Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Melbourne Fringe Festival - Heri Dono & Human Momentum

Heri Dono:
installation/performance artist

Friday 30 Sept - Saturday 1 Oct
Lithuanian Club - Main Theatre, 44 Errol St, North Melbourne

International Fringe Festival guest Heri Dono from Indonesia combines performance, puppets, installation, mechanical device and sound to playfully criticise modernisation and society. Through tragicomical narrative Heri Dono alludes to our powerlessness as medicine and environmentalism become commercial enterprise, and the ozone threatens to destroy us.

Director: Heri Dono
Producer and Performer: Melissa Clare
Venue: Lithuanian Club - Main Theatre, 44 Errol St North Melbourne
Time: 6.15pm (Duration 45 min)
Tickets: Full $22, Conc $18
2-for-1 tickets on Sat 1 Oct
Buy tickets online

Wednesday 21 Sept - Tuesday 4 Oct
Federation Square, Melbourne

This collaboration between Bambuco, Dislocate and Melbourne Fringe is not to be missed! The giant, three-dimensional, interactive bamboo playground provides an unforgettable performance space for young people, circus artists and you… they need your energy to make them fly...

Producer: Melbourne Fringe
Venue: Lithuanian Club - Main Theatre, 44 Errol St North Melbourne
Time: Daily 10am - 6pm, Shows Daily 1pm & 5.30pm (no show 4 Oct 5.30pm)
Entry: Free of charge

Monday, September 26, 2005

Indonesian poet Rendra tours Australia

Distinguished poet W.S. Rendra
The voice of Indonesia's social and political conscience for fifty years, W.S. Rendra's poetry and plays challenged corruption, political repression and the destruction of the environment at a time when few dared to speak out. Incarcerated by both the Soekarno and Soeharto governments and banned from performing for much of the 1980s, Rendra has been internationally recognised for his contribution to human rights and social justice in Indonesia. He has received numerous awards for his creative works. His collected poetry volumes and works have been translated into and published in over fifteen languages.

As a dramatist he uniquely combines Javanese, Balinese and other performance forms and practices; inspiring many contemporary theatre groups in Indonesia and abroad. With his theatre troupe Bengkel Teater Rendra (BTR) which was established in the late 1960s, Rendra has performed his plays in New York, Tokyo and South Korea.

Rendra starts his Australian tour in Melbourne on Wednesday 28 September, after which he will travel to Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane. His events are being held in conjunction with his wife Ken Zuraida and musician Sawung Jabo.


Public Forum: "The Role of Religion and Cultural Pluralism in World Peace" & Poetry Reading
Venue: Basement Theatre, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, University of Melbourne
Date: Wednesday 28 September, 6pm - 7.30pm (Public Forum); 8pm - 9pm (Poetry)
Entry: Free of Charge
RSVP: Send an email to events@asialink.unimelb.edu.au with "Rendra" in the subject line
Enquiries: Contact Asialink on (03) 8344 4800


Public Forum: "The Evolution of Indonesia's Future"
Venue: University of Technology Sydney CB06.05.51
Date: Friday 7 October, 6pm
Entry: Free of Charge

Rendra Poetry reading with Ken Zuraida, music by Sawung Jabo
Venue: Downstairs Theatre, Seymour Centre
Date: Saturday 8 October, 3.30pm - 5pm
Tickets: $15/$20
Enquiries: Contact Sue Piper wot@iprimus.com.au or phone 0410 716 553, or contact the Seymour Centre Box Office

Bengkel Teater Rendra drama workshop with Rendra, Ken Zuraida and Sawung Jabo
Venue: Bankstown
Date: Saturday 22 October, 10am - 4pm
Tickets: $55 - places limited
Enquiries: Contact Sue Piper wot@iprimus.com.au or phone 0410 716 553


