Collaboration Indonesian and Sri Lankan Artists Formed “Ruukada Golek”


Colombo (01/12) Indonesian Embassy in Colombo, Sri Lanka, facilitated collaboration between Sri Lanka and Indonesian artists which combined performing arts traditions to come alive on the 26-28 November 2010 at the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, with the 3D wooden rod puppets (Wayang Golek) in “Rukaada Golek”. The driving force of Ruukada Golek, Sulochana Dissanayake who learned ”Wayang Golek” in the puppet community “Giri Harja III” of the Indonesian maestro puppet artist Dhalang Asep Sunandar Sunarya, has brought up the famous Sri Lankan folklore ‘Mahadanamuththa’ (the maha guru who “knows everything”) with the vibrant accompaniment of both Sri Lankan and Indonesian traditional music. The Ruukada Golek performance mesmerized audiences as well as strengthen ties between countries and people.
The cast and crew of this show consist of Sulochana Dissanayake (Artistic Director), Batara Sena Sunarya (Creative Director), Arief Nugraha Rawanda (Composer), Gayan Manokumara (Musician), Nuwan Darshana (Musician) and Upul De Alwis (Puppetteer and Sri Lankan Voice Artist).  In addition, the script is written by Wimalanath Weeraratne.  Although the artists have different mother tongues, it is proven that language and culture is not a barrier.  It was the first time that Indonesian Gamelan instruments (traditional brass orchestra of Indonesia) such as gamelan and kendang were being publicly played in Sri Lanka after such a long time, and combined with local Sri Lankan traditional instruments like daula, geta beraya and thammattama, creating a uniquely fantastic sound.
On November 26, a workshop about puppets and gamelan music is held in Indonesian Embassy’s Auditorium “Riptaloka” which followed by student of University of Visual and Performing Arts. The show premiered on November 27, and there are two performances for public on November 28 at 2.00 pm and 5.00 pm. The place was packed with people from all ages and filled with laughter as the expressive rod puppet sung, danced and included an intriguing fight scene and humor.  
Indonesian ambassador to Sri Lanka, H. E. Djafar Husein in his opening speech on premier program mentioned that collaboration is the real cooperation between two nation’s artists in the field culture.
The eye-catching rod puppets with character is designed by Asep Sunarya’s son, Batara Sena,  carved by Giri Harga III  from the Indonesian puppet community, and includes representatives of different parts of Sri Lanka and also Indonesian characters. The story is a social satire on how traditions are getting further away and to never be the subject of blind following. The mixture of great music and colorfully comical rod puppets makes it fascinating.
This collaboration has been important to both Sri Lanka and Indonesia. It has strengthened cooperation in arts and culture of both countries, and also strengthened the people to people ties. Arts speaks a universal language, conveying universal values and therefore it is an effectively important tool as a means of communication, create understanding and uniting people. The artist mentioned that in Indonesia, wayang golek performance beyond entertainment. People usually watching it for 6 hours, since the evening until the dawn.
Sometimes there are constraints to make arts collaboration to take place. However, Sulochana feels that the Indonesian Embassy has assisted this venture and institutional support like these that are needed to make arts and culture collaboration to materialize. [*]