Wayang will not fade away because the art has survived for more than three thousand years, from our ancestors' time and the era of animism and dynamism
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The younger generation's collaboration and support are essential to preserve the wayang shadow puppet art and ensure the art's popularity, dhalang (puppet master) Ki Bayu Aji Nugraha said.

"Wayang will not fade away because the art has survived for more than three thousand years, from our ancestors' time and the era of animism and dynamism. Wayang (develops) according to the current developments. Cross-discipline collaboration must be attempted to preserve (the wayang)," Nugraha told ANTARA , on Sunday.

He opined the youth's interest in wayang can be nurtured by inviting them to collaborate in artistic activities and not restricting their creativity, which will motivate them to explore, share, and develop their artistic skills more.

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"That is the main strategy to stir the youth's interest to be curious and learn (the wayang). From there, we believe that we are successful in our mission," Nugraha stated.

The dhalang said that activities at Yogyakarta's Bajran Gupita Art Studio, where he hailed from, are dominated by the youth actively studying puppeteer, traditional music, and traditional singing arts.

Senior practitioners are also present to guide younger generations with basic art skills, hence allowing the youth to be creative in developing their skills, he added.

"They have an outstanding spirit because they are not ceasing from making new works. They are not only developing (the art) but also conducting cross-art collaborations, sharing experiences and experimenting with new performances," the dhalang remarked.

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He recalled that he was attracted to wayang since his high school year in 2008. He then decided to follow the path of his grandfather, Ki Basirun Hadisumarta, a renowned dhalang in Yogyakarta.

The variety of wayang narratives also enticed him to learn wayang, Nugraha said, highlighting wayang characters' dialogues as one of the most appealing aspect of the art besides the narrative visualisation and the story-telling style.

The puppet master then expressed hope residents' sense of belonging to the wayang will be preserved in the future.

"The sense of belonging alone is enough to ensure wayang will survive and continue telling stories for us all," Nugraha remarked.

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Translator: Arnidhya Nur Z, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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