Sapto Sopawiro, a 73-year-old wayang puppeteer from Suriname will be performing wayang kulit in Yogyakarta this month. The performance was aimed at enhancing cultural ties with Indonesia.
Sapto Sopawiro will be in Yogyakarta from April 20 to May 19. He performed at Karangwaru on Mount Kidul on May 1 and at Rejondani in Sleman on May 3. Sapto said he has been a puppeteer since 2008. In Suriname, he usually performs his wayang in Suriname’s capital city of Paramaribo and a number of other districts.
"I am interested in preserving the Javanese culture because in Suriname, people are not interested in the Javanese culture anymore," he said in Javanese during his visit to the Secretariat of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in Yogyakarta on Tuesday. Charles Chang, a freelance journalist working in Suriname, says Sapto is the last wayang puppeteer who often performs in Suriname. The Suriname community is no longer interested in learning about wayang. "Only a few people are able to speak in Javanese. Current schools teach the Dutch language more often now," he said.