You are here: Home

Articles

Panel on Art and Culture

Panel on Art and Culture


    
Margaret Kartomi

1. 




The Potency of Music and Dance in the Empowerment of Female Artists in Western Aceh
Margaret Kartomi
Monash University
Abstract
Lament and lullaby singing, the sitting dances meuseukat and malelang, and the standing dances manoe pocuk and pho are quintessential female expressions of artistry in western Aceh. They have long provided opportunities for women to shine in their social settings that are based on gender segregation. Early female artistic leaders include T. Aji Rakibah of Seunagan who is attributed with developing body percussion techniques and meuseukat in the late 19th –early 20th century, Mak Yang of Meulaboh who developed pho in the 1920s-30s, and Ibu Meriam, who developed malelang in the 1950s-60s. Based on my field travel in western Aceh in 2007-2011, this paper also shows how many performing art groups revived traditional performance genres and developed modern versions of these musical and dance forms under the leadership of such female artists as Cut Indah in Beutong Ateuh, Cut Asiah in Meulaboh, and Cut Nurhayati in Desa Gelanggang Gajah, with some groups making new beginnings or forming anew after the conflict and the tsunami, and some performing in the Festival of Music and Dance in Banda Aceh in 2009.

Toni Almuna

2.  -
Toni Almuna
Abstract
This paper examines responses, both positive and negative, towards the achievement of sexual rights in Aceh. It considers a situation in which religious-based laws have been imposed in the wake of two major crises – one social (32 years of armed conflict) and one natural (the 2004 tsunami). The Sharia implementation contributes to an emerging new crisis; that of continuing violation and oppression of women and sexual minorities amidst massive contemporary post-crisis development in Aceh. Analysis in this paper is through the lens of sexual rights and citizenship discourses. A Research carried out by the author found that people working in post-crisis reconstruction in Aceh, both in a government and NGO capacity respond very differently to these ongoing issues. Many resist direct involvement, even hindering interventions to address issues of sexual rights. However, some development actors remain pragmatic, viewing it as human rights issue and do what they can, where they can, to bring about change. This has resulted in a growing number of social movements - women’s and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) - that work actively to make rights, particularly sexual rights, a reality in the Aceh. Their strategy is to translate rights, into the ‘language’ of local norms and practices and include campaigning rights though art performance for example Beauty Pageant contests

Marjaana Jauhola

3.  Female Artists Shaping Visual and Aesthetic Landscapes of Tsunami and Conflict in Aceh
Marjaana Jauhola
-
Abstract
The aim of my paper/intervention is to engage into both academic, but more widely to contextualised discussion with students to talk about gendered experiences of post-tsunami and post-conflict Aceh through introducing the ceramic works by Endang Lestari and a recent dance performance commemorating the sudden death of ‘Putri’ in Langsa in September 2012. These artistic expressions will be contextualised and discussed in relation to the stories and experiences of Acehnese women in relation to gendered and sexualised violence, vulnerable bodies, and (im)possibility for expression aiming to find ways to articulate social critique and agency, but also finding possibilities of social recovery for silenced and marginalised voices.

Ari Palawi

4.  The Female Role in the Music Culture of Pesisir Melayu Tradition
Ari Palawi
Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University
Abstract

This paper discusses change in the gender relations expressed in the practice of the couples dancing with solo vocal, violin, and drum accompaniment in Pulau Banyak, a group of islands off Aceh’s southwest coast, and the nearby town of Singkil in mainland Aceh. These Muslim, Pasisir Melayu (coastal Malay) people are mainly sea-oriented traders and fisherfolk who are traditionally tolerant of gender mixing in the traditional dancing, where men and women form part of the Pasisir Melayu (Coastal Malay) music-cultural group found along Sumatra’s west coast, approximately between Singkil and Sibolga. By all reports, men and women danced together in couples during Dutch colonial and early Indonesian Independence times, and both sexes sang the solo songs in pantun quatrains accompanied by male musicians. From c. 1965 the law forced all the people to belong to one of five religions; and Islam in Indonesia became increasingly conservative. Some ulamas who had insisted that women should not appear on stage appear to have resulted in males taking both female and male roles in the dancing, while women were only allowed to sing laments and lullabies in the domestic sphere.
The paper discusses a 2010 performance of mixed teenage couples dancing the Payung (Umbrella) dance accompanied by the Lagu Pulau Pinang (Penang Island Song) performed by a solo singer, violin (biola) and drums (gandang) in Pulau Banyak. Its thin implied harmonies in the violin part suggest Portuguese influence while the singing, song text and cyclic drum patter are clearly in Malay style. It is compared with recordings of performances from the 1970s to the present held in Monash University’s Sumatra Music Archive.
In my 2010 fieldwork in Pulau Balee and Pulau Tuangku in Pulau Banyak and Singkil I noted that in the villages the men still assumed the female as well as the male role in the dance performances and that the musicians were also all men, but that in the secondary schools girls and boys were allowed to dance together. This paper presents an hypothesis that the female role in these couples dances has changed from full participation to no participation, and finally participation only by teenage school pupils.

Karen Sri Kartomi Thomas

5.  Women's Positions of Power as Theatre Practitioners in the Twenty-First Century Riau Archipelago
Karen Sri Kartomi Thomas
Performance Research Unit, Centre for Theatre and Performance, Monash University
Abstract
The performing arts, including gender, were destabilized by the opening up of Natuna to large-scale gas and oil exploration in the 1970s. Approaches informed by feminist thought illustrate this by probing inequality and disparate power relations. In this paper, a feminist approach to the performing arts is advocated. From being an almost inaccessible group of remote islands for at least 6 months of the year due to monsoons, movement between the islands and mainland Sumatra has increased significantly resulting from the modest beginnings of affordable flights and ferry routes. In Natuna, the social impact of gas and oil exploration cannot be divorced from the pre-existing landscape with its layers of gender relations in theatre, Islamic adherence and economic disparities. This paper explores the changes the people’s oral performative transmission and preservation of their art has undergone in the last 30 years. My research in Natuna’s mendu theatre in the 1984-5 and in 2012-13 suggest that the opening up of the province not only reorganized gender relations among specific ethno-Malay performance groups, but also changed the content, form and meaning of the specific performing arts’ genres due to new audience demographics and a subsequent re-evaluating of expectations and tastes in theatre. Women in theatre positioned themselves differently as actors and dance-drama elders and teachers across society and across ethnic groups.


You are here: Home