Shadow Puppets of Jave Sunday 10/15 5pm. Buffalo Museum of Science

Story: The Great or Evil Offering of 100 Kings

Shadow Puppets of Java live at the AKG Art Museum

Featuring wayang kulit puppet master Midiyanto and the gamelan music of Nusantara Arts!

Friday June 23rd, 5-7pm
Saturday June 24th 2-4pm
The Buffalo AKG Art Museum : Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Town Square

Nusantara Arts, in collaboration with The Buffalo AKG Art Museum, is thrilled to announce an extraordinary cultural event,  Shadow Puppets of Java in two performances telling two different stories: “Rajamala and the lake of Watari” on Friday and “Prabu Boko: Terror of Ekacakra” on Saturday. This vibrant and immersive showcase promises to take audiences on a mesmerizing journey into the rich tapestry of Indonesian arts and culture.

Come see this incredible showcase of traditional and contemporary Indonesian art, including:

  • Wayang Kulit Shadow Puppetry: A stunning exhibition of visual art, featuring the intricate craftsmanship and attention to detail that Indonesian artisans and artists are renowned for.
  • Javanese dance, with its graceful movements and intricate hand gestures: a mesmerizing display of elegance and cultural storytelling that transports viewers to a world of enchantment and tradition.
  • Soul-stirring musical performances featuring traditional Javanese gamelan instruments, creating a harmonious symphony of sounds that will captivate the audience.
  • Engaging Puppet making station, providing attendees of all ages with an opportunity to learn about Indonesian arts and culture firsthand by making puppets.
  • Indonesian Snacks!

Indonesia, is a country renowned for its artistic traditions and cultural heritage, will be brought to life   by Nusantara Arts troupe of highly talented and internationally acclaimed performers in the incredible “Town Square” of the new Buffalo AKG Art Museum featuring the glass and mirror roof Common Sky, by Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann of Studio Other Spaces. Through their exceptional skill and artistry, Nusantara Arts will transport spectators to the enchanting Island of Java, allowing them to immerse themselves in the beauty, grace, and vibrant spirit of Indonesian arts.

Featuring puppet master Midiyanto, master Javanese hand drummer Wakidi Dwidjomartono and singer/ dancer Heni Savitri. This special program is one of the first major performances at the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, funded by the National Endowment of the Arts and the Buffalo AKG Art Museum. The performances will entertain and also educate the audiences about wayang puppetry art, and the ancient characters of the Mahabharata. The shows make for a fun filled activity for all ages! Puppet making materials are available for kids and crafters. Leave your traditional idea of what a theater or musical performance experience is and get lost in the magic of wayang kulit from Indonesia.

Shadow Puppets of Java promises an unforgettable experience for arts enthusiasts, cultural explorers, and families alike. This captivating event aims to foster cross-cultural appreciation, promoting understanding and celebrating the beauty of diversity.
Story Synopsis:

Friday Story “Rajamala and the lake of Watari”

In the Kingdom of Wiratha, There is trouble in the streets and the people are upset. investigating the turmoil, King Matwaspati and his son Raden Seta discover a secret plot to overthrow the kingdom by his own nephews: Rajamala and his two brothers Kencakarupa, and Rupakenca, elite citizens of Wiratha.

The kingdom is holding a human strength wrestling contest. Rajamala is seemingly unbeatable with endless stamina and strength, becoming more popular with the people. Bima of the Pandawa family, living secretly in Wiratha disguised as the name “Jagal Abilawa” attempts to challenge Rajamala and is defeated every time.His brother Arjuna discovers that every time Rajamala gets tired or is injured he bathes in the lake of Watari, restoring him to full strength and making him nearly invincible. The Pandawas must figure out a way to defeat Rajamala and his brothers or the kingdom of Wiratha will be lost.

Saturday Story:
“Prabu Boku Terror of Ekacatra”

The story of Prabu Boko is a myth of wayang as well as a folk legend surrounding the hundreds of ancient temples and ruins around Prambanan in Central Java.

