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Indonesian arts and literature scene mourns passing of Danarto

News Desk
News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Thu, April 12, 2018 | 08:39 am
Indonesian arts and literature scene mourns passing of Danarto

Danarto, who was best known for his collection of short stories called Godlob, received a number of awards during his lifetime. (JP/File)

The Indonesian arts and literature scene lost another one of its best contributors with the passing of writer and artist Danarto.

The 76-year old died after being hit by a motorcycle when he crossed a road in Ciputat, South Tangerang, on Tuesday.

After the accident, he was taken to the Fatmawati General Hospital in South Jakarta but his injuries were too severe and he did not make it. At the time of writing, the South Tangerang Police are still investigating the 
accident.

Danarto, who was best known for his collection of short stories called Godlob, received a number of awards during his lifetime. In 1982, for example, he was awarded a literature prize by the Dewan Kesenian Jakarta (Jakarta Arts Council) for his short story collection, Adam Ma’rifat, and in 1988 he was given the Southeast Asian Writers Award.

The news of Danarto’s death quickly went viral on social media, with many people in the arts and literature world conveying their condolences.

Poet and writer Sapardi Djoko Damono told The Jakarta Post that he would miss the warm friendship he shared with Danarto, as well as his works.

“All of his short stories made a strong impression on me,” the 78-year old Sapardi, who authored the eternally relevant poem collection Hujan Bulan Juni (Rain in June), said.

 “Everything that comes from Him, will return to Him. Goodbye Danarto, see you There. May you have a clear path. Amen,” Sapardi wrote on his Twitter account, @SapardiDD.

The Indonesian literature scene did not just lose a writer in Danarto, it also lost one of its most beloved elderly figures who was more than willing to share his knowledge with the younger generation of writers and help them launch their careers.

Comic artist and film critic Hikmat Darmawan said Danarto’s easy-going attitude would be sorely missed by his colleagues.

“He could talk with anyone about anything. He could sit down next to a random young man and talk about the end of the world happily, and the young man would feel like as if he had a new grandfather,” Hikmat added.

He said Danarto’s works had a huge impact on him, such as the short story Mereka Toh Tak Bisa Menjaring Matahari (They Can’t Never Catch The Sun Eventually) in the Adam Ma’rifat anthology, as well as Orang Jawa Naik Haji(A Javanese Goes on the Haj), which he considered to be one of Indonesia’s best 
travel books.

According to Hikmat, Danarto would light up when talking about his favorite subjects, wayang and folktales.

“Danarto experimented a lot in writing poetry, prose and theatrical works. All of his works are worthy of placing him as a world-class writer and it should be introduced in our schools.”

Meanwhile, writer and theatrical director Gunawan Maryanto reminisced about Danarto’s humility and kindness, saying that Indonesia lost one of its best artists.

“When I started my career in writing, he [Danarto] helped me a lot. He sent me books and introduced me to the right people who coached me,” Gunawan said. (jlm)

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