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Jakarta Post

Indonesia’s grass puppet

Tue, July 10, 2018   /   04:03 pm
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    The wayang suket (grass puppet) performance in Surakarta. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    Different shapes of grass puppets. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    A projector and skewers was used as visual arts for the wayang suket performance. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    Krisztina Bogo (left) focuses on creating the visual arts during the performance. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    Vivien Sarkany also served in the visual arts section of the performance. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    The visual arts are needed to enliven the wayang suket storyline. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    Local people enthusiastically watch the performance. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    Different effects created by visual artists during the show. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    Photographs taken during the workshops held at elementary schools in Surakarta. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

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    All supporting artists take a picture after the show. JP/Maksum Nur Fauzan

Maksum Nur Fauzan

A group of youngsters is looking to preserve wayang suket (traditional grass puppet), which is on the verge of becoming extinct.

The youngsters held a wayang suket performance on June 30 at the Jagalan Arthome in Surakarta, Central Java, which was accompanied by music and visual arts.

This group consisted of eight young people: Gaga Rizky of Indonesia as the puppeteer, Krisztina Bogo, dan Vivien Sarkany of Hungary as visual artists, as well as Sean Hayward of the United States, Cecily Nowell-Smith of the United Kingdom and Indonesians Denok, Eka and Nanang who played the music.

The storyline was taken from Indonesian folklore such as Timun Mas (about a brave girl who fights a bad giant); the formation of Rawa Pening (Pening Swamp) and Lake Toba; Malin Kundang (about a son who abandons his mother and is turned into a rock) and Tangkuban Perahu (the name of a mountain in West Java that the Sundanese believe was formed after a son became angry with his mother who refused to love him). 

The group performed in coffee shops and small art houses and they invited their colleagues, children and people in the area to watch the 40 to 60 minute show.

They also held workshops at elementary schools in Surakarta on how to make wayang suket.

Gaga said their aim was to preserve wayang suket and to make it popular among the younger generation. [yan]