A week of good news

Several traditional Indonesian art forms such as batik textile and wayang puppet theatre have since long been recorded on the UNESCO List of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” and we gladly report that both remain alive and popular. International recognition usually produces a flurry of superficial newspaper and magazine articles but it rarely results in adequate and more scholarly documentation.

It is with great pleasure we now report that in the course of last week there has been great progress on each score.

Wednesday, November 20 brought the opening of Museum Kain (literally: cloth museum), on the third floor of the Beachwalk Shopping Center in Bali. It is a splendid exhibition of a priceless collection of textiles and equipped with interactive displays explaining each piece of cloth. Museum Kain is the brainchild of Josephine “Obin” Komara and her late husband, Roni Siswandi. Obin is the owner of a chain of upscale shops that offer high quality textiles. The museum is home to sixty pieces of priceless batiks, part of her 600-piece private collection. In the museum shop batiks are on sale to the public.

Friday November 22 it was announced that on November 26, the tenth anniversary of Wayang Puppetry’s recognition by UNESCO, the Lontar Foundation will launch WAYANG FOR THE WORLD, a compendium of six books and audio-visual materials. They contain dialogue from live performances of this ancient form of storytelling that flourished at the royal courts of Java and Bali for more than ten centuries. Wayang for the World is edited by John McGlynn, who worked closely with Kathryn Emerson, an American fluent in Javanese. The videos that accompany the books show star puppeteer Purbo Asmoro and his epic performance marks the first time a traditional Javanese wayang show was recorded in its entirety with subtitles in English. For more information please visit http://lontar.org/

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