‘We will leave our statues bare’: Bali Governor says statues won’t be covered up during Saudi king visit like in Bogor

Statues of Krishna and Arjuna. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Statues of Krishna and Arjuna. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Statues in Bali will not be covered up for Saudi King Salman’s forthcoming visit, says the island’s governor, Made Mangku Pastika.

“Bali is famous for being comfortable, safe, and tolerant, so we will leave it as is. (Sculptures) will not be covered,” Pastika said, as quoted by Tribun Bali.

However, things in Bogor were a different story.

Many (but not all) statues were reportedly “hidden” during the king’s visit to the presidential palace in the West Java town on Wednesday.

A statue of a naked man was draped with a cloth while the view of other statutes, like a lion and a dragon, was obstructed by trees, according to reports. Several statues of naked women both inside and outside were covered in cloth.

Concealing the art was not just for modesty’s sake. In Islam, the concept of aniconism is against the depiction of sentient beings, which most importantly goes for God, Muhummad, and other prophets. Paintings and sculptures of people and animals have traditionally been discouraged.

Supporting Pastika’s assertions that Bali statues will be left as is, were comments from Karioka, the Managing Director of BTDC, the complex in Nusa Dua where the king will be staying (which has loads of statues).

“Compared with overseas statues, such as in Europe, those ones there are more vulgar,” Karioka told Tribun.

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