Sardono W. Kusumo


Sardono W. Kusumo (Indonesia) is a director/choreographer/filmmaker and lecturer at Jakarta Institute of the Arts.  Since the 1970s, not only have the works of Sardono W. Kusumo seen acclaim in his home country, they have been critically received in tours to Asia, Europe and the Americas and at major international festivals. Sardono’s work emerges from the pluralistic multicultural society that is modern Indonesia, informed by his classical Javanese training and his activism (most notably on behalf of Indonesia’s rain forests and the indigenous peoples who inhabit them). Formally trained in classical Javanese dance, Sardono has researched and explored multidisciplinary and intercultural pathways and worked with a diverse group of artists around the globe, whether it is the people in Bali, East Kalimantan and Nias, or contemporary artists such as Peter Brook, Arianne Mnouchkine and Eugenio Barba. His long-standing relationship with the villagers of Teges, Bali, has resulted in remarkable creations such as Dongeng dari Dirah (Sorceress of Dirah) that toured Europe in 1974. A film of the same name, choreographed and directed by Sardono and shot on location in and with the villagers of Teges, was completed in 1992. His environmentally based pieces Meta Ecology  (1979), Plastic Jungle (1983) and Hutan yang Merintih (Lamenting Forest) (1987) were the direct result of a relationship he had developed with the Dayak tribesmen of East Kalimantan. He has also created solo pieces for himself with Japanese composers Yuji Takahashi, Kauze Sawai and Takehisa Kosugi which have been seen in Jakarta, Tokyo, Osaka and Kobe. Sardono is a true pioneer. In 1968, he became the youngest member of the Jakarta Arts Council. In the late 1960s, Sardono founded Indonesia’s first experimental group. He has been with the faculty of the Jakarta Institute for the Arts (IKJ) since 1970. A recipient of national and international awards for his contribution to the arts, Sardono continues to travel regularly throughout Indonesia and act on issues of concern to him.