The Sketches of Admiral Kasarung
It is close to midnight in Jakarta and here I am in my art studio, having a little insomnia and thinking of my new collection “The Secret Garden of Admiral Kasarung” – the first illustrated edition of this year. It marks Tulisan’s second anniversary. After two gratifying years of becoming a storyteller and a dream-catcher, I have decided to dedicate this year to depict a selection of Indonesian folk tales that were my childhood’s favorite and to share with you both my imagination and fascination on these stories.
Lutung Kasarung is a Javanese mythology about a true love that cannot be measured by materials or physical beauty. I love this story because it shares similar values with “Notre-Dame de Paris” by Victor Hugo or the Grimm brother’s “The Frog Prince”. When my grand mother first told me about this enchanted ape, prince Kasarung, I created a heroic figure inside my mind. I pictured this ape as a quirky, poetic and charming aristocrat who was also a fearless rebel like Che Guevara. What won my heart the most in his character was how he recognized the true quality of his best friend Princess Purbasari despite her skin disease which covered her natural beauty. I always imagine the surreal setting and ambiance of how they first met in the forest: the smell of a tropical rain-forest combined with some Provence antique furnitures and a collection of vintage Italian music from Jula De Palma.
I love what I do as a dream-catcher and storyteller, but the real ecstasy in this job always happens when I get to brainstorm with Rassi Narika and Myra Bianda, my crazy creative duo in Tulisan. Rassi writes most of my dreams. She composed it into poetic short stories, and she does it passionately. Myra orchestrates the complete product collection. She is an eclectic and sensitive creature who makes sure my dreams are translated well into the bags, skirts and all sorts of things in our reality. At the moment, Rassi is writing the complete story of “The Secret Garden of Admiral Kasarung” while Myra is busting her times in finishing the product collection.
Giclée print reproduction of this first illustrated edition in 2012 is now available in four sizes at our shop in Darmawangsa Square.
Triple kisses, Melissa Sunjaya.