The International Gamelan Festival featured site visits to chosen localities in Wonogiri, Karanganyar, Boyolali, and Blora. The sites were chosen because of their relevant products of art.
That afternoon in Wonogiri, the sun was intense. However, it did not deter the participants of the 12 August 2018 event. More than 50 people, mostly foreigners, depart from Solo to Sanggar Asta Kenya at Kepuhsari Village, Manyaran District, Wonogiri Regency.
Upon arrival, the participants were given a friendly welcome by the locals. They were treated with a performance of reog Ponorogo and jaran kepang dance. The participants were amazed by the attractive and energetic reog performance. They did not miss the chance to take pictures.
After a reog performance, participants were taken to see the wayang artisans doing natah sungging, tracing and cutting patterns on leather to make shadow puppets. They were also invited to try, guided by the artisans. They tried making patterns and they could take their work home.
Manyaran District Head Rahmat Imam Santosa explained that Kepuhsari is well-known as a wayang village. The majority of its inhabitants are wayang artisans. Imam added that wayang was not just an art product for them. Javanese philosophy in the art of wayang is also their way of life. That said, wayang is not the only art product developed in the village.
Other traditional arts flourished in Wonogiri, including the kethek ogleng dance. Manyaran did a good job in managing its cultural products and tourism, because the local villages created Kelompok Sadar Wisata (Tourism Awareness Groups) to manage them.
The visit was in line with the five pillars of Indonesiana. In Wonogiri, Indonesiana is present through IGF 2018 to empower locals by facilitating performance of local artists and introducing the Wonogiri wayang kulit industry to IGF participants. The local government appreciated IGF’s visit to Wonogiri.
After visiting the wayang workshop, the participants tried the local fare for lunch, featuring Wonogiri dishes nasi tiwul, wader kali, bothok jambu methe, jangan lombok, and others. Some participants purchased wayangs and local souvenirs.
Wrapping the event is a performance of the kethek ogleng dance under the shade of bamboo groves, where the participants mingle with locals. It represented good relations between fellow cultural activists. The humorous kethek ogleng dance lightened up the situation, bringing the visit into its climax. The Wonogiri site visit is an integral part of IGF, empowering local culture as well as strengthening traditional arts as part of national identity (Joko Suyanto).