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12/09/2015 News

Indonesian Wayang Festival 2015: Wayang Show held for 2 days and 2 nights at Taman Fatahillah in Jakarta’s Old City

Jakarta, September 12, 2015 - For the fifth time, the Indonesian Wayang Festival 2015 (FWI 2015) was held at Taman Fatahillah, in the old city of Jakarta. Various wayang shows – ranging from traditional wayang to contemporary wayang – will be presented to the public on September 12 and 13, 2015.

Unlike in previous years, FWI 2015 will provide more spaces to explore wayang. The Wayang Kulit and Wayang Golek Sunda show collaboration is an example of some wayang shows which are more modern in nature, but continue leaning towards the tradition standard. The contemporary artists who will be represented through the wayang show are Wayang Kulit Malang along with the well-known wayang kulit performer Ki Ardhi Purbo Antono, and Wayang Wacinwa & Gocinda.

Nevertheless, as in previous years, FWI 2015 will also provide a special space for traditional wayang, which is almost extinct. This year, the organizing committee has invited Wayang Golek Pakuan and Wayang Golek Cepak Indramayu to participate in the show and at the same time reintroduce them to the public at large.

The chairman of the FWI 2015 Committee, Hari Suwasono, says the renaissance spirit cannot be separated from  the efforts of Indonesian Wayang stakeholders who want to conserve this culture and see it continue to grow in the community over time.

“With regard to the conservation efforts, the committee specifically invited two wayang-making artists from Solo to open the Sungging Wayang Workshop. This is important so that the people understand wayang not just as a show, but as one of the handicraft industries that in the past was very strong economically, but today is waning,” Hari says.

As for the festival’s theme, the Chairman of  Sekretariat Nasional Pewayangan Indonesia (SENAWANGI), Suparmin Sunjoyo, explains the usage of the Wisanggeni character as the FWI theme. He states that the Wisanggeni character is a young character in a wayang story who always fights ruthlessness, upholds justice, and can solve problems. It is intended that the Wisanggeni character become the leader of the younger generation and a competent character that can demonstrate excellent performance and deliver real results for the nation.

FWI as a Stage for Wayang Performer Regeneration

Since its launch in 2011, more than one hundred wayang performers have participated in the FWI. They come from various regions in Indonesia with various wayang denominations, from traditional wayang and contemporary wayang to very young wayang performers. According to the Chairman of Persatuan Pedalangan Indonesia (PEPADI) Pusat, Kondang Sutrisno, the wayang festival this year instils real pride in the wayang performers who can participate, particularly wayang performers from the regions.

“Very few people are interested in becoming wayang performers as a profession, and many wayang performers change to other profession. This is because wayang performers find it more difficult to conduct wayang shows these days, whether in the regions, or in cities like Jakarta,” says Kondang.

According to Kondang, it is difficult for wayang performers to compete with various types of modern entertainment. That is why he hopes wayang shows like FWI should be continuously held so that wayang can be reintroduced to the general public, particularly the younger generations.  

In this vein, the Head of Museum Wayang Jakarta, Dyah Damayanti, confirms the decline of people’s interest in wayang. According to her, it seems that wayang art is currently quite unfamiliar to people due to the lack of information on wayang. Dyah really appreciates FWI for accommodating the contemporary wayang show, as this step is one of the efforts to make wayang continue to grow, encourage people to enjoy it, and remain sustainable.

45 Types of Wayang Shown at FWI

This fifth edition of the FWI in 2015 will be held with the full support of Total E&P Indonesie thru Yayasan Total Indonesia. In collaboration with other stakeholders such as SENAWANGI, PEPADI Pusat, and Museum Wayang Jakarta, the FWI show is the real form of the French oil & gas company’s support to help promote Wayang Cultural heritage, which has been recognized by UNESCO as one of the world’s invaluable legacies.

The Chairman of Yayasan Total Indonesia, Agus Djamhoer, says that from 2011 to 2014, the FWI has organized 4 events and has displayed at least 45 types of wayang from various categories, from very popular wayang, contemporary wayang to wayang that is almost extinct, which we hope to keep alive.

"In this regard, the FWI’s efforts, which have created a positive impact for promoting and conserving wayang, and increasing the visibility of the activities’ stakeholders, Total E&P Indonésie expects that in the coming years the FWI committee will be able to embrace strategic partners who have the same vision and mission, so that the annual wayang festival, which has been held for so long and has proved to be very good, can be maintained,” says Agus.