Rendra Poetry reading with Ken Zuraida, musical accompaniment by Sawung Jabo
Venue: TBC
Date: Monday 10 October, 5.30pm - 7pm
Tickets: $15/$20
Enquiries: Contact Sue Piper wot@iprimus.com.au or phone 0410 716 553


Public Forum: "The Evolution of Indonesia's Future"
Venue: Queensland Art Gallery
Date: Thursday 13 October, 6pm - 7pm
Entry: Free of charge
RSVP: Cassandra Van Wyk by Friday 7 October 2005. Email c.vanwyk@griffith.edu.au or phone 3875 3730

Rendra Poetry reading with Ken Zuraida, musical accompaniment by Sawung Jabo
Venue: Turbine Platform, Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm
Date: Sunday 16 October, 3pm
Entry: Free of charge

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"Festival Indonesia" brings Nusantara to Melbourne

Thursday 29 Sept - Saturday 1 Oct
Federation Square, Melbourne

All of the sights, sounds and smells of Indonesia's diverse cultures are coming to Melbourne's Federation Square from Thursday 29 September - Saturday 1 October. The Indonesian Consulate General in Melbourne will host Festival Indonesia, a trade, tourism and cultural fair aimed at strengthening the bilateral ties between Victoria and Indonesia.

As well presenting events for business and investors (including a trade exhibition and business forum), there will be a non-stop program of cultural performances during the Festival. Most cultural events will take place on the main Federation Square stage. The opening day (Thur 29 Sept) will feature traditional dances from Sumatra, Java and Bali, as well as central Javanese gamelan music, while on day two (Fri 30 Sept) traditional dance and angklung take centre stage.

The final day (Sat 1 Oct) will be dedicated to presenting a huge showcase of the best of Indonesia's traditional performing arts. Starting at 11am with a children's program, the packed line-up includes traditional dance from Sumatra, Java and Bali, demonstrations of the Indonesian martial art pencak silat, and music from around the archipelago (including a live dangdut performance). Plenty of delicious Indonesian food will be on offer too. From 5.30pm-8.30pm on the final day, a spectacular closing show entitled Jamrud Khatulistiwa (Emerald of the Equator) will bring the festivities to their climax. This closing performance will include a Balinese beleganjur procession, traditional dances, pencak silat and rampak kendang.

Friday 30 Sept, 6.30pm-10pm
BMW Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne

To be held in conjunction with Festival Indonesia is Bali Night 2005: Bali Beyond Kuta, a showcase of traditional performance presented by the Balinese community organisations Mahindra Bali and STT. Entertainment includes traditional Balinese dancing and gamelan music, as well as a video presentation, and finger food and wine are included in the ticket price. There will also be raffles and door prizes throughout the night, with the main prize being a return air ticket to Bali courtesy of Air Paradise.

Venue: BMW Edge, Federation Square, Melbourne
Date: Friday 30 September, 6.30pm-10pm
Tickets: $25 per person
Bookings & More Info: Agung Parwata - 0418 356 929, Yoga Iswara - 0407 731 279, Riany - 0433 176 384, Merthi Poedijono - (03) 9522 6707

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Arts News in Brief - Melbourne

Swara Bendhe magazine provides information about gamelan and related Indonesian music across Australia and New Zealand. The latest issue of Swara Bendhe magazine is out now. This issue includes:
  • Coverage of the Inspirasi Festival in Byron Bay NSW, including performances by Mike Burns, Efen Jainudin and artist/dhalang Heri Dono.

  • Reports from The Art of Harmony concert at Melbourne's National Gallery of Victoria, featuring performances by three central Javanese gamelan groups.

  • A fascinating profile of Adrian Sherriff, a Melbourne musician/composer who was involved with the production of The Theft of Sita. Adrian plays Balinese gender wayang, South Indian mrdangam (drum) and trombone - to name just a few of the instruments he has mastered.

  • Indonesia Arts in Diaspora, an article by Arsisto Ambyo, an Indonesian writer and gamelan player living in Melbourne. Whilst Indonesian traditional culture may not seem important to many young Indonesians growing up in Indonesia, when they are living away from home it takes on new significance.

