The 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s latest commission features Indonesian artist Jumaadi. For the production, entitled Journal Of Dusk, Jumaadi has created a show with shadow puppets, drawing on a form of traditional Indonesian theatre known as wayang kulit. “I grew up with wayang kulit performances around me, but I was never allowed to be part of them,” he explained. “It has a long tradition and can be difficult to be a part of if you are not born into a family of shadow puppet artists. My family were farmers.”
Inspired and undeterred, Jumaadi taught himself, experimenting with different materials and light sources to cast shadows. Along with painting and sculpture, he has been working in this medium for the last 10 years. In 2013 he represented Australia at the 5th Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art in Russia with the shadow puppet play The Woman Who Married The Mountain.
“For Journal of Dusk I have made paper and cardboard cut outs, figurative and abstract motives,” Jumaadi revealed. “I think I have made more than a hundred cut-outs or characters… they will appear and disappear simultaneously, changing shape and form. There will be coloured scenes gently poured onto the screen to add a poetic touch to the visual and theatrical part of the play.”
Exploring the historical relationship between Australia and Indonesia, Journal of Dusk will examine themes of migration and identity during the 20th century period of Dutch colonisation.
As Jumaadi explained, no performance is the same: “The shadow play is full of surprises…we can’t make the exact same shadows each time we perform. The world of shadows is a different realm to what you see and experience in day-to-day life. Each sound and movement counts towards the whole.” (ASim)
Oct 16 & 17. 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 181-187 Hay St Sydney. $15 with Children’s Workshop & Performance Oct 17. Tickets & info: www.4a.com.au