The Jakarta Post
Dance maestro Didik Nini Thowok poses during a performance art fund-raiser at Brawijaya University in Malang, East Java, on Nov. 5. (JP/Nedi Putra AW)
Dance maestro Didik Nini Thowok served as the guest star at a two day art performance fund-raiser held spontaneously at Brawijaya University and Mall Malang Town Square to support local veteran artists living in poverty or suffering from illness.
Among them was 82-year-old Mbah Matali, a dalang puppet master and kendang (percussion ensemble indigenous to West Java) artist, who has been unhealthy for some time and residing in Sumberpucung district, Malang regency, East Java.
“[My participation] is my way of showing concern as an artist for [my] senior colleagues who are facing hardship in their old age,” Didik told The Jakarta Post at Brawijaya University on Thursday .
According to Didik, similar situations can be seen elsewhere, not only in Malang.
Read also: The many sides of Didik Nini Thowok
"I've been participating in events like this since 1994 in several cities, such as Yogyakarta, Semarang, Cirebon and Banyuwangi," he said. "A wise man said, a country is considered developed if they appreciate their own culture, including the artists who are preserving that culture."
According to Didik, similar situations can be found elsewhere. (JP/Nedi Putra AW)
The event's initiator, Yongki Irawan, a member of the Padepokan Janti art community, said the event was part of the regional administration's effort to pay more attention to its artists.
“Even homeless people are being taken care of by social agency; how come ludruk [traditional Javanese comedy], ketoprak [Javanese theatrical genre] or wayang orang [human puppet] artists don’t [get similar attention] from the relevant agencies?” he said.
He called on the administration to immediately take action, including by keeping tabs on its artists and putting their plans into real action.
“Veteran artists who have contributed with their works should at least be given some kind of aid, which could be in a form of funds or goods according to their needs, as well as easy access to medication if they are sick,” he said. (gis/kes)
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