  • and much more...

To subscribe to Swara Bendhe, download the subscription form from the Melbourne Community Gamelan website. Major credit cards accepted.

Indonesian Acoustic Band Competition

Featuring performances by:
Auraphobia, Denera, Eva Mendez, Nightdrive, On/Off, Smurfs

Venue: Garage Cafe, 213-221 Berkeley St, Carlton
Date: Monday 26 September, 6.30pm onwards
Tickets: $12 pre-paid, $15 at the door (including snacks and drinks)
Enquiries: Dinnia - 0401 889 283, Dara - 0433 150 682

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Book Launch - Balinese Dance, Drama & Music

Balinese Dance, Drama & Music
To be launched by Rucina Ballinger.
Author Rucina Ballinger is coming to Melbourne to launch Balinese Dance, Drama & Music: A Guide to the Performing Arts of Bali, an important book for teachers, performers, musicians and anyone interested in the complex Balinese worldview and the way this is expressed in performance. Lavishly illustrated, this book introduces the most commonly seen traditional performing arts in Bali and fully explains the history and function of each performance genre. The book is enhanced with a bibliography, a discography, and over 150 specially prepared watercolors of Balinese performers and performances.

Rucina has lived in Bali for over twenty years and been involved in the performing arts of Asia since l972. In recent years she has run numerous educational programs in Bali. She worked on an innovative Wayang Kulit show to assist in the counselling of those traumatised by the Bali bomb, and presently heads Yayasan Kemanusiaan Ibu Pertiwi (YKIP), a Bali-based charity providing health and educational support to Balinese with limited means.

There will be two opportunities to be part of the Melbourne launch of this wonderful new book:


Prior to the book launch, there will be a special screening of the video Shadows of Terror: How Wayang Kulit was used as a Tool for Post-Bomb Depression. The video portrays Wayang Dasa Nama Kerta (Ten Names of Peace), an innovative puppet show created after the Bali bombing to assist with trauma counseling.

Venue: Room 321, Sidney Myer Asia Centre, University of Melbourne
Date: Friday 16 September, Video Screening and Discussion - 4pm, Book Launch - 5pm
More Info: Michael Ewing, email mce@unimelb.edu.au or phone (03) 8344 0155


Prior to the book launch and book signing by Rucina, there will be a dance performance by a Melbourne-based Balinese performer, with tips for teachers on bringing Balinese culture into the classroom.

Venue: Nusantara Indonesian Bookshop, 72 Maroondah Hwy, Croydon
Date: Saturday 17 September, Book Launch & Dance Performance - 1.30pm
More Info: email info@nusantara.com.au or phone (03) 9723 1195

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Melbourne Arts Festival - Fiona Tan & Weyreap's Battle

For my money, there's only one truly big event in Melbourne at this time of year, and I don't mean the AFL Grand Final or the Royal Melbourne Show. From October 6 - October 22 the Melbourne International Arts Festival will spread its wings once again, showcasing world-class performances which are challenging, inspiring and stimulating.

Asian talent and traditional artforms are always well represented in the Festival. In past years, highlights have included the Indonesian-Australian wayang kulit production The Theft of Sita; Rongo: Voices of Oceania, a grand concert by musicians from around the Asia-Pacific region (including Ki Poedijono and Ria Soemardjo); Turkey's mystical Whirling Dervishes and their Sufi rituals; and the innovative Bamboo Symphonia music group from Japan.

So what's on offer this year? In a word, heaps. Everything from concerts by maestro Phillip Glass, to quirky bicycle-riding performance artists. Two Festival events of particular interest to me are a gallery show by Fiona Tan, an Indonesian-born visual artist, and a traditional Cambodian dance drama adaptation of the Ramayana. See below for more information.

