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HIGHLIGHT on Photograph Exhibition: The Embassy of Spain in Jakarta and the National Gallery of Indonesia holds a celebration of 60 Anniversary of Diplomatic relations between Spain and Indonesia.
“The Last Breath of the Prince” presents and spreads the art of a Spanish artist and the traditional Indonesian art and tradition, when we learn from each other and work together the results are beautiful.” H.E. Mr. José María Matres Manso, Ambassador of Spain in Indonesia, as the opening statement.
60 Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations
In the 60th Anniversary of the Diplomatic Relations between Spain and Indonesia this exhibition celebrates the cultural ties between both cultures. The photographs by the Spanish artist Diego Zapatero were set and produced in Yogyakarta taking inspiration in the rich Javanese dance/drama Wayang Topeng culture which depicts the Panji Tales.
This exhibition therefore also celebrates the link between tradition and modernity and is likewise a conversation between cultures and times.
The Panji Tales through the eyes of Diego Zapatero is a depict Wayang Topeng scenes retelling the Panji tales, which the Spanish photographer Diego Zapatero found highly inspiring during his time in Yogyakarta.
Zapatero used old photographic techniques which give the images an old texture and feel. There are six miniature images of the Dutch colonial photo archives that inspired the artist (part of the KITLV Archive), as well as some informative notes on the particular scene, Panji character or anecdotes from the project (Photograph left: Hanuman, the White Monkey Warrior).
The viewer will also be able to look to what was going on behind the scenes, as photographs of the ‘making of’ of the project are also on show (30 of them), where for instance you can see the 82 years old dancer and actor directing the crew.
Another wall is taken by the different illustrations Diego Zapatero created following the models of the Wayang Topeng masks used for Panji performances that he found during his time in Yogyakarta.
There are also some masks from Yogyakarta, in Diego’s private collection that will look at the viewers’ eyes along the exhibition.
Panji Festival Jakarta
The Panji stories originate in Java in the 13th century and tell the story of Raden Inu Kertapati and Dewi Sekartaji. The story line of Panji is about the love and adventures of Inu Kertapati and Dewi Sekartaji.
The Indonesian Panji Festival will be held in 8 cities from the 27th of June to the 13th of July. A number of different activities are prepared for such event such as seminars, training, performances and exhibitions.
On 30 October 2017, the Panji Tales were inscribed in the prestigious Unesco Memory of the World Register affirming their world significance, outstanding universal value and need for safeguarding of the traditions linked with it. This exhibition shows how efforts for the safeguarding and appreciation of this art are being taken not only by local traditional artist and artisans, but also international photographers and intellectuals, like the Spanish photographer Diego Zapatero.
About Diego Zapatero
Diego Zapatero (Spain, 1982) has lived in the city of Yogyakarta since 2010, when he was sent from Spain on a two month mission to cover the eruption of the 9.600 feet tall Merapi Volcano. After a career in marketing and business administration and a background as a pianist and composer, Diego migrated into photography at the age of 25. He studied photojournalism and documentary photography at the Indonesian Institute of Arts in Yogyakarta, focusing on visualization of human stories and Indonesian cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible.
In order to understand better the local culture, Zapatero has mastered Bahasa Indonesia and Javanese. “I had already seen exhibitions of masks before, as a material thing, as a souvenir, but I thought why not pay tribute to those who are behind them? It is a universal issue, a performer loses his previous identity and assumes a new one letting go of his own will which now becomes subservient to that of the personage of the mask. Each time it is precisely then that something important occurs on stage” as Diego Zapatero, photographer said.
Where: National Gallery of Indonesia, Gedung C
When: 6- 15 July 2018