Discover Indonesian Workshop Month in Qatar
Years of Culture
For this month-long Years of Culture event series, we invited skilled Indonesian craftsmen, makers and performers to share their expertise with audiences in Doha. Each of the workshop types focused on a different Indonesian art form, from Wayang Suket Puppet-Making to Traditional Pottery, Indonesian Batik and Tari Melak Dance. What better way to discover and get to know a culture than through the traditional crafts that form part of a country’s unique history?
The Years of Culture Indonesian Workshop Month began in early September, with a series of Wayang Suket Indonesian Puppet-Making Workshops at Liwan in Doha.
Wayang Suket (which translates as puppet and straw in Javanese) dates back hundreds (if not thousands) of years, to the fields of East and Central Java. These unique handmade straw puppets are typically used to perform traditional folk tales from Java and wider Indonesia.
Founder and creative director of cultural preservation group Wayang Suket Indonesia, Gaga Rizky shared his passion for the ancient Javanese art of puppetry, which transforms long blades of grass into a lively cast of characters. Through their work, the group hopes to help preserve these traditions as an example of Indonesia’s rich culture and inspire younger generations to take pride in them.
Participants learned how to weave their own puppets from straw, before mastering the art of puppetry and storytelling for a collaborative performance, alongside the workshop mentors. Watch more behind the scenes footage from this workshop over on Instagram.
Years of Culture hosted this captivating Batik workshop series at M7, in collaboration with the Jakarta Textile Museum. Mentors travelled to Doha from Jakarta’s Museum Tekstil to deliver fascinating, hands-on masterclasses about the art of Batik, which uses ancient wax-resist techniques to dye patterns onto fabric.
Project leader and Museum Collections, Information, and Education Manager Ardi Hariyadi studied textile crafts at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts in Yogyakarta and has taught Batik workshop programmes in the USA, South Korea and United Arab Emirates.
The workshops were also facilitated by textile and natural dyes expert Yeni Yanas and Dwi Sudiyanti, a Museum Educator certified by the Indonesian Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology. Both have extensive experience conducting Batik workshops around the world.
Over the course of each 90 minute session, participants learned about the history and wider context of Batik, before designing an individual pattern based on Indonesian and Qatari motifs. Then, following the traditional process of Batik, their chosen patterns were hand-drawn onto the fabric in wax before colouring the fabric using natural dyes.
We were also honoured to welcome His Excellency Mr. Ridwan Hasan, Ambassador of Indonesia, who paid a visit to one of the workshops. See more workshop highlights over on our Instagram.
Making use of the excellent facilities at Liwan’s Clay Lab, Years of Culture hosted a workshop series with Indonesian ceramic artist Francisca Puspitasari from 21st - 24th September.
The founder of Kaloka Pottery in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Francisca studied at the Indonesian Institute of the Arts and has experience in product design and working across a range of mediums. Francisca founded Kaloka Pottery, a sustainable studio creating one-of-a-kind ceramic pieces to preserve Indonesia’s heritage of craftsmanship and share “a touch of Indonesian soul”.
During each workshop, Francisca (also known as Kika) shared her skills with participants, who had the chance to sculpt their own creations on a pottery wheel. The session covered important fundamental ceramic techniques and traditional Indonesian glazing methods before firing, ready to take home. Watch the workshop wrap-up over on Instagram.
From 28th to 30th September, women in Doha had the opportunity to learn the magnificent “Tari Merak” dance at the Black Box Theatre, Multaqa in Education City. Also known as the Peacock Dance, Tari Merak is an elegant, expressive classical dance originally from West Java. The dance is characterised by a choreographed series of movements inspired by the majestic bird.
During each workshop, participants were given a beautiful introduction to Tari Marek with a performance by the Indonesian dance teachers. Traditional artist Hizkia Pertiwi has performed dance and Angklung music around the world, from the Uk to South Africa and Japan. She was supported by fellow traditional artist and Angklung teacher, Silvi Regiana.
These inclusive dance workshops were open to all levels, with no experience necessary. After enjoying a special performance, the ladies learned about the history and cultural importance of the dance before practising the steps and choreography together.
Years of Culture would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all of the workshop facilitators and mentors who shared their work and expertise with us. We would also like to thank everyone who took part in Indonesian Workshop month, and hope you enjoyed learning new skills and discovering Indonesia’s cultural heritage.