FIONA TAN - Saint Sebastian
Anna Schwartz Gallery :: Saturday 8 Oct - Saturday 22 Oct

Saint Sebastian is Fiona Tan's remarkable visual essay on suspense and sensuality. Tan captures the tension of the annual Toshiya ceremony in Kyoto, Japan, a festival that brings together the finest young female archers from around Japan to celebrate the passing from childhood into adulthood. Lying somewhere between still photograph and moving picture, the ritualised ceremony is riveting and all-absorbing. Tan has encapsulated the captivation of beauty, colour and eroticism in this exquisite work.

Venue: Anna Schwartz Gallery, 185 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Dates: Saturday 8 October - Saturday 22 October. Tue-Fri 12pm-6pm, Sat 1pm-5pm
Entry: FREE

For More Information: Melbourne International Arts Festival :: Anna Schwartz Gallery :: Previous exhibitions by Fiona Tan

Artist Biography: (From www.medienkunstnetz.de)
Born 1966 in Pekanbaru (Indonesia); artistic work with video and film mainly in installations; lives and works in Amsterdam (NL). Home country and place of living are an important factor in the work of the artist: Indonesia as the former colony of Holland and Amsterdam as the capital of the colonial empire. The effects of that colonial past onto the present continuously influence her work. She started this investigation when she found old faded slides of her birthplace in Sumatra and of her childhood in Indonesia.

WEYREAP'S BATTLE - Lakhaon Kaol (Cambodian Classical Masked Dance)
Amrita Performing Arts (in collaboration) :: Thursday 6 Oct - Saturday 8 Oct

Preceded by a special Buddhist blessing, Weyreap's Battle is a dance theatre work retelling an action-packed episode of the well known Asian epic, the Ramayana or Reamker, as it is known in Cambodia. Through traditional music, simple staging and highly energetic classical dancing, the all-male cast performs a time-honoured narrative of good triumphing over evil.

'Lakhaon Kaol' (Cambodian classical male masked dancing) consists of a complex vocabulary of over 4,000 gestures. An ensemble featuring circle gongs, xylophones, percussion and woodwind instruments accompanies the expressive movement, while two narrators 'direct' the choreography from the orchestra (narration sung in Cambodian with English surtitles). In glittery costumes and elaborately painted masks, the dancers portray a monkey army, an underwater sea creature battle, and a host of surprising and magical encounters, in this larger-than-life production for all ages.

A little known form of ancient sacred dance, 'Lakhaon Kaol', is one of the oldest Cambodian performing arts traditions, but until recently it was feared lost. From 1975 to 1979 the Khmer Rouge's brutal repression of Cambodian culture resulted in the deaths of many Cambodian artists and intellectuals, including an estimated 90 per cent of all classical dancers. 'Lakhaon Kaol' has now been painstakingly revived by the few surviving artists, together with the Royal University of Fine Arts in Phnom Penh and the National Theatre of Cambodia.

Venue: The Arts Centre - Playhouse, 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
Dates: Thursday 6 October - Saturday 8 October. Thu-Sat 8.15pm, Fri matinee 11am
Entry: Full - $45, Concession - $33.75, Student - $19

For More Information: Melbourne International Arts Festival :: Amrita Performing Arts :: Interview with the Director of Amrita Performing Arts

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Arts News in Brief - Melbourne

Box Hill Town Hall :: Friday 16 Sept - 7.30pm

From the Perwira website:

Gala Dinner Dance 2005 with floor shows
Venue: Box Hill Town Hall, 1022 Whitehorse Rd, Box Hill
Date: Friday 16 September from 7.30pm

This event is our first time ever to be held for fund raising to acquire 'a community house' or 'BALAI PERWIRA' for the use by the Indonesian community in Melbourne. A place where we can get together and where we can participate in many activities in art and culture, education and many more for now and our future generation.

So come along and help us for a good cause to reach our dream!

Apart from traditional dance performances, there will be a fashion parade, music and live band. Indonesian buffet dinner, juice, tea and coffee will be served and you can BYO drinks. All welcome!

