On Friday,  23 June, our Year Six students studying Indonesian had a remarkable opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of Indonesia. As part of their Indonesian cultural experience, students were treated to a traditional ‘Wayang Kulit’ Indonesian shadow puppet show and a Javanese gamelan workshop. The event proved to be an unforgettable journey into the heart of Indonesian arts and traditions.

The day’s highlight was the mesmerizing “Wayang Kulit” shadow puppet show. The puppet master, Pak Sofari, skillfully manipulated the intricately designed puppets behind a screen, bringing to life the characters of the ancient Hindu epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The tales of the battle between good and evil captivated the students, giving them a glimpse into Indonesia’s rich mythological heritage.

 

After the performance, the students were invited behind the screen to experience firsthand the artistry and intricacy of shadow puppetry. This hands-on interaction allowed them to appreciate the detailed craftsmanship that goes into creating these beautiful puppets. For many students, this was undoubtedly one of the most memorable aspects of the incursion.

Indonesian Shadow Puppet back view
Indonesian Shadow Puppet Wayang Kulit
Indonesian Shadow Puppet close up

Following the puppet show, the students delved into the world of traditional Indonesian music through a Javanese gamelan workshop. Led by Pak Tom and his team of musicians, the students were introduced to the enchanting harmonious melodies produced by this traditional orchestra. While some students initially found it challenging, their determination and enthusiasm helped them to learn and play the melodies brilliantly.

 

Pak Tom commended the students on their impressive skills of rhythmic coordination, praising their willingness to embrace a new musical tradition. The hour spent in the workshop allowed the students to experience the beauty of Javanese gamelan music and encouraged teamwork and collaboration among the participants.

Close up of students playing gamelan
Students playing Gamelan

To conclude the cultural immersion, the students were treated to a taste of traditional Indonesian delicacies. They indulged in Bakwan Sayur (Vegetable fritter), a delectable savoury treat, and Kue Dadar Gulung (Sweet coconut green pancake), a delightful dessert. These culinary delights added an extra layer of authenticity to the overall experience, allowing the students to engage with Indonesian culture through the arts and its flavours.

 

The combined impact of the shadow puppet show and the Javanese gamelan workshop left a lasting impression on the students. The event fostered goodwill among the participants and facilitated a deeper understanding and appreciation of Indonesia, its culture, and its language. By providing a fun and interactive learning environment, the students could connect with Indonesia’s cultural heritage in a way that transcended traditional classroom teachings. The incursion entertained and educated and served as a catalyst for fostering intercultural understanding and appreciation among the students.

 

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