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The Naive Archipelago
An artist is preparing his artwork entitled 'Finding Lunang' by Iwan Effendi before the opening ceremony of 2013 Art Jog (Jogja Art Fair) at Taman Budaya, Yogyakarta, Central Java (5/7). TEMPO/Suryo Wibowo.
Tuesday, 09 July, 2013 | 16:32 WIB
The Naive Archipelago

TEMPO.CO, Yogyakarta - Lunang is sitting on top of one of the poles on the merry-go-round. The little toddler doll is only wearing diapers to cover his private parts. A small sack hangs from his stomach. Seven other dolls are placed on the floor of the merry-go-round circling around Lunang. 

This piece is named, ‘Finding Lunang’ by Iwan Effendi and features in the Papermoon Puppet Theater. Iwan Effendi was chosen to present his contemporary piece as commissioned work this year for Art Jog 2013 held at Taman Budaya Yogyakarta from July 6 to 20. The sixth annual art fair has chosen the theme of "Maritime Culture" this year. Each year, the committee chooses one artist to display their commissioned work to decorate the entrance of the art fair. 

Lunang is a metaphor for the archipelago in the old days. The seven dolls surrounding Lunang are symbols of the foreign nations searching for him. Iwan deliberately presented the character of Lunang as a child in order to portray how naive the people in the nation were during these times. Each foreigner that entered the nation was warmly greeted despite the fact that these foreigners ended up conquering the nation. 

"The archipelago was so naive," said Iwan after the opening ceremony of Art Jog last Saturday night. 

Along with his wife, Maria Tri Sulistiyani, Iwan did some research to create his masterpieces. This artistic couple is well known to the public as the creators of the enchanting Papermoon Puppet Theater that has performed in several nations across the globe. 

Ria, Maria’s nickname, said "Lunang" was derived from an ancient Javanese word meaning waves. In this piece, aside from being a metaphor for the archipelago that has entranced many foreigners, it also portrays how little we know about the nation’s current maritime condition. 

"Lunang can be construed as two sides to a coin," she said. 

The mighty powers of the sea during the times of the Sriwijaya and Majapahit kingdoms left only mere tales to tell the children. Like Lunang, the boy in diapers, our knowledge about the nation’s maritime condition does not exceed the knowledge of a child. 

"It is as if we live on the shores of the sea but we cannot swim," she said describing the ignorance of the nation’s knowledge of maritime affairs. 

As many as 158 artworks from 115 artists are displayed during the Art Jog 2013. These artworks include paintings, statues, photographs and art installations. 


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