Tickets: Adults - $30, Perwira members - $25, Children under 12 - $10

Tickets available from:
Halal Java Food - (03) 9548 7022
Deby Suriadikusumah - 0419 116 791
Aida McAulay - 0404 846 183
Nia Davis - 0421 594 638
Diah Campbell - 0418 387 810

Enquiries: 0438 655 270 or email info@perwira.com.au

Flyer for "Satu Untuk Satu"
Originally uploaded by seni-seni.
Federation Hall, VCA :: Saturday 17 Sept - 2.45pm, 5.15pm, 7.45pm

From indoau.com:

PPIA Melb Uni (MUISA) presents Satu Untuk Satu, a film by Indonesian Students in Sydney. Produced by Polkadot Entertainment. Soundtrack by: 3PJ, Shakila, Balaclava, Tembang. In Bahasa Indonesia with English subtitles.

Venue: Federation Hall, Victorian College of the Arts, 234 St Kilda Rd, Southbank
Date: Saturday 17 September; Screenings at 2.45pm, 5.15pm & 7.45pm
Tickets: $8 (member), $10 (pre-paid), $12 (at the door)

For Tickets and Info:
Manda: 0405 028 852
Stella: 0433 193 448
Elsa: 0422 021 368
Duma: 0424 598 962

School of Drama, VCA :: Monday 5 Sept - 7.30pm, Tuesday 6 Sept - 6.30pm

VCA School of Drama presents Mapping Malin, based on an Indonesian folktale The Legend of Malin Kundang. By postgraduate animator Fanny Hanusin in collaboration with VCA first-year actors Stuart Bowden, Joanna Curteis, Julia Markowski and Carl Nilsson-Polias. Duration: 30 minutes.

Venue: VCA School of Drama, 28 Dodds St, Southbank
Dates: Monday 5 September - 7.30pm, Tuesday 6 September - 6.30pm
Entry: FREE

Enquiries: (03) 9685 9225

Shakespeare in the Shadows

An intriguing new production is breathing life into wayang kulit in Malaysia, where the art form is slowly vanishing. Macbeth in the Shadows adapts the action of Shakespeare's classic play into shadow puppetry, with the dialogue performed in Bahasa Malaysia.

From Malaysia's Sun newspaper:

Slowly but surely, if no one does anything about it, traditional folk art such as wayang kulit (shadow puppetry) will disappear from our shores. Right now, there are only a handful of its exponents still keeping this culture alive.

Among them is Dollah Baju Merah (Dalang Abdullah Ibrahim), one of the last leading Tok Dalangs (shadow puppeteer) in the country.

Pusaka (Centre for the Study and Documentation of Traditional Performance in Malaysia), in association with the British Council, will be bringing Malaysians a taste of Shakespeare performed wayang kulit-style.

Macbeth in the Shadows combines the efforts of Dollah, British novelist-playwright-illustrator Edward Carey, and local poet-writer-translator Eddin Khoo.

The performance involves the design and creation of new puppets by Dollah and Carey, based on the characters in
Macbeth. Khoo will adapt and interpret the original play to suit the requirements of wayang kulit.

Macbeth in the Shadows is scheduled to be staged at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) in September.

Read more about on this production on the Malaysian blog, Bibliobibuli.

Arts News in Brief - Indonesia

National Museum, Jakarta :: 31 Aug - 14 Sept

From The Jakarta Post:

The Future of The Past, a photographic exhibition which compares images of Indonesia after its declaration of independence in 1945 to those of the present day, is currently on show at the National Museum. The festival comprises collections of pictures after 1945 taken by Dutch Cas Oorthuys and the Indonesian Mendur brothers along with new images from three young Indonesian and three young Dutch photographers.

The organizers have also scheduled screenings of two documentaries,
Indonesia Calling!, a documentary about Sydney's port workers demonstrating in support of Indonesia's independence, which screens daily at 4pm, while Indonesia In Wording, a Dutch film, screens at 5pm.

