Friday, 29 April 2011

Diego Verges: Ludruk

Photo © Diego Verges-All Rights Reserved
Ludruk is a theatrical genres of East Java in Indonesia. It's a form of traditional performance presented by a troupe of actors on a stage, re-telling the life stories of everyday people and their struggles. Most of the characters were performed by male actors who take the roles of women, but more recently, the sketches and farces feature mostly contemporary domestic stories, and have become commercial entertainment popular with urban and rural working-class audiences.

Diego Verges (featured many times of The Travel photographer blog and one of its Favorite 2011 Photographers) has produced a comprehensive photo essay on the Ludruk, with black & white (and color) facial portraits, and as well as environmental portraits and scenes of these performers.

Ludruk is a must-see for my readers as it merges portraiture, documentary and travel-ethnography photography, and also visually documents an art for that could well vanish in the years to come.

Note: I encountered a similar kind of performance in Bali where it's called Arja. This type of performance enacts old stories in a farcical manner and uses dialogue understood only by Balinese-speaking audiences.