Gaga Rizky and the Wayang Suket Indonesia’s aim is to bring back and to preserve the Javanese tradition of Wayang Suket, or “straw puppets”, and introduce this piece of Indonesia’s cultural heritage to the world.
The tradition of making straw puppets comes from the mainland of Java, where many Javanese believe that they have been made since time immemorial. Usually parents and children make puppets from straw while out in the fields. Long, strong blades of dried grass are woven to create a unique form of wayang puppet.
When the puppet is finished, children can use them to create their own puppet shows. While other forms of wayang shows have specific stories associated with them, people are free to say whatever stories they like with the straw puppets. The performance entitled Timun Mas (Golden Cucumber) presents an original Indonesian folktale from Java, telling the story of a miraculous girl and a giant. This show is wrapped in shadow art techniques, combining Wayang Suket with the aesthetics of shadow theatre, accompanied by music, to add soul and feeling to the performance.
Gaga Rizky is the founder and creative director of Wayang Suket Indonesia. He loves the Indonesia’s traditional folk tales and been charmed by the versions of wayang puppets made from dry grass and straw.
He formed the group “Wayang Suket Indonesia” in order to preserve these cultural traditions into the modern era. He hopes that with his work, He can make Indonesian folk tales and straw puppets better known in Indonesia and the wider world, as an example of Indonesia’s rich culture, and inspire the younger generation to take pride in them.
He has various activities that preserve the tradition of straw wayang puppets, such as performance that use straw puppet to tell traditional tales, workshops in making straw puppets, and exhibitions. He also invites artists from Indonesia and other countries to collaborate on projects that highlight and preserve Indonesian folk tales and folk arts.