The Museum of Asian Art, University of Malaya will have a special exhibition at the National Cheng Kung University Museum in Tainan, Taiwan beginning from 12th November 2015 to 30th September, 2016, titled: Malaysia Puppet Shadow Exhibition – A Special Collection from the Museum of Asian Art, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
This exhibition, is a part of the Memorandum of Understanding between Museum of Asian Art University of Malaya and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) Museum which was signed on 26th August 2011.
NCKU, was represented by the University President, Prof. Dr Hwung-Hweng Hwung while the University of Malaya by Vice Chancellor, Tan Sri Prof. Dr Ghauth Jasmon. The MoU, agreed on the following:-
a. Staff training in areas such as curatorial, marketing and artefact authentication;
b. Exchange programmes between the Museum such as internship or staff exchange;
c. Co hosting or co-organizing exhibitions and conferences;
d. Sharing of expertise between the Museum in areas of mutual interest;
e. Liasing with local organization in each respective country for any future programmes of the museum; and
f. Sharing of other activities and programmes in areas of mutual interest, where such sharing shall result in benefit to both parties
To fulfill the above commitment, NCKU Museum had the “Ancient Lock Exhibition” in the Museum of Asian Art, University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, on 19th September 2012 to 19th November 2012.
The lock collection was Professor Hong-Sen Yan, the University Chair Professor from the Department of Mechanical Engineering personal collection. A total of 150 locks were displayed to the Malaysian public. Professor Hong-Sen Yan was also the Vice President of NCKU.
To reciprocate the event in 2012, the Museum of Asian Art is exhibiting 70 of the rare collection of shadow puppets belonging to the famous puppet master, Pak Dollah Baju Merah (Father Dollah) whose real name is Abdullah Bin Ibrahim.
The whole collection of Father Dollah in the Museum of Asian Art totaled more than 90 pieces including musical instruments. The collection of the puppet is accredited pieces by his master.
(According to Kelantan wayang custom, the student must swim to a raft containing the puppet set which were set adrift to the middle of a wide river and the student must retrieve the puppet and drag it back to the river bank).
Father Dollah emerged as the principal force responsible for substantial changes in wayang repertoire. He created a lasting and contemporary tradition of cerita ranting (branch stories) that combined all the elements of bawdiness, sensuality and drama. Popular Hindi songs found their way into his musical repertoire, and his comic sequences embraced sardonic political satire. This made his performances very attractive and he has a large fan base. His contribution and creativity is recognise by PUSAKA, a non-profit organisation which created an award for individuals involved in with preservation and promotion of traditional performing arts. This award is called Abdullah Ibrahim Memorial Award for Cultural Preservation.
The official opening ceremony for the Malaysia Puppet Shadow Exhibition in National Cheng Kung University Museum, Taiwan 2015-2016 is on Thursday, 12th of November 2015, where the President of the NCKU will grace the function. The Vice Chancellor of University of Malaya will be represented by Associate Prof. Dr. Mohamad Nasir Hashim, the Director of the Cultural Centre, University of Malaya.
Abd Aziz Abdul Rashid
Muzium Seni Asia/Galeri Seni