Tag Archives: Yogyakarta

Art

YOGYAKARTA – KI SUKASMAN / WAYANG UKUR

Our 2 month trip / vacation to Indonesia is slowly coming to an end and we will return to The Netherlands soon full of new energy & inspiration! A good start of the new year! In the past few weeks we went on a inspiration-hunt and we have made several small trips through Indonesia, we have visited many temples and several museums. We would like to tell more about ALL of the beautiful places we have visited but we decided to just highlight the best of them!

On our first trip to Yogyakarta, we searched for the story behind a unique artist called Ki Sukasman. Which Ade heard about a couple of years ago and felt that there was some resemblance in the way Ki Sukasman is creating art and the way he is makes his designs. So off we went!

Ki Sukasman – Wayang Ukur

Ki Sukasman

Ki Sukasman was a 66-year-old artist (he passed in 2009) from Yogyakarta who devoted all his life to wayang, the art of leather puppetry. What distinguished him from others was his view on the ‘traditional wayang’. A bit more about him and his artworks you can find in a long interview hold by The Jakarta Post in 2003. 

Sukasman has made a name as the creator of Wayang ukur, a new style of leather puppet. His puppets have been used in shadow plays at home and abroad, such as in Canada, Holland, Germany and the U.S.

Sukasman first observed the puppets as a little boy. He made leather puppets later in his youth, and graduated from the Indonesian Fine Art Academy (ASRI) in Yogyakarta, in 1962, majoring in advertising, decorative arts, illustration and graphic arts.

Since graduating, he has experimented with leather puppets. He strongly disagrees with the popular conception that the puppet’s form has already reached a state of perfection and needs no divergence.

As an artist, he purges his restlessness with the obsessive scientific study of leather puppets. He has tried to crack the stylization secret of the puppet’s shapes. Finally, he found a way to modify the form by measuring individual parts: the body, the arms, the legs, the neck and the shoulders. Hence the origins of his puppet’s name, Wayang ukur (leather puppets in measurement).

Sukasman, who worked as a dishwasher and did other jobs in the Netherlands between 1965 and 1974, has devoted nearly all his life to wayang. He remains unmarried and most of his earnings went back into his art. He owns a large house on Jl. Taman Siswa, Yogyakarta, which serves as both his house and workshop.

 

To read the full interview, click here.

It was not so easy to find the place where we knew about that you could still find some of his artworks. The first place that Google maps told us to go to turned out to be wrong… We asked around a bit and after a while we found a guy who could point us his house / workshop. We stepped inside, a bit unsure if this was the right place where we could find Ki Sukasman’s artworks. Inside the house we found a young man who confirmed that this was his old work space. He leaded us to the back of the building and showed us some of the remaining artworks and told us that all the original wayang puppets he made are now in the possession of his brother and some museums.

Sukasman

When we walked to the back we felt like entering someones private ‘studio’, not really the idea of a gallery. On the side, against the wall we found some of the remaining artworks (engraved slate stone plaques). And they where absolutely amazing! Around 170 cm high, beautifully engraved, extremely detailed. It was almost sad to find these great artworks, covered with dust, put away in a sort of garage. The boy leaded us around and explained us what he knew about the history of these artworks and around which time they where made. 3 big rooms, filled with all these beautiful doors, statues, windowpanes. We almost couldn’t believe that so many people in the past where disagreeing with his idea of traditional wayang, these were masterpieces! A small, but impressive collection of some of Ki Sukasman’s artworks, definitely one that deserves more attention.

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Overall in our opinion, an amazing, under appreciated, artist with a very progressive view on the traditional wayang. If you’re interested in visiting his workshop, to see these artworks follow the directions below;

 

Head to  JL Taman Siswa in Yogyakarta, but don’t go into the small streets of the neighborhood but stay on the main road and you will find the Ki Sukasman’s workshop on the left side of the road next to a parking lot where you can park your car.

Because this is a quite ‘hidden’ place, certainly not a tourist attraction, there’s no entry-fee to see these artworks, but please grab a bite in the small warung inside the building to give some support to the people who take care of the remains of this beautiful collection.

– Lielo

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LEGEND OF RATU KIDUL – QUEEN OF THE SOUTHERN SEA OF JAVA

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In the last days I finally found some time to study more about Ratu Kidul, the queen of the Southern Sea of Java. A legend from Indonesia that fascinates me already for over years. Because it’s such a known and ancient legend and there’s many different stories going around about her in Indonesia, I decided to stick to the stories and the place that’s the most familiar to me.

5 years ago I heard about this old mysterious story for the first time during my visit to Parang Tritis, an area on the southern coast of Java in the Bantul Regency, about 30 km south of Yogyakarta. When I arrived at the Hotel Queen of the South – Puri Ratu Kidul for some drinks, we decided to take the big climb down the cliff to walk on the beach.

Before I tried to climb down my friends directly stopped me and checked me if I was not accidentally wearing any green or blue clothing. Kinda surprised I asked them, if that would be a problem? They told me ‘Because otherwise the Queen of the South Sea will get angry and will drag you into the sea and make you serve like her slave!‘ Wow, that kinda shocked me and I instantly wanted to know more about this mysterious lady!

