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Semarang art event gives artists stage to perform amid pandemic


The Jakarta Post

Semarang, Central Java  /  Thu, May 7, 2020  /  11:39 am
Semarang art event gives artists stage to perform amid pandemic

Dancers Hardanti (left) and Dafa perform on the Kahanan Stage at Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo's official residence in Semarang on May 3. (JP/Suherdjoko)

Two dancers could be seen performing at the Panggung Kahanan art event in Semarang on Monday. The stage was placed on the tennis court of Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo’s official residence.

There were only a few people in the audience, less than the number of stage crew.

The dancers were Hardanti, a student of Sultan Agung Islamic University in Semarang, and Dafa, a student of the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Surakarta. They performed with face masks covering their mouths and noses.

“It’s my first time dancing with a mask on. It’s a bit bothersome, but I know this is for our health,” Hardanti said after her performance.

“I hope the COVID-19 pandemic will come to an end and life can return to normal again,” Dafa added.

Artist Muji Konde Triyono, who participated in the event with his colorful, expressionist painting, concurred. He said he considered art to be an essential need.

“I have to continue working with all the obstacles amid what is happening now,” he said, adding that the pandemic had forced him to explore and manage himself.

The art program has been aired online since Monday, featuring various performances for three days a week on Governor Ganjar Pranowo’s YouTube channel and Facebook account during Ramadan.

Ganjar, who was in the audience on Monday, said he organized the event as an alternative space during the pandemic, as he had received reports about performers being unable to perform due to the situation.

“I said, let’s livestream performances,” Ganjar said.

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Muji Konde, who comes from Semarang, was the first performer on Monday, followed by poetry-musical group Paradoks from Kendal, a dance group from Semarang, director of Hysteria artist collective Adin Khoiruddin and a standup comedy show by Ipin.

Ganjar said the program was conducted to help artists continue working despite the pandemic and to prevent them from feeling frustrated.

“This is a spontaneous mutual cooperation,” he said, adding that several artists had also expressed interest in joining.

He also urged the audience at home to keep working and staying busy, saying they could follow in the steps of the artists, who aimed to survive and entertain.

Adin Khoiruddin suggested several tips on what artists needed to do amid the pandemic.

“For the last few weeks, I have been conducting activities online, as physical distancing means there are no [art] festivals,” he said.

He said that artists were forced to change their attitudes and platforms, from manual to digital.

“If the Industrial Revolution 4.0 is a migration from manual to digital, the pandemic has sped up that process,” said Adin.

He expressed his appreciation to the governor for creating a space for the artists. “The most important thing is for us to not give up.” (wng)

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