|Painting detail by Yusoff Abdullah, a Malaysian artist|
My favorite artist workshop I visited during my recent trip to Kota Barhu was the Shadow Puppet Master's space.
Here it is! Right on a river.
It was quite the task to find it, and when we arrived, it was locked up. But my taxi driver asked around until a beautiful old woman (I think she was related to the puppet master) with smiling eyes opened the shop and showed me around.
There were two stages, one I could see from the outside (a window) and one was inside.
The smiling-eyed woman even shut out the light and turned on the oil lamp to show what the stage looks like.
here's behind the scenes:
This is actually the third shadow puppet master's studio I've visited (I visited one in Bali and one in Thailand).
They all use drums to keep the rhythm of the story going.
Here's a pile of the puppets (above) and a puppet that's partially made (below).
This is the window stage from the inside:
In Malaysia the traditional shadow puppet art is known as Wayang Kulit.
Now, if only I'd been able to see a show.
(I have seen them before, both in Bali and in Thailand -- the biggest treat is to see the puppet masters in action behind the curtain. It's a beautiful art).