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Kanjeng Ratu Kidul 

She is a legendary Indonesian female spirit or deity, known as the Queen of the Southern Sea of Java (Indian Ocean or Samudra Kidul south of Java island) in Javanese and Sundanese mythology. The origin of these stories is hard to find but could go back to around the year 1300, more then 700 years ago.

She goes under many names which reflect the diverse stories of her origin in a lot of sagas, legends, myths and traditional folklore. Other names include, Nyai Roro Kidul, Ratu Laut SelatanGusti Kanjeng Ratu Kidul, Kanjeng Ratu Ayu Kencono Sari etc. In this post I stick to the name that I know out of my own experience, Ratu Kidul. 

If she has to be seen as a goddess or more as a ghost depends a bit on religious beliefs. For example in the Islamic society of Indonesia, she’s more seen as a ghost who is immortal. And in Bali they more see her as an appearance of Durga, so in their eyes, she is seen as a goddess. And according to Javanese beliefs, she is also the mythical spiritual consort and protector of the Sultans of Mataram and Yogyakarta, beginning with Senopati and continuing to the present day.

She is often illustrated as a mermaid with a tail as well the lower part of the body of a snake or a fish. They say she claimed to take the soul of any who she wished for. And the local people believe that the Queen often claims lives of fishermen or visitors that bathe on the beach and that she usually prefers handsome young men. Anybody who respects her and brings her offerings she will protect.

 

Parangtritis Beach  & Hotel Queen of the South

Many Javanese people believe that Parang Tritis Beach is the gate of Ratu Kidul’s magical kingdom.

On top of the cliff at the beach, there’s a beautiful 5 star hotel which is named after the Ratu Kidul and which even holds a bungalow, reserved especially for her! You can find the bungalow 033 in the back of the garden, from the porch in the front you directly look at the sea. In the living / dining room there’s a bed with green sheets, under the bed are green sandals. In the corner of the bed, a pot with sand to burn incense sticks. And in front of the bed a dressings table with mirrors and a lot of make up. So Ratu Kidul and one of her lovers could spend the night here.

Room_Ratu_KidulPhoto by an unknown visitor.

 

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Note; I never visited this bungalow myself and I’m not 100% sure if it’s still there due to a big earth quake around 2008 when the hotel was completely destroyed. Last time when I was there (October, 2014) the hotel was completely rebuild and looking beautiful again, but I’m not sure if the bungalow is still there. What I know is that the bungalow is not always open for public, you have to request it if you want to see it (just like the other rooms reserved for Ratu Kidul in Indonesia, like the one in Hotel Samudra at Pelabuhan Ratu) Probably the queen preferred to spend more time at Parang Kusomo at the beach of Parang Tritis. A walled space with 2 stone blocks as thrones. One for the Sultan & one for Ratu Kidul. In that holy place, offerings and prayers are made every day.

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Photo’s made by our friend, Joel Kiel, during our trip to Parang Tritis in October, 2014. 

 

Parang Tritis is just a place that I keep coming back to, where I really love to be and make long walks on the beach. Still a very calm, non-touristic mystical place. I can’t wait to return!

– Lielo

 

 

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SELAMAT SIANG!

 

We are back!

 

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A couple of days ago we arrived back in The Netherlands from our trip to Indonesia. It was great, relaxing and inspiring. I wonder if it ever will become easier to say goodbye to this beautiful country? But we keep in mind that it’s never a definite goodbye, more a see-you-again-soon! This time Ade took some time to learn more about Balinese ornaments and carvings. We visited some stunning beaches and parks in and around Bandung, Lembang, Yogyakarta and Bali. And visited some traditional theater shows (Wayang, Ramayana, Kecak), which are always very inspiring to see with their beautiful complex costumes and dances. In Ubud, Bali, Ade learned more about the art of Balinese masks and the meanings behind them from by a local mask maker. So we returned back to Holland full of inspiration and idea’s for new designs and artworks. Now back to reality!


 

Other recent news:

TATTOO PLANET – ADE ITAMEDA

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This month you can find some of Ade’s recent work in the Dutch Tattoo magazine, Tattoo Planet.

So go and get him at your local bookstore!

 

FRANKFURT TATTOO CONVENTION 2015

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In the beginning of the next year, Ade Itameda will be joining the 23th International Frankfurt Tattoo Convention 2015.

More then 600 tattoo artists from over 20 countries are expected to join this event. This event, which has developed in recent years to be the world’s greatest spectacle of his kind presenting renowned artists from all over the world, with this year a special feature: Traditional tattoo craft.

• Internationalen Frankfurter Tattoo Convention – Messe Frankfurt, Germany – March 20, 21, 22 2015    / more info: http://www.convention-frankfurt.de/joom/

still free spots open

 

More dates of tattoo conventions that Ade Itameda will attend in the new year will be announced soon.

 

– Lielo

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