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Indonesia Wayang Festival: Against Extinction Over Time

The Mahakam Lestari Foundation (previously the Total Indonesia Foundation) has a strong commitment to preserve, promote and support the Indonesia’s diverse cultural heritage. Preserving wayang, the theatrical performance with puppets or human dancers, becomes part of this. The foundation has been working hand in hand with organizations in deploying numerous programs to introduce and promote this ancient heritage to the world’s citizens.

Fighting The Imminent Extinction of Wayang

In collaboration with the Indonesian National Wayang Secretariat (Sena Wangi), the Indonesian Puppeteers Union (Pepadi) and the Jakarta Museum of Wayang, the foundation committed to a five-year agreement regarding the program called the “Indonesia Wayang Festival”. Since its debut in 2011, the event has been held annually and features more than 50 wayang clubs from throughout Indonesia that perform a number of various ancient and contemporary shadow puppet and human dance shows. Various activities, such as a bazaar, exhibition, seminar, and workshop, attracted even more visitors, which is a sign of their curiosity to know more about this vast cultural heritage.

Introducing Wayang to Youth   

One of the attempts to preserve wayang is by introducing this heritage to the younger generations. Young talented puppeteers were magnificently presented on stage performing shadow puppet shows that grabbed the attention and the interest of the youth. This proves that wayang performances are not only for adults. It is a performance that can be enjoyed by everybody.   

The Commitment Continues   

There are no limits to exploring and sharing the richness in shapes, storytelling techniques, moral values, and narrative of wayang. Despite the expiration of the Indonesia Wayang Festival agreement in 2015, it is not the end of the Mahakam Lestari Foundation’s commitment to perpetuate the heritage of wayang. The foundation continues to work with more parties in the field to create more innovative programs.

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