After an hour-and-a-half chat in a cafe in Ubud, photographer and director René Roosevelt had no doubts - Hickman Powell was the right man to put words to the photos he had taken of the island of Bali. It was 1929 and the world was falling apart. The young reporter of the New York Morning World had decided to take a year off and travel around the world. He had just arrived in Bali. Hickman Powell would later receive notoriety with Ninety Times Guilty, the thrilling look at the trial of Charles “Lucky” Luciano. However, his literary premier came with The Last Paradise, a brilliant account of the traditions and life on Bali, printed in 1930 and accompanied by the photos of René Roosevelt and the illustrations of Alexander King. During his stay on the island, Powell was struck by Balinese culture - he was fascinated by the mixed religious traditions of Hinduism and Animism, bewitched by the local musical instruments and he spent hours and hours watching performances of traditional dance. Powell knew how to capture the spirit of the island. The pages of his book describe, in abundant detail, the essence of Balinese life. The writer shared with the photographer the idea that the Balinese were the greatest artists on Earth. Furthermore, they believed that every Balinese, male and female, were, in their own way, artists. Widespread well-being, free time and religion had traditionally represented fundamental elements of the local culture, necessary prerequisites for the development of the arts. Even today, the pages of The Last Paradise offer a voyage straight into the heart of Balinese culture.
A fascinating attraction brings us to the eastern side of the island, just a handful of kilometres from Karangasem, gathering visitors amidst the former royal palace, as well as a series of pools and ponds.