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Book Launch “Balinese Keris. Metal, Masculinity, Magic” by Garrett Kam
July 14 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
The keris or kris is a dagger famous for its wavy blade, although some do have straight blades. Keris can be found in those parts of Southeast Asia infused with Malay culture (southern Thailand, southern Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia), but are most often associated with Indonesia and particularly Java and Bali. There they are embedded in complex socio-cultural realities as expressed in rituals, sacred ceremonies, performing arts, martial arts, epics and magic among others.
This rich tradition will be the focus of the book launch ““Balinese Keris. Metal, Masculinity, Magic” on 14 July at 5 PM at SEA Junction. The book, written by cultural expert Garrett Kam and published by C. Zwartenkot Art Books (2019), encapsulates major aspects of Balinese keris from their manufacturing to their gender and spiritual dimensions. It describes the keris’ rich contexts while recognizing the highly-accomplished art of the blade, hilt and scabbard.
At the launch, the writer will talk about his book and perform a keris dance. In a symbolic gesture, he will then hand the book over to Pornrat Damrhung, Professor of Theatre and Dramatic Arts at Chulalongkorn University, as representative of the art and culture community in Thailand. At the event, there will be limited copies of the book available for sale and the author will be glad to sign them if so desired.
About the Author
Garrett Kam received his bachelor and master degrees from the University of Hawaii. He has been living in Bali since 1987 and became a ritual assistant in 1990 at Pura Samuan Tiga (Temple of the Tripartite Meeting), one of Bali’s most important temples, the first and only foreigner allowed to do so. In addition to blessing worshipers and bearing sacred objects, Garrett also helps in the preparation of offerings. As a Fulbright grantee, he researched Balinese temporary art, especially objects burned for cremations. Garrett has given many lecture-demonstrations and dance performances throughout Southeast and East Asia and the USA, and is the author of “Ramayana in the Arts of Asia” as well as many books and essays on Balinese and Indonesian art for exhibitions that he curated.
The event is free, but donations are most welcome to enable SEA Junction to continue its activities and keep events accessible to the public.
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Please note that Garrett Kam will also talk about keris cultures in Southeast Asia at the Siam Society on 9 July at 7 PM. For more information on this lecture follow the Society’s website http://www.siam-society.org
Organizer Book Launch
SEA Junction, OUR Venue on Southeast Asia
SEA Junction aims to foster understanding and appreciation of Southeast Asia in all its socio-cultural dimensions –from arts and lifestyles to economy and development. Conveniently located at Room 408 of the Bangkok Arts and Culture Centre or BACC (across MBK, BTS National Stadium) SEA junction facilitates public access to knowledge resources and exchanges among students, practitioners and Southeast Asia lovers. For more information see www.seajunction.org and join the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/1693055870976440/