JP/Ganug Nugroho AdiAs a primary school student in 1962, Joko Sri Yono learned the art of painting illustrated scrolls for storytelling called wayang beber from a classical painter of the Surakarta sultanate, Raden Ngabei Atmosoepomo.
Unsurprisingly, Joko is now well versed in the art and legends of the princes (panji) of East Java’s kingdoms, notably the romance between Dewi Sekartaji and Panji Asmorobangun.
“At first I simply had to learn wayang beber to survive. My family was so poor that we could scarcely live on our income. By painting the scrolls, I could have a free lunch. Only after high school did I earn more to buy books and other necessities,” said Joko at his home in Kampung Gambuhan in Solo.
Wayang beber are series of paintings depicting semi-historical legends or romances of the Kediri kingdom in East Java. They are known as Panji episodes. The wo...