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In Session: Performative Traditions of Southeast Asia
The Performance of Indonesia 1965-1966: Political Actuality in Tristuti Rahmadi’s Shadow Puppet Manuscripts, Dewa Ruci and Bima Suci
Thursday, March 25, 2021
3:00pm – 4:30pm EDT
Dimas I. Romadhon
University of Washington, United States
Political unrests in 1965-1966 that led to the seizure of power from Soekarno to Soeharto has brought thousands of alleged-communists and Soekarno loyalists into exile on Buru Island. After their release in 1979, most of these Buru exiles were silenced and their right of citizenship was spoiled by Soeharto’s regulations. Among those who were silenced and lost their rights was Ki Tristuti Rahmadi, Soekarno’s most beloved wayang puppeteer. Being banned from performing wayang publicly after his release, Ki Tristuti anonymously wrote hundreds of wayang manuscripts that are very influential until nowadays. The original manuscripts are now stored at the University of Washington’s library. This article is written for three purposes: to present a brief political biography of Ki Tristuti Rahmadi, to inform Indonesianist scholars about Ki Tristuti’s manuscript collection at the University of Washington, and to understand the political actuality and conveyed allegories, or pasemon, in Tristuti’s manuscripts, Dewa Ruci and Bima Suci.