Mis-placed Boomerangs: Artistic Creativity Supply Chain Capitalism, and the Production of Ethnic Arts in Bali

Ana Dragojlovic

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    1 Citation (Scopus)


    Based on ethnographic fieldwork on the production, dissemination and consumption of non-Balinese and non-Indonesian ethnic arts, this paper focuses on 'mis-placed' boomerangs as an example of the emerging juxtaposition of different ethnic aesthetics in the Balinese art market. The ethnographic investigation provides insights into the socio-economic dynamics of art markets and reveals a complex interplay of the interlocking aspects of the performance of cultural identity associated with artistic skilfulness and efficiency of production of Balinese and other ethnic arts which leads to willing participation in 'supply chain capitalism'. Focusing the analysis on how, where and for whom these objects might be perceived as 'in' or 'out of place', the article ponders how authentication becomes a process of constant negotiation, shifting from production of imagined cultural essentialism to reproduction of ethnic aesthetics that celebrates the juxtaposition of divergent cultures. The article contributes to debates about Balinese culture and its representation, pointing to the importance of the political and economic forces in these contestations and to the unequal power relations present not only between Balinese and international traders but also between Balinese producer-distributors and the Balinese cultural nationalists who claim authority over Balinese culture.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)245-261
    Number of pages17
    JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


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