It’s taking confronting our demons to a whole new level
For one day every year, Bali goes quiet. Lights are turned off, no music is played, and the roads are clear. A blanket of silence falls over the entire island. This is known as Nyepi, or Day of Silence, commemorated on New Year’s Eve on the Hindi Saka calendar. Reserved as a day for self-reflection, the occasion disallows engagement in any worldly activities or entertainment. Natives spend the day meditating and praying. Some fast.
Nyepi is also the inspiration behind the 5,000-square-metre Museum Saka, slated to open in Bali in March 2023. Designed as a calming space, its lobby will feature a black ceiling dotted with spotlights lined up in swooping curves to mimic the island’s starlit night sky on the Day of Silence. Without light and traffic pollution, it’s the one night in Bali when the Milky Way is visible to the naked eye and the stars truly get to show off.
The museum will be dedicated to celebrating and showcasing Balinese art, culture, and mysticism. At the centre of its key collection will be 10 ogoh-ogoh effigies created by renowned local artists, such as Kedux and Gusman Surya. Ogoh-ogoh are giant puppets, usually made out of paper mâche and wood, that depict demons. Considered a form of community-based art, they are created by youths in the villages in the weeks leading up to Nyepi. On the eve, the streets of Bali are taken over by countless processions where ogoh-ogoh are paraded before being burnt to signify self-purification and the ridding of evil spirits.
Once completed, Museum Saka will house eight galleries, an archive and library area, a screening room, café, and a gift shop. It will be the latest addition to the sprawling Ayana Estate, which occupies 90 hectares of land stretching 1.3km at the top of a majestic cliff that overlooks Jimbaran Bay. The estate is also home to four different Ayana branded resorts, a private residential community and an 18-hole golf course. The museum will be free for Ayana’s guests and open to public.