Graffiti brings to mind an urban setting and yet the street art in Nusa Penida is pretty inspiring. The island attracts artistic types who happily share their art on old walls and derelict buildings. A few years back Penida was at the centre of an extensive awareness-raising campaign for ocean protection. This project brought together some brilliant graffiti ARTivists who created big murals carrying a strong environmental message. Here are a few of the coolest pieces around the island in June 2023. The Sampalan/Buyuk area is one of the richest in wall pieces, some of which can be seen from the sea but if you look around cool art can be found all around the island.
The Nusa Penida Sea Walls campaign
In 2018, All Caps Store- a Canggu-based spraypaint shop and street-art space-, an environmental activist (Femke from save our seas/Dolphin project) and a bunch of very talented artists revamped the walls of Penida in a massive environmental awareness campaign for ocean protection. Each mural was huge (3mx3m minimum) and meaningful. Most of the art pieces feature marine creatures exposed to harm in their habitat and to pollution. The initiative was part of the 'Artists for Oceans' project funded by the Pangeaseed Foundation.
Here is a selection of some of the ones I came across on my wanders:
See all the paintings at the time they were made here: https://seawalls.org/activation/bali-id/
One of Bali's coolest street artists, Slinat.
Though Slinat was part of the seawalls campaign, I couldn't find his big piece (see below) which denounces plastic pollution and its impact on marine life. However, I found another cool one. His signature designs are people in full traditional Balinese garb wearing gas masks. He is a fascinating social commentator. His pieces represent the changes that Bali and Nusa Penida are undergoing as the culture changes and evolves with development and tourism. His amazing work is scattered around Bali but you can also find him at his gallery in North Denpasar @artofwhateverbali.
WD, a Penida-born graffiti artist on the world scene
One of the cool pieces you'll find in Sampalan is a mural by WD (Wild Drawing) called 'How much money is enough money?'. WD was born in Nusa Penida and studied fine arts in Bali. He started spray painting in the early 2000s and slowly rose to fame on the international scene. He is now based in Athens but still comes back to Penida to paint. The piece mentioned above he did in 2021. Some of his artwork can also be found in Bali's mecca of graffiti art, the Taman festival, an abandoned theme park and an ever-changing graffiti museum. His owl on the roof has become its most famous piece.
Plenty more cool graffiti around the island, come visit and I'll tell you where!