From Bali to US
Lovers of handmade crafts and Asian arts and culture can rejoice! Local batik artist and Indonesian educator Laura Cohn will again open From Bali to Us, a magical bazaar and art show with special events, from November 2 through December 24, 2023 at 8514 Germantown Ave in the heart of Chestnut Hill.
This beloved event showcases glorious Indonesian handcrafts and treasures for sale, along with Cohn’s own contemporary batik paintings. Unique events range from a Play-the-Angklung music night for all ages to Stretching and Sipping Jamu (an herbal immune booster).
Each item is handpicked personally by Cohn in Indonesia, where she lived and painted for six years, learning the language and building relationships. Cohn’s 30 years of connections with artisans allow her to buy fair-trade handcrafts rarely seen in the US. She was also able to make virtual-visit purchases during the COVID-19 shutdown, so the show is as abundant as ever, unaffected by supply-chain limitations that worry many holiday shoppers.
In 2020, Cohn created a new online store, frombalitous.com, that lets shoppers browse and purchase everything from jewelry to sculpture, from the comfort of home. From Bali to US provides a deep dive into Indonesian culture with Cohn as vivacious guide, offering gifts for all ages and price points. A portion of every purchase benefits Indonesian non-profits that support women’s health, environmental clean-up and pandemic relief for artisans.
Cohn is passionate about her mission to educate Americans about Indonesia’s rich culture. Weekly free or low-cost events range from the opening celebration with Modero Indonesian Dance Company accompanied by live Gamelan (Indonesian orchestra), to a virtual Balinese cooking class and feast, films and travel talks, traditional instrument classes, a batik-fashion trunk show, modern Indonesian pop music, and more. Cohn promises that visitors will leave From Bali to Us feeling like they’ve visited the magical island of Bali itself.
SPECIAL EVENTS for our 2023 SHOW
Illuminating the rich culture of Indonesia
Events are free unless noted, with some requiring pre-registration, and held on-site in our festive showroom at: From Bali to Us 8514 Germantown Ave. Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania
OPENING CELEBRATION with Dance! Saturday, November 4 @ 7–8 PM Celebrate with us and with Modero Dance Company, showcasing Indonesian dance & dancers, to welcome our 27th anniversary! Bring your friends and make new ones for a special night with drinks and noshes and joy!
A VISIT to BORNEO & HER APES Sunday, Nov. 12 @ 5 PM Local Philadelphian and primate researcher Natalie Robinson just completed a five-year research project in Borneo, where she followed orangutans through the rainforest, survived floods and droughts, and became even more passionate about conservation. She will share her findings and stories in a beautiful slideshow of a rare journey deep into the jungle.
Dinner in Indonesia: COOKING DEMO & FEAST Thursday, November 16 @ 7 PM
Join us as we explore, for the first time, the tasty Madurese cuisine & culture from Madura Island, just off the north coast of Java. The owners of Pecel Ndeso Catering will teach us how to make many delicious regional favorites, while we feast on the dishes together. What makes Madurese cooking so special is the unique and strong mix of herbs, a perfect complement to the strong and tough character of the Madurese people. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options available. Pre-registration is required: $40 per person, but seating is limited and fills up quickly! Sign up at the shop or with our Evite.
BATIK Extravaganza Day & TRUNK SHOW Saturday, November 18 @ 1–4 PM
Immerse yourself in the love of this ancient craft with three batik enthusiasts. Davas Batik returns from Indonesia with a trunk show of a new style of batik apparel featuring men & women’s fashion! Learn from batik artist Laura Cohn how she creates her contemporary batik paintings through a traditional artform. And, local South Philly Indonesian resident Lillian Christaka will share her vintage batik collection and stories about their origins and meanings.
DANGDUT Performance STAG & DOE NIGHT Wednesday, November 29 @ 7 PM
Welcome Philadelphia resident Kirsten Spangenberg to share her love of “Dangdut” singing, a popular Indonesian fusion of local musical traditions, Indian and Malaysian film music, and Western rock. If her music makes you feel like dancing, be our guest!
INDONESIAN Documentary FILM NIGHT Saturday, December 2 @ 7 PM
The captivating film “Jalanan” is a portrait of three gifted, charismatic street musicians in Jakarta, tracking them over a tumultuous five-year period in their own lives and that of Indonesia.
STAG & DOE NIGHT Wednesdays before the Holidays from 6–9 PM
For four fun Wednesdays (Nov. 29, Dec. 6, 13, 20), experience the sights & sounds of Chestnut Hill’s many shops decked out for this special holiday tradition. Once again, From Bali to Us is the happening spot on the Hill: come taste our Indonesian treats and tropical cheer!
Passion & Spice CANDLELIGHT DINNER with Chef Diana Widjojo Friday, Dec. 8 @ 7 PM
James Beard-nominated Philly-based Chef Diana Widjojo, formerly of the acclaimed Hardena, and her partner, Jennifer Cowden, bring their newest catering enterprise, Rice & Sambal, to us for a very special evening of fine dining. Highlighting traditional & modern Indonesian cuisine, we’ll explore the islands of Indonesia, filled with all the passion & spice of the region. Please join us for an exceptional four-course dining experience unlike any other! Pre-registration is required: $75 per person, BYOB,. Save a spot at this exclusive event by signing up at the shop or with our Evite.
The HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY in Indonesia Friday, Dec. 15 @ 7PM
The impressive book, A History of Photography in Indonesia: From the Colonial Era to the Digital Age, looks at the development of photography from the beginning and traces its uses in Indonesia from its invention to the present day. In particular, it addresses the impact of photography on colonialism, independence, and democratization. The book’s editor, Brian C. Arnold, will illuminate this subject’s medium and history, as well as his own experiences in Indonesia.