FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (10/96)
SHREVEPORT, LA -- The Shreveport Art Guild, Friends of the Meadows Museum will present "The Giant Who Swallowed the Moon: Indonesian Children's Art from Java and Bali " beginning in late October at Centenary College of Louisiana. The exhibition will open at the Meadows Museum of Art on the Centenary campus Sunday, Oct. 27 with a free Family Day from 1-3 p.m.
Shreveport resident Mrs. Mae E. Berkel-Ave, former Honorary Consul of the Republic of Indonesia in the Province of Alberta, Canada, secured the exciting exhibition for the Meadows. Mrs. Berkel-Ave is the younger sister of His Excellency Joop Ave, Minister of Tourism, Post and Telecommunications of the Republic of Indonesia.
Opening the Indonesian exhibition on Oct. 27 will be the Consul General of the Republic of Indonesia in Houston, the Honorable Siswadi Harjowijoyo. Accompanying him will be a troupe of costumed dancers, who will perform traditional dances of Indonesia.
The collection of over 100 paintings created by children between the ages of 5 and 15 was assembled from two of Indonesia's traditional art centers--the royal city of Yogjakarta in central Java and the famous painter's village of Ubud in Bali. The principal mediums are oil pastels and colored inks with watercolor. They were chosen on the basis of cultural relevance and technical skill. Curator of the exhibition, Professor Joseph Fischer, points out that this reflects "the best and the brightest". When the show opened in Manhattan this spring, New Yorkers were stunned by the technical skill of the paintings, as well as the creativity.
There is plenty to pique one's curiosity--children and adults alike--in "The Giant Who Swallowed the Moon. " Besides giants with jagged teeth, the paintings portray the diversity that characterized Indonesian's traditionally ritualistic culture. From scenes of dancers performing the Ramayana before ancient temples to Japanese court ceremonies and Islamic festivities. The exhibit presents a kaleidoscopic view of Indonesian life as seen by its keenest observers--children.
The title of the exhibition refers to folk behavior in response to the eclipse of the moon. Upon its frightening onset, children and adults rush outside making loud noises to scare away the giant who appears to be eating the moon.
LSU Medical Center physician John Hardjasudarma from Jakarta commented that "Bali has a rich heritage and has always been very artistic." He also remembers from his childhood many of the folktales that are depicted in the paintings.
Besides many other folk tales, also depicted are Indonesian children playing games, participating in school activities, shopping, engaged in religious celebrations, involved in festivals, watching television, reflecting on nature and thinking about their country and the world.
Joseph Fischer, curator, is an educator and Indonesian expert whose credits include organizing the first major exhibition of Indonesian modern art to tour the U.S. Mr. Fischer maintains that children's art should be seen for its true merit. Mr. Fischer, who taught at Indonesia's Gujah Mada University and at the University of California at Berkeley, has lectured and written extensively on Southeast Asia and Indonesia in particular. Folk Art of Java is his most recent book. Most notably, he published Modern Indonesian Art: Three Generations of Tradition and Change (1991).
Professor Fischer is convinced that the value of children as cultural informants has been overlooked, and the collection does much to illustrate his conviction. Both children and adults will be inspired and impressed with these extraordinary works of art.
The exhibition will close Dec. 15. Museum hours are Tuesday-Friday from 12-4 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. The Meadows is accessible to everyone. All events are free.