Badung Police and Bali Immigration are looking for two men who were filmed spraying graffiti on a local resident’s wall on 30th September. In a viral video, two foreign men, who had been driving a black Toyota, can be seen making a mural on the side of a wall in Ungasan Village close to Uluwatu.
The video is taken by someone driving by and pulling into the side of the road where the men are standing. One of the men approaches the person recording the video in a cheery manner, still holding a spray can. He says, ‘om suastiastu’ he gestures back at the paint on the wall and asks, ‘is this ok?’ The person recording doesn’t reply, and the video ends. The footage was submitted anonymously to the local social media news account Info Ungasan.
The caption on the viral video translates to explain ‘Vandalism action by painting the wall again happened, the action was done by how many WNA [foreign] people was done on South Goa Gong Road, Ungasan Kuta-Selatan. The action was intercepted by the citizens, when they asked their intentions and purpose they rushed away from the place.’
Traditional village leader Jro Wiyasa, from Kelian Banjar Kangin Ungasan, Jro Wiyasa, told reporters that the issue has been bought to the attention of Badung Police. Wiyasa said, ‘For this incident, we have checked the location and coordinated with related parties. He confirmed that a report has been given to the police and that the two men left the scene shortly after the video was taken’.
Wiyasa told reporters that since the incident involved foreigners that the police would work in coordination with the immigration department. He concluded, ‘Hopefully, nothing like this happens [again]. Not only foreigners, but if there are local people, action will certainly be taken.
The Head of South Kuta Police explained to the press that he was hurt to hear the news of this case. Ketut Gede Arta said, ‘We will forward this information to Immigration because it involves foreigners’. The local civil service, Saptol PP, has also been informed of the issue.
The video has been viewed thousands of times and shared widely across local social media news accounts. Local people have expressed their frustration that an incident like this has happened again. One wrote, ‘There is already video evidence, evidence of car number plate, evidence of suspected perpetrator…crime of environment of criminal article 406 KHP, [now] what’s the action of uniformed office..’
Although there is a lot of graffiti, street art, and murals in areas like Uluwatu, Kuta, and Canggu, it is illegal to graffiti on other people’s property without their permission and is punishable by law. Locals and foreigners have been reminded that just because there is already graffiti on a wall does not make the space an open canvas.
This incident in Uluwatu, on Jalan Goa Gong, is not the first of its kind. Just two months ago, another foreigner was recorded spraying paint onto a local person’s garden wall. Footage of the incident was also shared on Info Ungasan and received similar backlash.
There are very few areas where graffiti is not considered vandalism. However, there is one destination where street art’s contribution is sometimes welcomed. The former Bali Festival Park is an abandoned site in East Denpasar. The space is slowly gaining in popularity as the local community is opening up the old venue as an informal ghost hunting experience.
The community has told reporters that many people had been visiting the area to create murals in the abandoned buildings that have become integrated into the overgrowth. Artists who wish to contribute to the street art in the Old Festival Park must gain permission from the Kesiman Traditional Village leaders on Jalan Pantai Padang Galak, Banjar Kedaton, Kesiman Petilan Village, and East Denpasar.
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