Getting to Know the Papuan Puppets from the Figure of Lejar Hukubun

goodmorningpapua.com –  Lejar Hukubun was interested for making Papuan puppets in 2016. It is not something ordinary indeed, puppets are identic with Javanese culture, while this man who was born 30 years ago chose Papua as the subject of his puppets.

It all started with a book, at that time he read a book Art and Life Force in a Quantum Perspective written by Dwi Maryanto. Through this book, Lejar received insight regarding the definition of art, creativity, the importance of observing, describing and analyzing.

“I was inspired, if I combine two different things, it’s valid, no!. His desire to create something new is reinforced by a way Steve Jobs gave birth to Apple, which combines old and new things. 5/2021).

These two things opened Lejar’s mind to produce works of art that had an element of novelty. He also chose puppets to be modified. Why puppets? For Lejar, wayang symbolically has a very strong meaning. Papua was chosen because it is part of the representation of Lejar’s figure. Lejar is the eldest of two children born to a Javanese mother and a Moluccan father.

However, the father grew up in Merauke. After completing the undergraduate degree  majoring in Visual Communication Design at ISI Yogyakarta, Lejar continued his education to the Masters degree. It was while worked this thesis that he increasingly wanted to wrestle with Papuan puppets. Given that the thesis had to be systematic, Lejar decided to choose Merauke as the location for his research. He plans to research the Malin tribe as a representation of Papuan puppets for his thesis.

However, it was not possible. The belief of the Malin tribe does not allow to make a picture of doll. The form of a puppet is considered to resemble a doll. As a result, his thesis was turned into a picture story. Meanwhile, the Papuan wayang which he popularized took the picture of the Papuan people in general. One of the characteristics is curly hair.

Lejar introduced Papuan puppets to foreign countries. He has played Papuan puppets with a narrative of introducing of Indonesian culture during a student exchange to Hungary in 2018. He has also played a number of Papuan puppet performances such as the Sewon Art Fest in 2019 and performances at the Royal House in 2020.   

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