In school I was horrible at picking out symbolism in literature. I don’t know if I lacked the ability to identify it? Or perhaps it was a rebellion on my part. I kept questioning whether the author always chose a white dress to signify purity, blackness to foreshadow death, and red for passion or adultery. (I’m simplifying of course) What if the author just plain ol’ wanted his subject in a white dress?

Fast forward 30 years and my interest in symbolism has shifted. It has been interesting to see black and white—and red—applied in this Balinese context. There is much meaning behind the use of the various colors and designs and I’m sure I recognize only a fraction of what is in front of me.

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I was unaware of the police and/or security presence in Bali until I understood that they look like this (below) as opposed to the uniforms we’re used to.

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Even the little mourning dove wears a black & white necklace.

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Bali’s regional mascot, the Bali Myna bird. (below) Mostly white, but a little black.

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When I first arrived, these billboards were everywhere. I had no idea who these people were but I always thought of restaurants and chefs when I saw them. It was only a bit later that a taxi driver explained these were for an upcoming election for governor. I think the opposing party clothing was (I believe) more red and black (don’t quote me!)

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Below, people on their way to ceremony (a lot more white than black going on here). I have seen lots of trucks filled with people going to ceremony but I just can’t seem to get a good photo of them! Wisconsinites might get a kick out of knowing I saw one guy outside of a temple milling around with others dressed in their ceremonial clothes—the back of his shirt said Harley Davidson.

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Not sure how apparent it is, but these small flags across a rice field are black and white.

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This last photo was taken in a little restaurant next to Bintang Market. It made me think of our cousin Chris so I wanted to post it somehow. I wasn’t sure how to link Bali and PEZ, but black and white did it.

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