Working in partnership with the NY-based American Indonesian Cultural and Educational Foundation (AICEF), Yale University and Wesleyan University are pleased and honored to host His Majesty Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, the Governor/Sultan of Yogyakarta, November 6 – 11. The Sultan has a most distinguished historical and cultural position in Indonesia, and will be traveling with a group of court musicians, dancers, and a puppeteer from the Kraton Palace of Yogyakarta. A diverse schedule of performances, symposiums, workshops, campus tours and high level meetings have been planned to foster greater understanding of Yogyakarta’s unique contribution to world culture as well as to foster institutional ties.
Yogyakarta is a special region within Indonesia, created in acknowledgement of its local leader’s major contribution to the 1945-1949 revolution against the Netherlands, which had ruled it for 350 years. Americans may know it for the music of its large percussion orchestras (gamelan), shadow puppet theater (wayang), wax resist textiles (batik), ancient temples (Borobudur), silver jewelry, and an active volcano (Merapi). Yogyakarta is also a city of education and philosophy, housing some of Indonesia’s most advanced universities and religious institutions. The traditions and philosophy of its courts led by a Sultan, who also serves as the special region’s governor, continue to nurture the spiritual and intellectual life of not only Yogyakarta itself but the nation as a whole. The current Governor/Sultan of Yogyakarta, Hamengkubuwono X, and his father played major roles in the birth of the Indonesian democratic republic in the 1940s as well as its rebirth in 1998 following 45 years of authoritarian rule. He continues to play a stabilizing and modernizing role today, arbitrating the political and religious cross currents of the world’s fourth largest country.
While at Yale, the Sultan is especially interested in the Yale Art Gallery’s unique collection of wayang puppets from Indonesia (see the Dr. Walter Angst and Sir Henry Angest Collection). There will be a special performance of a shadow puppet (wayang kulit) play, “Arjuna Wiwaha (Arjuna’s Meditation)” using one of the collection’s wayang sets from Yogyakarta, which will take place on November 6 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM. in the lobby of the Yale University Art Gallery. The performance will feature court dhalong (puppeteer), Ki Suharno Ssn., and gamelan musicians from the Sultan’s court. The musical accompaniment will be played on instruments of the Yale Gamelan, made available by the Music Department for the occasion.
The Sultan will also attend a Symposium, hosted by the Yale Council on Southeast Asia Studies on “Islam and the Arts of Java” on November 7, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM Linsly-Chittenden Hall, 63 High Street, Room 102.
Additionally, on November 9, Wesleyan University will host a performance by the Yogyakarta court dancers and musicians featuring instruments of the Wesleyan gamelan at 7:30 PM in Crowell Concert Hall, 50 Wyllys Ave., Middletown.