5 Nov 2023 By May Ng

Ayana Previews its New Cultural Center and Event Destination: SAKA Museum

Bali’s vibrant cultural heritage, AYANA showcase its new cultural center and event destination,SAKA Museum, ahead of its official opening in 2024. Merging Bali’s timeless charm with cutting-edge design, ultra-modern facilities, and an awe-inspiring atmosphere, SAKA Museum will be an important cultural hub for celebrating the island’s creative, spiritual, and philosophical expressions, while its vast open-air and indoor spaces make it a premier venue for diverse occasions.

Since 1996, AYANA, Bali’s biggest integrated resort destination, has continuously innovated to become a world class travel and lifestyle location. Through SAKA Museum, situated at the forefront of the estate, AYANA is expanding its contribution to the Balinese community by supporting its artists, historians, scientists and scholars, while enriching visitors with a deeper understanding of the island’s living heritage. A homage to the Balinese Saka calendar — an ancient Hindu solar calendar adapted by the Balinese to accommodate religious and ceremonial activities dictated by the cycles of the moon — the museum’s name perfectly encapsulates its mission of bridging the past, present, and future of Bali.

The SAKA Museum offers a truly exceptional venue for a wide range of events. Occupying the first floor, the East Gallery is a captivating indoor space that provides an artful setting for special events, from distinctive weddings to exclusive corporate gatherings of up to 300 guests. Surrounded by the estate’s verdant gardens and offering magnificent sunset views, SAKAGarden on the second floor is an enchanting outdoor space equipped with a floating stage arrangement, making it a spectacular setting for atmospheric events of up to 400 attendees. A refined VIP Room is also available to book as a private meeting venue with an elegantly artistic ambiance.

For the museum’s interior design, AYANA collaborated with the multi-award-winning Napp Studio & Architects, renowned for their work in building riveting museum journeys that enhance visitor curiosity. An inclusive space, SAKA Museum is wheelchair-friendly, incorporating elevators and accessible toilets into the design, while the team is committed to tailoring tours based on specific needs.

For its inaugural exhibition, SAKA Museum closely collaborated with Balinese communities and artists to create ogoh-ogoh, giant effigies that are paraded through the streets on the eve of the Saka calendar’s most important day: Nyepi, Bali’s New Year celebration and day of silence. Serving as an entry point for visitors to delve into the meaning of Nyepi, the exhibition involved nine banjar (neighborhood groups) and prominent young artists, including Jimbaran’s Banjar Ubung; Denpasar’s Banjar Tainsiat led by artist, Kedux; and Tampaksiring’s Banjar Kelodan led by artist, Gusman Koi. The ogoh-ogoh exhibition’s curation and development were overseen by a curatorial team helmed by eminent cultural innovator, Marlowe Bandem.

The museum’s permanent collection — to be unveiled next year — has been curated by a committee of renowned researchers, collectors and cultural experts, including Dr James Bennet, Professor I Made Bandem, Farah Wardani, and Marlowe Bandem, under the leadership of Bruce Carpenter, an esteemed gallerist and art historian who has authored and co-authored over 20 books on Indonesian art, culture and history.

“With SAKA Museum, AYANA aims to significantly increase its contribution to the Balinese community that has provided many blessings to the AYANA family,” says Giordano Faggioli, General Manager of AYANA Resort. “With its prime position at the forefront of the estate, all guests will see SAKA on entering the property, which signifies the museum’s importance for AYANA.” As Bali has emerged as the region’s leading MICE destination, AYANA will strive to ensure SAKA Museum stands out as the island’s most culturally immersive event venue. “We look forward to welcoming our guests celebrating their unforgettable occasions at our newest event venue,” concludes Faggioli.

In the lead-up to the opening, guests of AYANA Villas Bali, AYANA Resort Bali, AYANA Segara Bali, and RIMBA by AYANA Bali can now view the museum, free of charge, by scheduling their visit via the AYANA web app. Starting October 1, the general public can also arrange private visits on a limited basis by contacting rsvp@sakamuseum.org.

Ticket pricing will be announced prior to the official opening in 2024.