Free Indonesian Wayang Kulit shows 6/23 & 6/24
The upcoming collaborative mashup between Nusantara Arts and The Buffalo AKG Art Museum is going to be singularly spectacular. The show – Shadow Puppets of Java – will encompass two distinct performances, with two different storylines:
- “Rajamala and the lake of Watari” on Friday
- “Prabu Boko: Terror of Ekacakra” on Saturday
For years, Buffalo’s own Nusantara Arts has been curating exceptional Indonesian shadow puppet and Javanese dance performances, set to traditional gamelan music.
Leave your traditional idea of what a theater or musical performance experience is and get lost in the magic of wayang kulit from Indonesia.
The event will showcase a variety of traditional and contemporary Indonesian art forms, including:
- Wayang Kulit Shadow Puppetry: A stunning exhibition of visual art, showcasing the intricate craftsmanship and attention to detail that Indonesian artisans and artists are renowned for.
- Javanese dance, with its graceful movements and intricate hand gestures: a mesmerizing display of elegance and cultural storytelling that transports viewers to a world of enchantment and tradition.
- Soul-stirring musical performances featuring traditional Javanese gamelan instruments, creating a harmonious symphony of sounds that will captivate the audience.
- Engaging Puppet making station, providing attendees of all ages with an opportunity to learn about Indonesian arts and culture firsthand by making puppets.
- Indonesian Snacks!
The two performances will be held in the Buffalo AKG Art Museum’s brand new “Town Square,” which is in the process of opening to the public for the first time.
Nusantara Arts troupe’s free flowing imagination and artistry will be on full display within this magical setting. The shows will feature the talents of puppet master Midiyanto, master Javanese hand drummer Wakidi Dwidjomartono, and singer-dancer Heni Savitri.
Puppet making materials are available for kids and crafters.
This is just one of the highly anticipated shows that is being scheduled in tandem with the opening of the Buffalo AKG Art Museum.
The wayang puppetry art is an all-ages performance that showcases the ancient characters of the Mahabharata. Stories as old as time itself, performed inside a vibrant, shimmering, contemporary community space unlike anything else in the region… and it’s all free to attend!
In the Kingdom of Wiratha, There is trouble in the streets and the people are upset. investigating the turmoil, King Matwaspati and his son Raden Seta discover a secret plot to overthrow the kingdom by his own nephews: Rajamala and his two brothers Kencakarupa, and Rupakenca, elite citizens of Wiratha.
The kingdom is holding a human strength contest. Rajamala is seemingly unbeatable with endless stamina and strength, becoming more popular with the people. Bima of the Pandawa family, living secretly in Wiratha disguised as the name “Jagal Abilawa” attempts to challenge Rajamala and is defeated every time. His brother Arjuna discovers that every time Rajamala gets tired or is injured he bathes in the lake of Watari, restoring him to full strength and making him nearly invincible. The Pandawas must figure out a way to defeat Rajamala and his brothers or the kingdom of Wiratha will be lost.
A myth of wayang as well as a folk legend surrounding the hundreds of ancient temples and ruins around Prambanan in Central Java.
Prabu Boko is the giant, powerful and sinister king of Ekacakra. He keeps his kingdom subjugated by demanding that every village send one of their residents to be sacrificed every month as part of king Prabu Bokos meal.
In the village of Manahilan the only people left are the head of the village Rishi Ijrapa and his own family, everyone else has fled, scrambling to save themselves from the sinister king. At this time the mighty Bima of the Pandawa family is living in the village disguised as a homeless wanderer. He plans to end the reign of the cruel king by offering himself as a sacrifice to be brought before the king. When the time is right he will be able to confront and battle the king himself.
Midiyanto – Dhalang Puppet Master
Wakidi Dwidjomartono – Kendhang Drum
Heni Savitri – Javanese Dance
Nusantara Arts – Gamelan music accompaniment
Matt Dunning – Director Nusantara Arts
Javanese Shadow Puppetry
Wayang Kulit performances are traditional and wildly popular multi-genre performances from Indonesia. They combine virtuosic shadow puppetry, enrapturing gamelan music, comedy, philosophy, community, and civic engagement. The Wayang performance is led by the dhalang (puppet master) who controls the performance of the puppets and cues the gamelan musicians who have to follow very closely to the signals, creating exciting and smooth transitions between scenes. Our story comes from the ancient Indian epic the Mahabharata.
Ki Midiyanto is a renowned Javanese musician and dhalang (puppet master). Born in Wonogiri, a rural district in the southern part of Central Java, Midiyanto comes from a family of many generations of gamelan musicians and puppeteers. He attended the Sekolah Menegah Karawitan Indonesia (Indonesian Academy of Musical Arts) and Sekolah Tinggi Seni Indonesia, now known asInstitut Seni Indonesia (Indonesian Academy of Musical Arts) in Surakarta before going abroad to teach and perform. Over the last 30 years Midiyanto has taught and performed extensively in Indonesia, the U.S., Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. He has been featured in several documentary films and directed the gamelan for the Shadow Music of Java CD recorded at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. during a two-month residency in 1991. Currently Ki Midiyanto, teaches and performs as Lecturer and Co-Director of Gamelan Sari Raras at University of California, Berkeley, and as a guest artist and instructor throughout the U.S., Indonesia, and internationally.
Heni Savitri began to study sindhènan (Javanese singing with gamelan) in 2002. In 2003 she won the competition for best singer in her native district of Wonogiri, Central Java. She entered the Performing Arts Conservatory in Surakarta in 2004, and began representing the institution in competitions the following year as well as performing in shadow plays. Upon enrolling in the Indonesian Arts Academy in Surakarta she was selected as the singer for many recordings of new faculty compositions and traditional works, representing the academy in the 2008 international vocal competition in Jakarta.
Wakidi Dwidjomartono was born in 1947 in Jagalan, Solo, Central Java. Although his parents and grandparents were not gamelan musicians, he was deeply inspired at a very young age by both his brother, the renowned Bapak Wakidjo Warsapangrawit, and the active musical neighborhood he grew up in. Pak Wakidi’s career has taken him from an early start in the Javanese classical dance world, to wayang orang, wayang kulit, and klenèngan. Many observers in and out of Indonesia agree that he is currently the top classical Solonese drummer practicing the art form.
What: Shadow Puppets of Java – Indonesian Wayang Kulit, Dance, and “Gamelan” music shows
Friday June 23
Saturday June 24, 2023
Where: The Buffalo AKG Art Museum : Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Town Square
Program Funded by:
- Buffalo AKG Art Museum
- National Endowment of the Arts
- American Indonesian Culture and Education Foundation
- Humanities NY
- Stenclik Family Foundation
- Simple Gifts Fund
All questions related to performance accessibility or inquiries related to special needs for our guests can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please have all accessibility requests sent at least 10 Days prior to the performance.
Nusantara Arts, is a West Side based Indonesian Arts and Culture organization dedicated to high quality performances and education of gamelan music, Wayang Kulit shadow puppetry, dance, and art. Nusantara Arts is the only non profit organization in the US to specialize in both Javanese and Balinese gamelan music. Nusantara Arts provides regular community and school classes and has performed with incredible visiting artists such as Midiyanto, Wakidi Dwidjomartono, Darsono Hadiraharjo, Heri Purwanto, Gusti Komin, Heni Savitri, and Pamardi Tjiptopradongo.