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Photographer rekindles local folktales

Tertiani ZB Simanjuntak

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, January 11, 2017  /  01:37 pm
Photographer rekindles local folktales

The Legend of Banyuwangi (Luna Maya) ( Wibowo)

Fashion photographer Rio Wibowo, 31, chose the everlasting theme of “Alkisah” (Once Upon a Time) as his response to the dying narration of myths and legends that contain local wisdoms. “I grew up listening to local folktales and it’s sad that they’ve been replaced by fairy tales that have been passed down from generation to generation. Through this project I hope to raise public awareness about recognizing and promoting our own cultures,” said the rising photographer widely known as Rio Motret.

Initially started as a project to commemorate his 10 years as a photographer, Alkisah became a colossal venture that took him over two years to finish, as it involved 65 celebrities, 15 fashion designers and 10 fashion stylists, and has been exhibited in five cities.

The 24 shots were displayed for the first time in Jakarta in August 2015 before being taken on the road to Surabaya, Bandung, Makassar and Surabaya. The last leg of the yearlong tour took the exhibition to the Indonesia Convention and Exhibition Hall (ICE), Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD) in Banten, during the month-long Indonesia Market Fair that ended in November.

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“It’s a collaboration of over 100 artists so it can’t be done within a rigid schedule,” he said. “For the project I was only able to select only some of hundreds of folktales from throughout the country and I selected the models that would represent the story characters the best.”

His cordial relationships with the artists was key to the project as they agreed to take part in it without pay and had to endure some difficulties due to rough conditions at the shooting locations.

“The designers created the wardrobe only for the shoot as they also believe in and want to contribute to the promotion of national cultures.”

The designers mentioned were Anne Avantie, Eddy Betty, Deden Siswanto, Mel Ahyar, Ghea Panggabean, Rusly Tjohnardi, Ivan Gunawan, Denny Wirawan, Ferry Sunarto, Barli Asmara, Adrian Gan, Iwan Tirta Private Collection by Era Soekamto, Priyo Oktaviano, Yogi Pratama and Danny Satriadi, while the accessories were designed by Rinaldy A. Yunardi.

The result was a feast for the eyes. Rio captured the pivotal moment of the story in a shot that accentuated the beauty of the wardrobe and the setting, while the expressions of the models — mostly film actors — set the tone for the visuals.

He picked a score of folktales, namely South Kalimantan’s Putri Junjung Buih (Olla Ramlan); North Sumatra’s The Legend of Toba Lake (Atiqah Hasiholan, Rio Dewanto); Jakarta’s Si Pitung (Denny Sumargo, Nadine Chandrawinata, Ruben Onsu, Andika Pratama, Bertrand Antolin, Miller Khan) and West Java’s

Lutung Kasarung (Vino G. Bastian, Marsha Timothy) and Sangkuriang (Titi DJ, Raffi Ahmad).

From West Sumatra he chose Sabai Nan Aluih (Titi Rajo Bintang, Marcellino Lefrandt, Andre Hehanusa, Regina Ivanova) and Malin Kundang (Dewi Gita, Robby Purba, Meisya Siregar); Central Java was represented by Jaka Tarub and Seven Fairies (Gading Marten, Gisella Anastasia, Vicky Shu, Kartika Putri, Ayu Dewi, Eva Anindita, Gracia Indri, Ussy Sulistiawaty) and Timun Mas (Jessica Iskandar, Ivan Gunawan).


A photo posted by Riomotret (@riomotret) on

(Read also: Yogyakarta university students win big at folklore festival in Russia)

The stories from Yogyakarta are Roro Jonggrang (Syahrini, Dwi Sasono); Bawang Merah Bawang Putih (Sandra Dewi, Wulan Guritno) and Nyai Roro Kidul (Julia Perez), while West Java has the most with Keong Mas (Nabila Syakieb, Dimas Beck, Rini Yulianti, Dave Hendrik, Ruth Sahanaya, Melly Goeslaw);

Rara Mendut (Krisdayanti); Cindelaras (Afgan); Calon Arang (Happy Salma, Tara Basro); The Legend of Banyuwangi (Luna Maya); and Ande-ande Lumut (Glenn Alinskie, Chelsea Olivia, Nola, Widi Mulia, Cynthia Lamusu).

Rio also picked stories from the Mahabharata epic such as Rama and Shinta (Rizky Nazar, Prilly Latuconsina) and Drupadi (Adinia Wirasti, Chicco Jerikho, Surya Saputra, Ario Bayu, Reza Rahadian).

For the exhibition, he also made larger-than-life size standees of four women characters in the myths and legends: Dewi Kunti (Ririn Ekawati); Srikandi (Ayu Ting Ting); Dewi Sri (Ashanty) and Ken Dedes (Titi Kamal).

“I’m not selling my works as I see this project as my personal achievement, but I’m looking forward to more opportunities to exhibit the photographs.”

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