Saturday, July 09, 2005

Made Wijaya (Michael White)

Wijaya is Bali's most famous gardener, an Australian architecture student and one-time Australian tennis pro who was suddenly asked to design the gardens for the Oberoi Hotel "having jumped ship and swum ashore in a rainstorm" in 1973 according to his biography.

The recently renovated and republished-in-paperback Balinese Gardens seems suspiciously like one big (beautiful) ad for this bloke: pages and pages are devoted to the Bali Hyatt Garden (which he renovated), the Jimbaran Bay Four Seasons Resort Garden (which he designed), and the Canggu Puri Mertha (he designed the hotel), but maybe it's just a reflection of his eminence. He also designed the Amandari in Ubud, the Australian Embassy's garden, and David Bowie's holiday house in the West Indies.

He certainly has an odd website: one of the first about Bali I've stumbled on with any evidence of its creator having a bullshit detector, and a well developed one at that. He publishes a magazine called Poleng. I'm yet to see a copy.

He lived once at Taman Bebek, in Sayan just out of Ubud, built on the site of the home of American ethnomusicologist, composer, and proponent in the West of gamelan music, Colin McPhee, who wrote one of the standard accounts of the 1930s in Bali, A House in Bali. It has 7 accommodations for tourists, and Villa Om Si in Sanur (US$200 per night for 4 people, $US35 per extra person) was also designed by him.


Blogger sir.twotech."PURIBALI" said...

I am surprise, discover your blog
at my browser..sukses bli made.
I am ask your permission that iam included your profile on my blog
all about garden thanks, I am looks in advance that you are willing to be my friend.just type on FB serch/browser for my name TUTAH WISNAYANA...good luck

1:18 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Mike presents a peculiar front, at once imbuing those who might by chance be exposed to his carefully groomed persona with the sense that he has long since forgotten who he is and what he is not, while at the same time being left to fear for the safety of their darker parts in the aft. Yes, Mr. White is a true champion of that craft that has become so in vogue in Bali, bluff, pretence and profiteering.

11:42 pm  

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