hue and contrast

“The brighter the sunlight, the deeper the shadows…” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The long and winding road did not lead me to the significant other’s door, but to the yard of Batik Painting Art Centre by Hery’s. It was the day I met my guide who led me to the inner streets without telling me where we were going. I was so ready to show my ninja moves if he was ever going to try something. But he didn’t, and my kunai stayed hidden under my clothes.

The place is a batik factory doubled as a gallery. The owner Hery (yes, i cringe with the absence of a letter) was nice enough to show me how the batiks were made. The painful procedure has seven steps that transform an ordinary cloth ino a work of art that involves a steady hand, meticulous eyes, patience, and a tub full of boiling water.

First, the outline. Then, the first colors are painted over the outline followed by wax. Then they boil the cloth to preserve the color and to have the paint really seep into the cloth fibers. After that, they dry the cloth before starting the next series of coloring, waxing, boiling, and drying.

It wouldv’e been nice to attend the center’s batik making course had I had a few weeks to spare. But I didn’t, so I decided to go inside the gallery and pick myself an authentic batik painting. The 8′ X 11′ work of art cost me 250,000IDR and now hangs somewhere in Ron’s Singapore apartment.

My next stop in the long and winding road is the wayang center beside the Sonobudoyo Museum where puppet makers are stationed.

They use cow hides to make sure the wayang kulits can stand weather and time. The cow hides are cleaned, bleached, streched while sun-dried to make the puppets maleable and elastic. After the many months of preparing the ‘canvass,’ the hide is cut and patterned after the many characters of Ramayana, the play the wayang kulits are going to be used for. Then, the intricate boring of holes using a nail and a hammer. The final touch is the delicate painting of the wayang kulits.

I wouldve loved to get one but they’re sold for about 750,000 to 1M or more IDR. Sadness… And so I decided to stay at the museum to wait for the performance instead.

The subject of puppet shadow play is the Ramayana, one of the epics and canons of Hindu culture and literature. The eight episodes of the performance was a feast for my eyes and a treat to all culture savages. The presence of the gamelan hightened the experience with the soothing music. There was a time during my college days when I can recite the Ramayana, with all its characters and their family tree. That night, I just sat there like a doorknob, lost in trance.

Before I went to Jogjakarta, a friend told me that he did not expect that a city can be so rich in all facets (food, people, culture, religion) that he cancelled all plans after seeing the city and just stayed in Jogya for god knows how long. That night, I understood what he meant…

Batik Painting Art Centre by Hery’s
Rotowijayan KP 11/48 Jogjakarta

Sonobudoyo Museum
Wayang Kulit Performance
8:00PM to 10:00Pm
Pendopo Museum Sonobudoyo
Jl. Trikora No. 6 Jogjakarta