Written by Melissa Sunjaya
Illustrated by Melissa Sunjaya

This textile edition is my visual exploration of the sarong motif worn by Bagong, the playful figure or ‘Scaramouche’ from Javanese mythology. The comedians in Wayang theatre or cultures outside Indonesia generally wear black and white isometric textile patterns. Based on this research, I developed a contemporary isometric design for the sarong worn by comedian characters from the silent story series I am working on.

This project is part of a postgraduate program at the University of Falmouth, Cornwall. My goal is to present a visual language that is universally easy to understand in cultivating a modern rendition of the Javanese Punakawan stories with the characters Semar, Bagong, Petruk, and Gareng. In one of the stories fragments, Bagong is an actualisation from Semar’s shadow, who felt lonely when he had to live on earth as a Punakawan of the Pandawas. When asked by the Gods who would be a human’s most loyal friend, Semar replied, ‘My shadow!’ So then, Bagong came to life from Semar’s shadow. Bagong is the embodiment of Semar’s alter ego. This story contains layers of meaning and shares many reflections on the psychological theory of Carl Jung’s ‘shadow’.

This illustration is available in Giclée – a digital reproduction on matte canvas with museum-quality of archival standards, stretched over a wooden frame.