Jatiwangi Art Factory, a local community focusing on the study of village art and cultural life, has been organizing a bodybuilding championship since 2015, for workers in jebor (traditional roof tile factories) in Jatiwangi subdistrict of Majalengka regency, West Java.
Since 1905, Jatiwangi has been known as the center of roof tile production, and is currently home to some 200 jebor.
During its golden years in the 1980s and 1990s, a jebor could bake at least 17,000 roof tiles a day. Nowadays, however, the production is substantially reduced.
“We organize the championship to declare that we are still here. Jatiwangi is still here,” the chairman of the 2019 Jatiwangi Cup’s organizing committee, Illa Syukrillah Syarief, said on the sidelines of the championship held at the Dua Saudara jebor in Burujul Kulon, Majalengka, recently.
Illa said that aside from being a friendship forum, the championship also aimed to encourage locals to write the history and the journey of their civilization. “Big industries are coming in. West Java’s international airport is also built here. We have to get ready to declare who we are,” said Illa.
The Jatiwangi Cup, held annually every Aug. 11, sees jebor staff compete against their rivals in other factories. The winning jebor hosts the tournament the following year.
This year’s Jatiwangi Cup was competed in by 68 participants, with eyes on prizes worth Rp 10 million (USD 710) in total for the champions and 30 best bodybuilders.
Illa said that the championship conveyed the message of reminding local people and roof tile producers to carry on processing the clay with dignity.
Meanwhile, Jatiwangi Art Factory organizes exhibitions and residence programs for foreign artists or researchers. One of the objectives is to help Jatiwangi residents realize that they may run out of clay one day.
“That’s why we have to manage it with more dignity so that when one day we are washed away by the industry, our future generations will note that we tried to fight in our own ways,” Illa said. [mut]