TEDxUbud at Fivelements

Where Bali’s creatives champion the environment, art and wonderful causes

For the 5th year running, Bali’s artists and performers, musicians and magicians, travellers and athletes, entrepreneurs and paradigm-shifters gathered in the soaring mandala at Fivelements for TEDxUbud 2016.

Hosted by Indonesian photographer Rio Helmi who also blogs for the Huffington Post, the line up brought an outstanding series of inspirational talks and performances guaranteed to challenge, motivate and uplift the sold-out, 300-strong, barefoot audience.

Local culture was represented by Jaran Poleng, a beleganjur gamelan orchestra of seven mainly percussive instruments. Designed to accompany armies into battle, they delivered a rousing and blood-curdling performance that drummed an incredible, tangible energy into the entire mandala.

Championing the environment

No less inspiring was Filipino/Irish-American Sandrayati Fay, studying at Bali’s One Dollar For Music Foundation. Her songs carved a scenic journey through nature, human rights, identity and love.

Her environmental stance is shared by The Noble Material Roadshow, which is made up of Bali’s Green School students and arts teacher Sarita Pockell. Their performance tackled the throwaway plastic issue the island is suffering from with ideas of how to clean up the problem.

In addition, the Green School Bali’s Bio Bus Team reps Maxwell and Kyla shared how their biodiesel project is helping recycle cooking oil while employing locals.

And Kyle Parsons told how he created Indosoles, a company that turns trashed tires into footwear soles and is staffed by Indonesian craftspeople.

Having toured the world on bio-fuelled boat Earthrace for nearly three years, Yachtmaster of the Year Emily Penn is director of Pangaea Explorations, and she shared how she helps highlight the ocean’s plight through mass-waste clean-ups, microplastic trawls in the Arctic and assisting others to contribute to the conservation of the ocean.

Artists unite

The first speaker this year was Indian Shilo Shiv Suleman, opening the event with her installation art and illustrations, which use magical realism and technology to focus on creating social change.

Fearless Sakdiyah Ma’ruf is a comedian, but she’s much more than that. One of the first Indonesian Muslim female stand-ups, her jokes revolved around issues that plague Bali in order to drive the point home.

The mystery of magic came alive under the sleight of hands of Scot Sean Borland. Using a breathtaking mix of psychology, hypnosis and misdirection he left the audience gasping in disbelief at the stunts he pulled.

Renowned for her role in Empire in Melbourne, dubbed Cirque de Soleil meets The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Kiwi Lucia Carbines is a master at contortion and the aerial arts and pretzeled herself as if her bones were made of rubber.

Renowned street food makeover chef and stylist Dade Akbar is the creator of Warteg Gourmet, and shared how his Instagram account has publications, TV and ad campaigns all watering at the mouth for his next post.

It’s all for a cause

Marlowe Bandem is an entertainer through his work as a Dj and event management, but he talked about how he juggles these professions with running micro-financed banks and chairing the Widya Dharma Shanti Foundation that oversees the largest information and communication technology college in Bali STIKOM.

Meanwhile Catherine Huang tells how doctorSHARE brings free healthcare to remote islanders in eastern Indonesia, and American Susan Tereba shared setting up Alz World in order to inspire other caregivers like herself.

Gastronomic sustenance

Fivelements Chef Arnaud created picture-perfect banana leaf lunch plates to hold the deliciously crunchy and tasty array of seasonal, organic plant based cuisine that wowed all TEDxUbud goers.

“I wanted to pay homage to the wild herbs and plants I’ve learned to recognize and appreciate since arriving in Bali a few months ago,” he says. “I also focused on local ingredients like red rice, black rice, coconut and its palm sugar, and Balinese cacao. The result was a lunch plate composed of 12 preparations – dips, salsa, pickles, curry, tempeh, crackers, raw salads, seeds and nut powder. There were also traditional Balinese desserts and not forgetting the lemongrass iced tea that welcomed all guests to the Sakti Dining Room™.”  

Selected Inspiring Videos

How used cooking oil powers a school bus in Bali | Kyla Langostky and Maxwell Hidajat

The give and take of Alzheimer's | Susan Tereba

The body burden of our plastic problem | Emily Penn

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