Semarak 30 Semar (2009)

When mas Slamet Gundono asked me y short massage why I was making Semar to resemble personalities from Zeus, Buddha, a bodybuilder and a Roman emperor to one carrying a globe, my answer, more or less, was that Semar, in my mind, existed and was real and alive throughout time, and that he existed for all nations and cultures. His philosophy could be adopted anywhere, untarnished by time. Imagine such a servant, simple yet respected by the gods (read : officialdom).

Next, mas Gundono asked me why I was making 30 of the figurines. My answer was that my creative intuition went only as 30. I had also made a Semar in bas-relief but that one did not count. I also told him that I was very fond of the number 3, in the first place because I was the youngest in a family of three children. For the rest, the number 3 often meant something in my life. Mas Gundono remarked that Semar also had three children : Petruk, Gareng and Bagong.

That dialogue occurred early in 2009, a few months after I had become convinced that mas Slamet Gundono was the person best suited to support my Semar exhibition. The reason was that this contemporary dalang puppeteer had a body resembling those of figurines I was making. Long before that, after Ganesha exhibition in 1993, the thought entered my mind to that, I look a total break because it was difficult to find a model or form that would suit Semar or vague, in between happy and sad, smiling and crying, between old and childlike.

Only in 2006, after I had acquired an adequate understanding of semar’s nature, did I dare smaller in the process of firing – differed from the smaller ones. For the big one, an inner construction was needed to prevent the upper part from pressing down on the lower during firing and ruin the shape.

The specifically semar attributes such as the chili ear ornaments and watery eyes could not be overlooked, including his most eye catching sign, his forelock, which I made as exaggerated as I could.

At around the end of 2008 all the 30 Semar figurines were ready. The creative work continued with the making of a Semar in relief. This I considered a celebration because I had no more weight to carry on my shoulders.

As we are all aware, a monetary crisis is hitting the word and is affecting almost all line of business. The semar I have created is a Semar for all kinds of weather, hot or rainy. I remember that at the time I was holding my Golekan exhibition in 1997. A monetary crisis was affecting Indonesia too. This experience helped to strengthen me in my confidence and my conviction that Semar would continue to exist whether or not the world is in a crisis. He appears as a servant an as a disguises protector, and we must not forget: when condition turn bad, he appears to cheer us up.

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