Bandung Wayang Festival 2011

Bandung Wayang Festival 2011
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Providing endless space and possibilities to “play” wayang in any expression, media, and interpretation by virtually anyone from any background and generation, the Bandung Wayang Festival 2011 was a celebration and rejuvenation of the ancient wayang art that was traditionally expressed only through wooden or leather puppets.

Held from April 22nd to 30th in various places around Bandung, it encompassed traditional and contemporary wayangperformances, exhibitions, workshops, and discussions. The city-wide cultural fiesta featured no less than  50 performances involving some 500 puppet masters known as dalangs, dancers, musicians, and other artists.

The Festival commenced with a wayang golek or wooden puppets performance in a massive collaboration of rampak dalang, involving 40 young dalangs from Gending Tarumanegara in Bale Pare, Kota Baru Parahyangan, Padalarang. Attending the opening day was West Java ‘s Vice Governor, Dede Yusuf, who enthusiastically watched the show and smiled and chuckled occasionally as the dalangs made their jokes.

Collaborating leather and wooden puppets in a performance called wayang kulit Rai Wong,dalang Ki Enthus Susmonopresented the colossal play of Dewa Ruci at the ITENAS multifunction building. The story revolves around one of Pandawaknight’s quests, Bima, in search of true knowledge. On his journey, Bima had to defeat a couple of giants from MountCandradimuka and a gigantic dragon from the depth of the ocean before he finally encountered Dewa Ruci who eventually gave him true enlightenment.

The event also traced back the roots of wayang as it also featured one of the oldest forms of wayang , the  wayang Klithik.Wayang Klithik is believed to have been invented during the 16th to 17th century as a form of entertainment and a media for spreading Islam during its early years. Carved from wood, the wayang Klithik is interestingly similar to common leather puppets as it is also two dimensional .

Collaborating wayang golek and the vibrant keroncong music, dalang Dede Chandra put up a splendid show as he made the audience laugh and clap to the unconventional actions of the puppets. Similarly interesting was the wayang Wuto,which combined the classic leather puppets with digitalization on a separate screen. Among other contemporary performances were the See Saw performance which collaborated wooden puppets with conventional puppets and the mask dance; as well as the wayang Sukmaraga that featured a modern band for musical background to the traditional theatrical performance.

Bandung Wayang festival also became an arena, where well known wayang characters such as Bhima, Arjuna, Yudistira, Rahwana, Rama, and others leapt out of their normal traditional stage into various modern media. Colorful paintings and graphic artwork of these mythical heroes and villains decorated the gallery of Bale Pare, Barli Museum and the “You” shop. There, aside from the classic style, wayang characters and episodes were also illustrated in much livelier versions. Some of the paintings bore the style of the Japanese cartoon manga, while others presented the characters in an entirely new interpretation. One particular painting even depicted the hero Gatot Kaca as one of the Transformer’s Autobot, calling it aGatotbot.

Other collections that decorated the exhibitions included: various types of wayang, wayang action figures, wayang paper models, traditional masks, and many more.

The event also highlighted the launching of the Baratayuda In cartoon version. Taking one of the episodes from the epicMahabhrata, the cartoons target young audiences as their illustrations resemble many of present -day trending images.

In music, coming out from their ancient scripts and traditional stage images into distorted guitar riffs and thundering drum beats,-  peculiarly enough, - the ancient wayang figures managed to find their way to the scene of metal music. Lord Symphony, a heavy metal band from Solo successfully combined speed metal with the epic Bharatayuda episodes. With songs such as “Black Dawn” and “The Question And Help Of The Blind Destrarastra”, the band retold the episodes of Bharatayudha from the Kurawa side, since the story was covered in their album Bharatayudha part 1.

Acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Master Piece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, Indonesian Wayang is more than just a spectacle as it also delivers meaningful messages to guide in one’s daily life.

Held in Bandung, the city that is also known as the center of creativity, the Bandung Wayang Festival 2011 proved that Indonesia’s wayang culture continues to reflect civilization. The event also symbolized the passing of the torch from one generation to the next, both viewed from the side of those performing as well as on the side of the audience.

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