our existing norms.
Sean is the co-founder of Eco Mantra, a team of engineers and specialists that collaborate with developers and architects to help them save environmental resources and ultimately drive down costs.
He is also one of the main drivers behind the Merah Putih Hijau movement, which builds, operates and transfers community-owned material management facilities to communities around Bali.
Sean grew up in Bali and spent 12 years in Germany, before moving back to Bali in 2013 to work on the problems he is passionate about.
Jackie Pomeroy was an applied microeconomist specializing in international trade when she arrived in Jakarta in 1990 with two suitcases and a one-year contract to work for the Indonesian Ministry of Trade. She worked there for six years (outlasting three Ministers), became a domestic trade specialist, and then went to work for the World Bank. She survived the Asian Financial Crisis, tanks on Jakarta streets during Reformasi, and the referendum in East Timor. She’s still here, but has mostly traded in top levels of government for farmers, and focuses on rural livelihoods around the region. She has been learning a LOT about volcanoes since Gunung Agung started erupting in her backyard in September 2017.
Jonny Miller is the co-founder of Maptia, a living archive of inspiring and impactful stories from around the world and later mentored 250+ early-stage founders through Escape the City. His startup adventure has taken Jonny and his team across five continents from Start Up Chile in Santiago to TechStars in Seattle and then on to Morocco, Switzerland, Bali and back to the UK.
He has also written for Forbes, Huffington Post and is disproportionately proud of once crossing the English Channel on an inflatable standup paddle board. Currently, he’s based in Bali and focusing on building an online academy for Curious Leaders.
Peni Candra Rini
Peni Candra Rini is an accomplished composer, educator and one of the few female contemporary vocalists performing Sindhen—a female soloist style of singing found in Indonesian gamelan tradition. She is a lecturer in the Department of Karawitan and Doctoral Candidate for Creation of Music Art at Indonesian Institute of the Arts, Surakarta. Peni is the owner and Executive Director of Candrarini’s Gamelan, Sentana Art Music Production and Jagad Sentana Art Foundation.
Strongly committed to preserving and sharing the gamelan musical traditions of her country, Peni has collaborated with acclaimed artists from within and outside Indonesia, including Robert Wilson (USA), Albert Chimedza and Mbira Centre (Zimbabwe), Geisser Mazzola Duo (Switzerland), Kamal Musallam (Dubai) and Gilles Saissi (France). In 2014, Peni was a participant in the OneBeat global music exchange, a program initiated by the U.S. Department of State. In addition to her extensive work as a performer, Peni is also a lecturer at the Indonesian Arts Institute in Surakarta.
Ari Rudenko is an interdisciplinary visual and performing artist, and the Artistic Director and Founder of Prehistoric Body Theater. Ari’s approach to performance-creation is rooted in a study of the natural world, in combination with extensive training in Japanese butoh theatre. Working closely with Indonesian and international artists, Ari Rudenko facilitates encounters between contemporary practice and tradition. Ari’s latest work with Prehistoric Body Theater investigates the potential of employing the latest paleontological models to tell epic tales from the prehistoric record and the cladographic Tree of Life with the human body.
Ari grew up in the mossy San Juan Islands off the US’ Pacific Northwest coast. He received a Bachelor’s degree in humanities jointly from Shimer College (Chicago) and Oxford University (UK), a Masters of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College, and was a Darmasiswa Scholar in dance at the Art Institute of Indonesia (ISI) Denpasar in Indonesia.
Saras Dewi will be on our stage this year! Saras Dewi is a Balinese poet, activist and academic. As a lecturer at the University of Indonesia, she teaches Ecofeminism, Ecological Philosophy, Eastern Philosophy, Philosophy of Literature and Phenomenology.
Saras Dewi has written for various Indonesian and international journals on literature, feminism, human rights, eastern philosophy and environmental ethics. Her published works include Jiwa Putih (White Soul), Hak Azasi Manusia (Human Rights), Cinta Bukan Cokelat (Love is Not Chocolate), Ekofenomenologi (Ecophenomenology) and Kekasih Teluk (Bay Lover’s). She has judged literary awards, and is on the steering committee for the Asean Literary Festival.
An environmental and women's activist, Saras Dewi is involved in advocacy for Benoa Bay's conservation in Bali, and is working alongside the women farmers of Kendeng Mountain (Central Java) to preserve their wilderness. She campaigns against sexual violence and is an active counsellor for sexual abuse survivors. Currently, she is working to raise awareness regarding gender justice within the academic community.
James on vocals, Nick on guitar and Mark on keyboards are MANJA—Bali's own fresh, young, up and coming band. Their distinctly dreamy vibes and pop/rock alternative sound have landed them shows at Soundrenaline and they have opened for Jason Ranti, Indonesian pop superstar Glenn Fredly, plus Indonesia's alt-pop underdogs, Elephant Kind.
They will be releasing a long-awaited debut single Still Young, in late 2019 through their social media platforms—so stay tuned, these guys are a band you'll want to keep an eye on.