PROJECT TOBONG

Helen Marshall Plus

Project Tobong is a collaborative project led by Helen Marshall with Indonesian artist Risang Yuwono. It revolves around the Ketoprak Tobong Kelana Bakti Budaya, one of the last remaining theatre troupes in Yogyakarta, Java.
Supported by Arts Council…


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Project Tobong is a collaborative project led by Helen Marshall with Indonesian artist Risang Yuwono. It revolves around the Ketoprak Tobong Kelana Bakti Budaya, one of the last remaining theatre troupes in Yogyakarta, Java.
Supported by Arts Council and British Council, the project was presented at SOAS University of London, co-hosted with ARTi UK as part of Indonesia Kontemporer 2012. The first photographs were presented at iCAN in Indonesia January 2013. The second stage of the project was hosted in London at Gasworks. Since then the project has been represented at the Rich Mix, Photovoice PICS Festival, Delhi Photo Festival 2013 and the Kuala Lumpur Photo Awards 2014. For the final stage of the project two exhibitions are planned in the UK, at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool in (include confirmed dates) and the Horniman Museum in London in Autumn 2015.

Ketoprak means musical drama, sometimes dialogue, monologue and singing and music. The Tobong is a temporary building with no walls, constructed from bamboo, that can move from place to place. It often is a stage, a group of dwellings and a place for the audience. Unfortunately the Ketoprak Tobong today can no longer live independently. Globalisation, technological development and modernisation have made it too difficult. The ketoprak are marginalised and disempowered by such progress, they receive less public attention these days as younger generations move away from traditional culture. During the past 25 years, modern commercial mainstream spectacles have marginalised traditional performing arts.

This project brings a unique view of a vanishing art form and traditional community to a new audience, a unique combination for photographic arts and performance which bridges the gap between contemporary and traditional art practices.

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