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Sculpting faith: One craftman’s dedication to religious diversity

Duncan Graham

The Jakarta Post

Malang, East Java  /  Wed, May 15, 2019  /  06:43 pm
Sculpting faith: One craftman’s dedication to religious diversity

A craftsman and his tools: Purboyo works in his workshop in Malang, East Java. (-/Erlinawati Graham)

Indonesia is home to people of many different religions, each with their own fears about the causes of spiritual corruption. However, craftsman Purboyo thinks such fears are unfounded. From hooks on the paint-splashed walls of his workshop in Malang, East Java, dangle crucifixes big and small. Purboyo (-/Erlinawati Graham) There are also some enigmatic statues of the Buddha with eyes downcast, and halo-hatted saints, their beatified features gazing heavenward. The plaster statuettes are made using fiberglass and silicone rubber molds. Purboyo creates special designs to order and in a hurry for the homes of Catholics and the niches and nooks of their churches. However, he seldom makes statuettes for Protestants, as they prefer plain walls and basic trappings, so worshipers are not distracted. On the craftsman’s paintpot-cluttered workbench are nativity scenes that ...