Forget the mundane Louvre, that crazy Gaudi dude or the supposedly good pop art of Tate Modern, the Art Zoo is where it’s all happening. I first saw the Art Zoo as I was cruising along the coast of Bali exploring the many hidden hideaways of the secluded northern villages. The Art Zoo lured me in with the promise of crazy colours and the opportunity to wander into the somewhat surreal realms of the Balinese art scene. I wasn’t disappointed.
The Art Zoo is a gallery like none other and more represents an extension of the artist’s imagination than simply a piece of artwork produced on canvas. As you walk through the grounds with giant hands appearing through walls, long eccentric golden dragon spirits, crazy art and spiral towers, you start to wonder if you have crossed into Wonderland. Then you meet the Cheshire Cat.
Just as you start to form an opinion – you’ll either love this for the eclectic view into contemporary art or you’ll love that it’s incredibly corny that its fun – you meet the man behind it all or I like to kindly call him, the Cheshire Cat. Quietly swinging in his hammock, watching from a distance before enticing you into a riddle of conversation. It was explained that he had built the place from scratch over time, would eventually sell up because of too many foreigners and start over again somewhere else. The main mural that was being working on by him and his apprentices was about to be sent to Singapore for an exhibition, whilst other artwork was on its way to his Ubud gallery.
The Art Zoo in Bali is crazy in a good way as it doesn’t take itself too serious. It is well worth a stop and is found west of Tedjakula along the main coast road. It will take you about 3 hours from Kuta to reach it and if you’re planning to come this far it’s well worth staying a couple of days in the area.