Sanggar Nirmala Sari nurtures the love for shadow puppetry among young people

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Wayang Kulit
M. Ikhfan Bayu Ananta (11), one of the students at Sanggar Nirmala Sari. (IO/Rayi Gigih)

Jakarta, IO – Wayang kulit (shadow puppetry) is an Indonesian traditional art that thrives mainly on the island of Java. It comes from the word “Ma Hyang” which means spirit, gods, or Almighty God. There are also those who interpret wayang as a Javanese term meaning “shadow,” because the puppets are played from behind a screen and the audience can only see the shadow.

The shadow puppetry was recognized by UNESCO on November 7, 2003, as a masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity. It is more popular in central and eastern Java, while a three dimensional “cousin” known as wayang golek is more popular in West Java.