Prabu Boko is the giant, powerful and sinister king of Ekacakra. He keeps his kingdom subjugated by demanding that every village send one of their residents to be sacrificed every month as part of king Prabu Bokos meal. In the village of Manahilan the only people left are the head of the village Rishi Ijrapa and his own family, everyone else has fled, scrambling to save themselves from the sinister king. At this time the mighty Bima of the Pandawa family is living in the village disguised as a homeless wanderer. He plans to end the reign of the cruel king by offering himself as a sacrifice to be brought before the king. When the time is right he will be able to confront and battle the king himself.

All questions related to performance accessibility or inquiries related to special needs for our guests can be sent to [email protected]. Please have all accessibility requests sent at least 2 weeks prior to the performance.


Dhalang Puppet Master: Midiyanto
Kendhang Drum: I.M. Harjito
Javanese Dance: Veronica Retnaningsih
Gamelan music accompaniment: Nusantara Arts

Javanese Shadow Puppetry:
Wayang Kulit performances are traditional and wildly popular multi-genre performances from Indonesia. They combine virtuosic shadow puppetry, enrapturing gamelan music, comedy, philosophy, community, and civic engagement. The Wayang performance is led by the dhalang (puppet master) who controls the performance of the puppets and cues the gamelan musicians who have to follow very closely to the signals, creating exciting and smooth transitions between scenes. Our story comes from the ancient Indian epic the Mahabharata.


Ki Midiyanto is a renowned Javanese musician and dhalang (puppet master). Born in Wonogiri, a rural district in the southern part of Central Java, Midiyanto comes from a family of many generations of gamelan musicians and puppeteers. He attended the Sekolah Menegah Karawitan Indonesia (Indonesian Academy of Musical Arts) and Sekolah Tinggi Seni Indonesia, now known as Institut Seni Indonesia (Indonesian Academy of Musical Arts) in Surakarta before going abroad to teach and perform. Over the last 30 years Midiyanto has taught and performed extensively in Indonesia, the U.S., Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada.  He has been featured in several documentary films and directed the gamelan for the Shadow Music of Java CD recorded at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. during a two-month residency in 1991. Currently Ki Midiyanto, teaches and performs as Lecturer and Co-Director of Gamelan Sari Raras at University of California, Berkeley, and as a guest artist and instructor throughout the U.S., Indonesia, and internationally.

Heni Savitri began to study sindhènan (Javanese singing with gamelan) in 2002. In 2003 she won the competition for best singer in her native district of Wonogiri, Central Java. She entered the Performing Arts Conservatory in Surakarta in 2004, and began representing the institution in competitions the following year as well as performing in shadow plays. Upon enrolling in the Indonesian Arts Academy in Surakarta she was selected as the singer for many recordings of new faculty compositions and traditional works, representing the academy in the 2008 international vocal competition in Jakarta.

Wakidi Dwidjomartono is one of the finest living Javanese musicians. A graduate of Indonesia’s state conservatory for the traditional performing arts, he worked closely with one of the major figures of 20th-C Javanese music, Martopangrawit. He has directed gamelan ensembles in Indonesia and the U.S. He is currently on faculty at Wesleyan University.

Nusantara Arts, is a West Side based Indonesian Arts and Culture organization dedicated to high quality performances and education of gamelan music, Wayang Kulit shadow puppetry, dance, and art. Nusantara Arts is the only non profit organization in the US to specialize in both Javanese and Balinese gamelan music. Nusantara Arts provides regular community and school classes and has performed with incredible visiting artists such as Midiyanto, Wakidi Dwidjomartono, Darsono Hadiraharjo, Heri Purwanto, Gusti Komin, Heni Savitri, and Pamardi Tjiptopradongo.

Program Funded by:National Endowment of the Arts, American Indonesian Culture and Education Foundation, Humanities NY, Stenclik Family Foundation, Simple Gifts Fund