Wayang Golek must be preserved and passed on to the next generation

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A row of West Javanese Wayang Golek created by Endang’s Family. (photo: IO/Yoga Agusta)

IO – As a part of this nation’s culture, attention to the continuation and preservation of wayang golek must be passed on to the younger generation. Hopefully, this cultural heritage will not disappear, but can continue to develop with the times.

One of the examples of this preservation is the work of wayang golek creator Enday, who resides in Loji, West Bogor. He started his wayang golek business in 2000 with his father, who was also his teacher, and they have successfully attracted attention from foreign tourists.

“Our history is here, I myself started in 2000 but really, I was able to create wayang since 1987 when I was still in my first year of middle school, taught by my father. My father was even once visited by Mr. Soeharto, who took the opportunity to see the wayang golek creation process (1972), and he ordered one wayang show set,” said Enday.

Wayang Golek coloring process. The process need to be an extra focus to keep the quality good. (photo: IO/Yoga Agusta)

Enday, who previously worked in a hotel, together with his father strived to expand the wayang golek market. Impressively, his father, who is currently 71 years old, has memorized 300 types of wayang, while Enday himself knows only some 100. Currently, Enday sells 1 wayang golek for around 50 to 60 euro.

“Before, my father’s wayang were not selling well, in either local or foreign markets. In the end I handled sales directly, especially to foreign tourists, and sold them for 50 to 60 euro,” continued Enday.

Enday’s customers are 80% foreign, coming from countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia. His wayang golek are often bought by Indonesian embassies as gifts. His sales also reach government institutions or state-owned enterprises, where they are gifted to countries they visit.

As a West Javanese wayang golek creator, Enday hopes that he can introduce wayang golek to the next generation. According to him, this is West Javanese culture or traditional art in West Java, and its purveyors are mostly foreigners. Why can’t we preserve, introduce and pass this on to the next generation?

Enday says that a Dutch travel agency has made his workshop a must-see part of their route. Foreign tourists love to see how wayang are made, and with Enday they do not only get to see the crafting but can also watch Enday play gamelan while they enjoy coffee and fried bananas in his studio.

Later on, Enday hopes that his children can continue his and his father’s hard work, preserving the culture of genuine West Javanese wayang golek. (Nurhidayat Nasution)