Silek Arts Festival 2018 that will be held in West Sumatra on the 7th of September - 30th of November 2018 is a big traditional martial arts event on silek tradition. In other regions of Indonesia this martial art is known as pencak silat. The word silek is used to emphasize the martial arts aspect, while the Minangkabau language has the word mancak or bungo silek (silat flower) that emphasizes the art and beauty aspect.
As one of the Minangkabau's cultural heritage, silek has been the source of inspiration for the development of various contemporary art genres. It shows during the spectacle art show randai that came out in 1926 at a fair in Payakumbuh. In the show, silek is the main ingredient for legaran, which is a circle in which the players move quickly and sharply, while tapping their thigh or a part of their galembong pants every once in a while. The galembong that is used in randai itself, which are pants with long pisak, is a modification of the normal pants used by pandeka (warrior) in silek training.
In addition to having martial art and movement art aspect, silek basically contains mental and spiritual aspect and also Minangkabau philosophy. Through the steps and silek movement, Minangkabau people are taught ethics and aesthetics based on the 'Alam Takambang Jadi Guru' adage. These anak sasian (silek pupils) will be given understanding on nature around them, human nature and transcendental power (macro cosmos) through teachings of silek.
Lately silek came out as a new trend for the youth in West Sumatra. There are more and more silek related activities initiated by the youth communities. A group of young people in Padangpanjang, West Sumatra organizes 'Minangkabau Silek Retreat' that brings together pandeka (warriors) from different sasaran (institutions/schools) and aliran (styles), even from other countries. A similar trend is also showed by other festivals, which are 'Pasa Harau Art & Culture Festival', 'Payakumbuh Botuang Festival' and even other festivals organized by perantau (emigrant/wanderer) students from Minangkabau in several cities. In those festivals, silek is always the main event.
Through 'Silek Arts Festival' we celebrate and penetrate into a traditional system that reflects creative ethos and traditional Minangkabau thinking. We will witness the silek ecosystem of today connect with one another, how silek develops on an international level. In this event we will also watch silek be reproduced within several branches of art and be kept as part of traditional artifacts: literature, show, manuscript, visual art, etc.