It was a cloudy December 12, 2011. Earlier in the morning, I planned to go to an exhibition related to indigenous oral tradition. Although that day wasn’t the best monday leisure of mine, I still decided to attend the event considering the rareness of its topic.  So, amidst class traffic and capricious rain, I went to Alphabeta Journal’s Spoken Belief: Audio-Visual Interpretation. It was one of my very inspiring afternoon.

The exhibition was held at LIR Space which is located on Bachiro area, Yogyakarta. My first impression was “what an unique venue!”. LIR Space maybe hasn’t enjoyed that much publication or customers, since they just started to roll the dice this July. But the atmosphere is so familiar and unique. They uses 3 in 1 (bookstore-boutique-cafe) concept and surrounding it with Butterbeer from Harry Potter; Homemade Ginger Ale and Picnic Sandwich of Enid Blyton’s classic; Pippi Long Stocking’s Pancake; and Afternoon Tea Set that come straight out of Alice in Wonderland story on their menu’s lists. All of sudden, I found myself on childhood backyard again.

Spoken Belief: Audio-Visual Interpretation is an appreciation toward tales and folklores in Indonesia, by Alphabeta Journal. The exhibition was divided into two chapters: the first is visual exhibition through drawings and paintings, and the second is the audio interpretation. Eight young artists were participated on the visual interpretation. Their wildest imagination let go their skills to sweep the canvas, telling the chosen folklores. You can see how these talented artists defined their own version of some well-known fairytales, such as Lutung Kasarung, The Prince and Mosquito, Slugs and Deer, and many more. However, the folklores are not merely picturesque in an easy way; most of the paintings are strikingly sophisticated and abstract. You will enjoy them as combination of fetterless craft and deep philosophical thoughts. On Sunday, December 18 the audio interpretation began. Stop Lichten, a local band brought their musical performance to tell the visitors about childhood fairytales using modern tones. The exhibition was opened from December 12 until 24, 2011.

The Author (left). And his friend (right).

Although I didn’t find any La Galigo interpretation being showed on both visual and audio exhibition, I found a South Celebes folklore from Bone, Putri Tadampalik and the Bull. It is a very famous story, taken from Pau-Pau Rikadong or the collection of advices and proverbs of The Bugis. The story goes long before Islamic belief infiltrate The Kingdom of Luwu. An exquisite yet so generous princess called Her Grace Tadampalik is the daughter of Datu Luwu (the king). One day, out of nowhere she suffered of inexplicable skin diseases (maja’ uli) which turned her face ugly and her body smelly. The councils of Luwu asked the Datu to expell her from the kingdom, in hope that the skin diseases would not infect the king’s subjects. Brokenhearted by the decision, the Datu of Luwu himself then commanded Her Grace Tadampalik to broad on a small bamboo raft with several lady-in-waiting. She followed the river stream, and finally landed on a jungle.

She decided to live there with her attendants and spent most of her time praying to Dewata with great patient. One day, when she was alone on the yard, a big albino bull came and licked her skin. The bull’s saliva magically cured the disease. After healed Princess Tadampalik, the bull suddenly disappeared. Her Grace was very grateful, but she remained to stay in that remote place rather than come back to Luwu. The story continues with the visit of prince from The Kingdom of Bone and his hunting team near Tadampalik’s abode. Shortly told, the prince met Tadampalik, he found out that she was actually the daughter of King Luwu, married her, and then ruled the Kingdom of Bone together.

Visual Interpretation of Princess Tadampalik and The Bull

Folklores were told by parents to their children orally, from generation to generation. Saving folklores or traditional values through modern package like this exhibition is very important. Many kids nowadays are more familiar with Disney Characters or Japanese Anime rather than their ancestors-made stories. Internet, smartphone, and games also contributes on causing the lackness of interest toward old tales. Alphabeta Journal has proven that as youngsters we could still enjoy globalization and beautiful folklores from our fathers side by side. This Spoken Belief: Audio-Visual Interpretation is an homage to oral tradition, and a jar of creativity for youth thru music and art. Let’s be inspired! Let’s spread this spirit!

 

Published by Louie Buana

Alumni Universitas Gadjah Mada yang sedang melanjutkan studinya di Universiteit Leiden, Belanda. Pernah mengikuti pertukaran pelajar ke Amerika Serikat selama setahun di bawah program AFS Youth Exchange & Study (YES). Penulis novel "The Extraordinary Cases of Detective Buran" ini memiliki hobi jalan-jalan, membaca buku, dan karaoke. Find out more about him personal blog.

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