The realm of contemporary arts |

I La Galigo: Charming Buginese Epic

The Realm of Contemporary Arts | 4 August 2019

Presented by Ciputra Artpreneur, I La Galigo is a world-class colossal performance promoting cultural arts from the archipelago to the community, especially the young generation

I La Galigo: Charming Buginese Epic
Photo by Ciputra Artpreneur/NOWJAKARTA

I La Galigo had been performed in some of the world’s prestigious stages since 2004. It premiered at the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay, Singapore, and earned unanimous recognition. 

In Indonesia itself, before wowing audiences at the Ciputra Artpreneur’s theatre on 4 to 7 July, the show was first performed at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (2005), in its place of origin at Fort Rotterdam in Makassar (2011) and in Bali during the Annual Meetings of IMF-World Bank Group last year. 

After fourteen years, I La Galigo returned to Jakarta and dazzled the public once more with state of-the-art technology and an incredibly talented second-generation cast. Under the direction of prominent contemporary theatre director, Robert Wilson, I La Galigo proves that Indonesian literature is a timeless masterpiece that is enjoyable for music and art enthusiasts of all ages. Stunning lighting and stage management helped enrapture audience all throughout the two-hour show.

I La Galigo told a story through dance, gestures, soundscapes and beautiful music arrangement by the maestro Rahayu Supanggah, whom infused traditional music elements of Sulawesi, Java and Bali into the score. 

The script of I La Galigo was adopted from Sureq Galigo or La Galigo, epic poems of the indigenous Bugis people in South Sulawesi that tells about the origin of the community (circa 13 and 15 centuries) perpetuated through oral traditions and texts in verses in Buginese language and letters. American director and writer, Rhoda Grauer discovered the original 6,000-pieces long manuscript of Sureq Galigo, after which she condensed the text into a manageable adaptation for stage. 

“Starting from 2001 we studied old manuscripts that were considered sacred in Bugis culture, as well as explored the culture of South Sulawesi. After three years, we performed the first I La Galigo at Esplanade Theatre, Singapore, and after travelling to nine countries and 18 years have passed, the performance is back in Jakarta to take the stage at Ciputra Artpreneur. We hope the performance that we have assembled in a modern way can introduce original Indonesian manuscripts to the younger generation in order to pique their curiosity and encourage further exploration of the art of Indonesian culture to prevent it from disappearing.” Says Restu Imansari Kusumaningrum, Chairperson of Bali Purnati Foundation, Co-Producer and Artistic Director I La Galigo. 

Restu also noted that I La Galigo was culturally significant because it represents Indonesia’s rich cultural diversity and not owned by a particular group but rather of the nation of Indonesia.