Surabaya, Taman Budaya Jawa Timur :: 6-10 Sept
Yogyakarta, Taman Budaya Yogyakarta :: 25-28 Sept

From Antara:

Taman Budaya Jawa Timur will present a festival of animated films based on traditional stories. Legends likely to be depicted include Sawunggaling, Joko Tarub and Panji Semirang. The festival will also comprise a showcase of local animation, seminars, workshops and a performance of wayang cartoons. After the Surabaya event has concluded, the films will be shown in Yogyakarta.

MUSEUM EXHIBITION - Shared Cultural Heritage
National Museum, Jakarta :: 18 Aug - 15 Nov

From The Jakarta Post:

Indonesian and Dutch museums have united their collections for an exhibition called Shared Cultural Heritage, with the artifacts on display hailing from the Indonesia's ancient kingdoms: Singosari, Majapahit, Gayo and Karangasem, to mention but a few.

Displaying 329 ethnographic and archeological artifacts, the three-month exhibition at the National Museum is a resourceful and extraordinary event. The rare and magnificent articles in the exhibition are from the National Museum of Indonesia and the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde in Leiden, the Netherlands.

For the event they have highlighted the collection from the Singosari kingdom, Malang, East Java. They decided to focus on Singosari because artifacts on display now are masterpieces of the period, the secondary peak in arts achievement after the Syailendra era in Central Java. The handiwork is refined, showing deft craftsmanship of the artists concerned. The statues are magnificent works of Javanese ancestors from the 13th century, showing the high cultural achievement of Indonesian ancestors.

Besides the Singosari collection, the front of the exhibition hall also houses a collection from the Trowulan site, Mojokerto, East Java, which is considered the center of the Majapahit Kingdom, as well as a collection from Borobudur Temple, Central Java.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Sunday 4 Sept - Adelaide Independence Day Celebrations

Adelaide Family Fun Day
Originally uploaded by seni-seni.
Everyone loves a birthday party, and the 60th anniversary of Indonesia's independence has been the focus of many celebrations. In Australia, the Embassy and Consulates have been hard at work organising the official festivities, while many Indonesian communities have also hosted their own spectacular celebrations.

This week it's Adelaide's turn to say "Happy Birthday Indonesia". On Sunday September 4 from 10.30am-2.30pm there will be a Family Fun Day at the Goodwood Community Centre, 32-34 Rosa St, Goodwood. You can join in the singing of Indonesia Raya, watch performances of traditional dance, compete in games such as panjat pinang (pole climbing) and makan kerupuk (cracker eating), and of course eat your fill of Indonesian food. Cuisine-wise, you can feast on bakso, batagor, gulai and nasi kapau (think nasi padang, only hotter)... enak sekali.

For more information, you can view the brochure for the Family Fun Day by clicking on the picture in this article. The celebrations are organised by PPIA, Rindang and AIA.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Welcome to Seni-Seni!

Welcome to Seni-Seni, a blog dedicated to covering Indonesian arts in all of their glorious forms. This website is based in Melbourne, Australia and will provide a forum to publicise this city's burgeoning Indonesian arts scene and to provide publicity for upcoming events.

As well as covering local events, Seni-Seni will also feature arts and cultural news from around Australia and Indonesia. To help you search for broader information about various art forms, there is a library of web links on the right-hand side of this page.

Whether you love gamelan music, Indonesian literature, traditional dance, film, textiles, digital media art, wayang puppetry or the visual arts scene, you will find something to interest you on this blog.

But most importantly this blog is a community website, a public resource for everyone. If you have an event which you would like to promote, arts news you want to publicise, some feedback, or even a favourite website for the links section, Seni-Seni would love to hear from you. You can send email to: seniseni(at)gmail.com . This website is also fully interactive, and you can add your comments to any of the posted articles.


Dedicated to the friendship between Australia and Indonesia.