Trance | Dance | Bali
In the photos of Gill Marais
28 October 2021 – 30 January 2022
The photo exhibition at the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Asiatic Arts presents to the public a little-known side of the island of Bali from the perspective of two travellers – both of them women. One of them arrived at Bali in the mid-1930s, the other in the turning of the 20th and 21st centuries. They did not know each other, but, with nearly a hundred years difference, both were receptive to the same phenomena in Bali.
Gill Marais got to Bali as a photojournalist in 1988, and spent much of her life there. She created captivating photo series about ritual trance dances of the island – a selection is presented in our exhibition. These dances are important means of communication with the world beyond our visible world, and include elements that sometimes might seem uncanny to the uninvolved viewer. The Hungarian public already had the opportunity in the 1930s to learn about traditional dances that represent the eternal struggle of good and evil. These dances are also important means of fighting against malefic powers and keeping them away.
Ilona Zboray came to the archipelago in the mid-1930s to visit her elder brother, who was working and living there for a decade and a half. She also aimed at exploring the mysterious tropics. In the present exhibition visitors can read her contemporary accounts on, among others, the very same trance dances that Gill Marais captured in her photographs in the early 21st century.
Exhibited texts and photos presenting trance dances come to life in an abridged version of the documentary titled Sacred & Secret, directed by contemporary Basil Gelpke.