This one is my favorite.
The Clown Semar
This painting depicts the clown Semar, who provides advice and comfort to shadow theatre's heroes. Here, Semar's form is partially composed of Arabic letters that spell out the Islamic declaration of faith that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet. Javanese shadow plays are often about Hindu gods and heroes but are intertwined with Islamic beliefs. One play concerns Semar's pilgrimage to the Islamic holy site, Mecca.
Painted by Rastika in Cirebon, West Java in the early 1990s.
Shadow theatre performances usually occur outdoors at night on temporary stages in villages and in pavilions in royal palaces. The stage includes a screen of stretched white cloth. It has a lamp at the top and a banana tree logs at its base into which the puppets' main rods are inserted. As the puppeteer manipulates the puppets between the light and the screen, the story unfolds in shadows. Spectators come and go during performances, which sometimes last all night, and can watch from both sides of the screen.
Shadow theatre uses numerous stories, including the epics that originated in ancient India. Puppeteers sometimes create original stories based on characters from these epics or in response to current affairs. They also dramatize local tales. Stories are usually passed down in oral form, and puppeteers draw on these memorized tales and their own improvisation skills in performances.
I hope you enjoyed this and I miss you! - Katie